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Book review: "What Lies in the Woods"

Cassidy Remington-Willis finds suspense and surprise in Kate Alice Marshall's novel.

Cover of a book
The cover of Kate Alice Marshall's book, "What Lies in the Woods."
Contributed / Cassidy Remington-Willis

SUPERIOR — As someone who loves to read, I know it can be really hard to find a good book. One of my favorite genres is horror/thriller, and when I find the good page turners, I read really fast in anticipation of what’s going to happen.

Now the only problem is, it is incredibly hard to find these good books (fellow book readers you know what I mean).

Yes, I could spend a few hours at Barnes and Noble, but come on, who actually has time for that?

However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I started the long search for a new book that I could enjoy, and after a while I came across the only book that sounded interesting, “What Lies in the Woods” by Kate Alice Marshall.

“What Lies in the Woods” is a story about Naomi Shaw and her near-death experience when she was only 11 years old. Twenty-two years later, her attacker dies in prison, and she seeks out the truth of what actually happened in the woods that summer night.

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Right off the bat, I found the story line so interesting. Shaw barely survived an attack in the woods after getting stabbed 17 times and had to live her life avoiding telling people the whole story. She and her friends, Cassidy Green and Olivia Barnes, lied to everyone they know to protect their biggest secret, Persephone.

After the incident, she hated hearing about what happened, until her alleged killer died in prison and she surrounded her life with the truth. She started to question everything around her, and she realized finding the truth will change everything.

This story has seemed so different from other horror stories I have read. It just drew me in the moment I read the description. Everyone in the book connects and makes sense. It leaves room for wonder and makes it so it’s not obvious what’s going to happen, but it’s not missing parts.

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I will say it is one of my favorite horror/thriller books I have read. There were moments that made the hair on the back of my neck stand and the suspense built. I felt like I was in the story experiencing these moments. Yes, I kept checking behind me as I read because it felt so real.

“With the sounds of the rain and the sough of the wind, I almost didn’t hear the footsteps behind me. They didn’t register consciously — only in the nestled fold of my brain that stored fear like the broken-off tip of a blade,” writes Marshall in chapter 7.

The ending was full of surprises as Naomi finds out what happened when she was 11 and so much happens, I was not expecting the truth.

Even though the book was really good in a lot of parts, there are some things that Marshall didn’t do so well on. The book was kind of boring at first. The first few chapters were interesting and then it went downhill. It only really got my interest around page 100.

I also found all of the characters unlikable, especially Naomi. Naomi has no family she can go to after the attack; her dad is alive but he drank a lot and didn’t take care of her, so she grew up relying on her best friends, Cassidy and Olivia. She lies to everyone and uses people, then ghosts them once she realizes she wants someone else. Throughout the book she never really builds any strong relationships and never trusts anyone 100%. She is one of the least favorite characters I have read about.

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Even after all of that, I would still give this book four stars. I loved the mystery and horror about it. I recommend reading this book, you will get a lot more of the story and answers by reading it. You can buy it on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, or you can check any public libraries.

Cassidy Remington-Willis is a sophomore at Superior High School.

This review is part of the Telegram's efforts to showcase the work of young people in the community. For more information on those efforts, contact reporter Maria Lockwood at mlockwood@superiortelegram.com.

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