I got this e-ARC from Candlewick Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
I really don’t know how to express my feeling about this book and I think I wouldn’t be able to write a proper review because this book has so many twists and turns that I’m afraid that I would unintentionally gave the plot away. But I love this book so so much and this is my attempt to persuade you all to read this amazing book! Although, it’s best to read it without knowing anything at all because I did and look what this book made me feel!
Author: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 320 pages
Year of Publication: September 11th 2018
“Hatred combined with lies and secrets can break the world.” Grandpa Zach used to say that before he died, but Stuey never really knew what he meant. It was kind of like how he used to talk about quantum physics or how he used to say ghosts haunted their overgrown golf course.
But then one day, after Stuey and his best friend, Elly Rose, spend countless afternoons in the deadfall in the middle of the woods, something totally unbelievable happens. As Stuey and Elly Rose struggle to come to grips with their lives after that reality-splitting moment, all the things Grandpa Zach used to say start to make a lot more sense. This is a book about memory and loss and the destructive nature of secrets, but also about the way friendship, truth, and perseverance have the ability to knit a torn-apart world back together.
Stuey and his new best friend Elly Rose are not only share the same birthday, they also share the passion and interest of wild life. They spend a lot of time playing in the wood and they even have a secret basecamp in the deadfall right in the middle of the wood. They somehow attracted to that place, it’s enchanting and sometimes they can hear music and people talking inside it, it’s creeping them out but they can’t help to love the place. Grandpa Zach told him that the wood is haunted, is it the ghosts that they’ve been hearing?
One day, Stuey told Elly Rose about their old family secret, about how their great grandparents was connected to one another. In the middle of his story, something unbelieveable happened right in front of Stuey’s eyes. And finally all of Grandpa Zack told him make senses.
And that’s when the story become interesting! The pace is rather slow in the beginning but it was gripping me from the start, so tight that I can’t get my eyes off the book. I finished the book in one sit, less than 5 hours!! That’s the fastest I can finish a book since forever!
I could tell you what was happening in the wood but then I’d totally ruin the fun. This is the book that you HAVE to read yourself!!
The writing is out of this world! The mystery was really well written and I can’t guess where the story would lead me, will this lead me to a ghost story? Another magical land? Is this a thriller book? Or was the main character simply lose his mind? I really can’t guess!
The worldbuilding is the most interesting part of this book. Pete Hautman created an entirely different world from most MG fantasy books. This is actually a pretty common theme but I just rarely seen another MG books with similar theme, so I found this really unique and interesting. I love the concept and I love the way the mystery resolve toward the revealing. Although the ending kinda confuse me and make me questioning all how and why but this book is beautiful nonetheless.
This book bring out so many deep and slightly dark topics, about a dark old family secret, loss, grief, and guilt. But also a heartwarming topics about friendship and family.
Stuey and Elly Rose has a really great chemistry, their relationship is one of the most heartwarming friendship I’ve ever read. Although I feel like both characters lack emotions when the “thing” happened and ended, I mean, if I were them I’d totally freak out and questioning my sanity. I kinda expected a big dramatic scene in the end but there weren’t any.
I love that they still believe in each other despite all the circumstances and always try to get back to each other, to get back to the way they were.
This book is nothing like other MG books I’ve ever read, the theme is so unique although it’s a little bit confusing at the end but if you could just enjoy it and not asking so many questions, you would totally like it. There are some slightly dark contents in this book which I don’t think suitable for middle graders but that’s not the main focus of the book. I love the mysteries and the friendship, it’s totally a friendship goal!
Do you know about this book before? Is it on your TBR? Does my review make you want to read this book?