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I Belong

Review: And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich

And the Trees Crept InTitle: And The Trees Crept In

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: YA Horror/Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages

ISBN-10: 0316298700 (Little Brown)

ISBN-13: 978-0316298704 (Little Brown)

Reviewed by: Tara


Stay away from the woods…

When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?

Quick & Dirty: A chilling thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Opening Sentence: Catherine, the tallest and wisest of the girls, had the idea first, but that fact would soon be forgotten.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

If you like knowing what is going on in a story, this is not the book for you. If you’re okay with not understanding and are willing to go along for the ride, you might enjoy this book. While this book is not particularly gory, it is definitely a horror book and there are some very dark and disturbing scenes. I would not recommend reading before bedtime unless you have a particularly strong constitution.

The storytelling style was very disjointed and unique, which I personally enjoyed but I know that some readers won’t. There are excerpts from seemingly random stories, handwritten notes, diary entries, and more. As for the plot, I can honestly say that I expected very little of what happened. I was constantly reevaluating my expectations. It was an absolute mind-bender but everything does start to click into place toward the end. About halfway through, I was entirely confused and disorientated. The author does a wonderful job of spinning you around until you don’t know which way is up and then piecing the story together for you.

I was never quite able to connect emotionally to Silla or Nori. However, I was constantly fascinated by them. The author also did a wonderful job of putting the reader in Silla’s head and allowing us to experience the horrors with her. The sibling relationship between the two of them was well-developed. It was interesting to see how it changed and warped over time. Their backstory is slowly revealed, which added to the suspense for me. One of my favorite things in this novel was the exploration of how emotion affects memory and perception.

There also was a love interest for Silla. When he was first introduced, I honestly thought that he was the monster (and continued to think so for most of the book). I wasn’t a huge fan of Gowan or the role he played in the novel. Given the focus on familial ties, I almost would have preferred if Nori played the role he did in the ending.

This book starts very slowly. The beginning was a bit of a slog but since it introduces important plot points, I understand why it proceeded at the pace it did. Once the author begins to introduce the horror aspect, I became a lot more interested. The ultimate resolution to the story was a bit of a let-down. I understand why the author choose to end the story that way but I still didn’t like it, which is why this book wasn’t a four-star read for me. I’d recommend this one for anyone looking for a beautifully atmospheric horror YA novel.

Notable Scene:

Staring out at the ancient boughs, all of them dripping moss, I whisper, “Nori, tell me right now. What boy?” My skin is crawling.

She wears a pout, unaware that a certain sense of darkness is growing up behind her, deep within the trees. It’s as though the day is somehow later in the wood than it is out in the field. Impossible.

Look! Her hands yell. There he is! I told you!

And someone is coming. I maneuver Nori behind me and wait, muscles tense and ready to fire. What can I do? Run? With Nori? I look around for a weapon, but the only thing of use is a fallen branch, and I don’t want to touch any part of Python Wood. I’m not even sure I know why.

Don’t be like Cath, I berate myself. But I still don’t touch the branch.

The figure gets closer, and I step back, pulling Nori with me. But then I see it’s just a boy, stalking out from between the trees, hands in his pockets. Dark hair, dark eyes. Like me.


FTC Advisory: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of And the Trees Crept In. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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