Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on 2/23/16
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mysteries
Source: Blog Tour
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?
Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.
This was the most fun I’ve ever had with a blog tour! The traveling ARC idea is phenomenal, especially with a book with a central mystery like this one. Take a look at the map above to see where this ARC went for the tour! (The big book shows the path that it took after it left me.)
It was so much fun to read the comments that had been left by the bloggers before me! Plus, usually with a book like this, I don’t have any way of discussing all of my predictions about how everything’s going to unfold. But, for the traveling ARC, it was great fun to document those predictions and let someone else know how close I was! So, at the end of the book, I wrote bullet points showing what I thought was going to happen (and then I hid them and told the next blogger not to peek until after she finished the book!). I was right in some cases, but definitely missed some key points that made for an enthralling ending – a fantastic combination for a mystery, in my opinion.
Now on to my actual review of the book.
After the Woods was an intriguing mystery that held my attention from start to finish. Julia has blocked out much of the harrowing experience of being abducted when she tried to save her best friend, and she would do anything to put the pieces back together. Everyone seems to think that she should try to put the experience behind her and move on with her life, but Julia can’t just let it go without answers. But what she discovers is more shocking than she ever imagined.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Julia. I LOVED Julia! She was the perfect blend of smart and snarky. And she never came off as being irritating because her sometimes snide attitude was so well-earned. Everyone seemed to want her to move past her kidnapping, but how could she? How could she simply act like her life wasn’t completely changed in that moment? I was fascinated by Julia’s altered perspective on life after her abduction – how moments that would seem easy and innocent to most of us took on a dark and threatening tone to Julia. How casual conversation could turn awkward so quickly. I truly felt for Julia, and I connected with her because I could understand her motivation.
- The romance. While this book wasn’t primarily about the romance, it was an additional element that added to overall story, and I was a big fan of Kellan and Julia together. They had a natural sort of chemistry that made me grin and I thought that they complemented each other perfectly!
- The mystery. As you can see from my long list of notes in the picture above, I was having great fun making predictions about this book. For a little while I was nervous that I was going to have it all figured out way too early in the game, but there were some HUGE surprises toward the end that completely threw me! Sure, I had deduced a few things about Julia’s mysterious abduction, but certainly not everything. To me, that’s the perfect mixture, and it’s the type of mystery that keeps me flipping the pages!
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Liv. Honestly, I had to think for a while before I could even come up with a negative about this book, but I guess if I had to list something it would be that Liv’s actions didn’t make complete sense to me. Even once I knew her motivations, I wasn’t completely clear on how she expected things to work. And, as best friends go, she was NOT winning any awards. That’s all I’ll say, though, because otherwise I’d be spoiling things. (UPDATE: Savage informed me via FB that we “may hear Liv’s side of things in the very near future!” I look forward to it!)
If you’re looking for an exciting YA mystery packed with intrigue and surprises, I highly recommend this book! I know I’ll be watching for more of Savage’s books in the future because this was a fantastic debut! I give it 5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
I thought I’d feature a couple of quotes that highlighted Julia’s snarkiness. These two quotes take place when Julia is talking to her psych. I’m putting in pictures of the actual book, so you can see our underlines and notes.
And a few more fun pics I took:
About the Author
Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming on Feb 23, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Her second thriller for young adults comes from FSG is 2017. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea