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 nigh…a man no one else can see?
Dawn Kurtagich does it again with yet another amazingly creepy psychological horror book! I don’t think I can ever be disappointed with one of her books since I loved her debut “The Dead House” my expectations for “And The Trees Crept In” were high and I wasn’t let down. This is definitely a book for horror lovers and perfect for Halloween!
Firstly, this book was ACTUALLY scary I mean it is one of the few books that truly scared me. A lot of horror books are usually one of two things: quiet horror or jumpy horror, and yet this book happens to be both. There’s a fair share of quiet, creepy, and suspenseful scares as well as a few jump scares that had me setting the book down so I could take a breather. I was tense the entire time I was reading and that’s something I look for in a good YA horror book (or horror book period). The atmosphere was also on point, it was incredibly eerie and was one of the best parts of the book. I’ve read quite a few horror books and seen many, many horror movie and so my standards for what I find scary are high and I was very impressed with this.
Now normally I’d try and give you a little synopsis of the plot but I just don’t dare say much because the more blind you go into this book the better. There are so many crazy twists that you won’t see coming AT ALL and there’s so much mystery as to what is actually happening that you just have to keep reading.
We start out the story with Silla and Nori arriving in the dead of night to their Aunt Cath’s manor in the middle of the forest. As the story progresses we slowly learn more about the house, how Silla and Nori came to be at the house, and the history between Cath and Silla and Nori’s mother. Then there’s the arrival of an odd young man, Cath’s mental abscence, the depletion of the food supply, the creeping trees, and finally….The Creeper Man. With the many different things happening it’s up to Silla to sort everything out and determine if she can truly trust anyone or even her own mind as the trees slowly creep in….
I loved how we couldn’t trust anyone or anything that was happening throughout this book it added so much to the mystery, the eeriness, and the terror. Are the trees actually moving? Is the Creeper Man real or a figment of Silla’s imagination? What made this even more horrifying was that you can try and answer these questions yourself but you won’t be able too, as I said the plot twists were insane and you just won’t see them coming.
This book is also very fast paced and will have you turning pages and finishing it in no time! I will say that the pacing for me slowed down a bit about 3/4 of the way through because let’s be honest the book got very weird and confusing. However, this just made the story even better when I finally got to the end and sorted everything out! So if you find yourself muddling along towards the end be patient because the ending is very satisfying although I thought the conclusion took a bit away from the scariness ( I won’t elaborate because of spoilers).
Another very unique thing about this book? The formatting. Just based on Dawn Kurtagich’s two books she is a queen of great formatting, it adds so much to the atmosphere of her books. There are notes, journal entries, and just a few other oddly formatted pages. I think it makes for a more fun reading experience as well!
If there’s one thing I ever find very lacking in horror books it’s character development and this book definitely is not lacking. We get so much insight into every single character, especially Silla since she narrates a majority of the time I got to really know each character and feel their hysteria as the events of the book progressed.
This book is very much psychologically driven so getting into Silla’s mind was necessary and Dawn Kurtagich did it so well. We got flashbacks of Silla’s memories as well as good looks into her mind set via journal entries and notes.
I also found all of the characters quite..relatable which is odd since there is nothing relatable about their situation at all for me but that just goes to show how well written and complex they were.
I will just say this now: I am not a fan of Dawn Kurtagich’s romances. I did not like the romance in “The Dead House” and I didn’t like it in “And The Trees Crept In” either unfortunately. I just find them to be kind of unnecessary and take away from the creepy atmosphere. This romance also kind of had a degree of insta-love and just felt very underwhelming. Although I will say at the end I warmed up to it a little bit…but not much.
I was very impressed with this book but the romance, my occasional confusion, and a very tiny personal issue with the ending kept this from being a true 5 star read for me.
I will definitely be reading anything and everything that Dawn Kurtagich continues to write though because she is certainly proving herself to be a real YA horror genius!
Yes I highly recommend reading “And The Trees Crept In”! Especially if you’re looking for your next “keep the lights on all night” horror book or something to read for Halloween this week!