WHAT LIVES IN THE WOODS, by Lindsay Currie, Sourcebooks Young Readers, Sept. 14, 2021, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 10 and up)
Lindsay Currie’s What Lives in the Woods is a creepy mystery that’s perfect for middle-readers who love ghost stories.
All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to sleep in, attend a mystery writing workshop, and spend time with her best friend. But when Ginny’s father — a respected restoration expert in Chicago — surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren’t staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they’re staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.
But unfortunately, the mansion has more problems than a little peeling wallpaper. Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures with glowing eyes. And some say campers routinely disappear in the woods, never to be seen again.
As terrifying as it sounds, Ginny can’t shake the feeling that there’s something darker . . . another story she hasn’t been told. When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: There’s more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren’t after campers.
It’s after her. —Synopsis provided by Sourcebooks Young Readers
What Lives in the Woods lives up to its synopsis. It’s definitely a chill-inducing read that hooks you from the beginning. Author Lindsay Currie quickly gets under your skin, creating a setting that is both brooding and claustrophobic — even though the mansion is ginormous. Her world-building is strong, giving readers a real sense they’re standing right next to Ginny as she puzzles out Woodmoor Manor.
At the center of the story is Ginny, a strong protagonist who isn’t willing to give in to her fears. She is supported by her brother, Leo, and new friend, Will. The book works because of these three and how their personalities play off each other.
I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories, but I can see the appeal. Especially under Currie’s deft care. It’s atmospheric but is filled with moments of levity. And it’s fun to read right now, heading into the Halloween season.
What Lives in the Woods is geared toward older middle-readers — grades 5-9.
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