February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich | SLJ Review

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redstarKurtagich, Dawn. And the Trees Crept In. 352p. ebook available. Little, Brown. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316298704. YA-SP-Kurtagich-And The Trees Crept In

Gr 9 Up –When Silla and her younger sister Nori arrive on the doorstep of their estranged aunt’s crumbling manor, they are cold, injured, and on the run from someone awful. Things start sliding into macabre territory right away, and within a few years Aunt Cath has gone mad and locked herself in the attic permanently. The two sisters and their mysterious friend (who has appeared from the forest) are trapped on the property with little food and a giant fear of both the Slender Man–type figure who may live in the woods, and the trees themselves, which appear to be closing in on them. Silla’s dreamlike and unreliable narration works hand in hand with a host of unanswered (and unasked) questions to prime readers for a twist ending, which savvy consumers of horror will figure out. There’s a bit of a romance, and the novel ends on an emotional exploration of the traumas that led to this nightmare. Kurtagich’s horror imagery is satisfying and affecting—her descriptions of the day-to-day decay the girls face are as rich and scary as the monstrous man who scuttles around on all fours and the teeming mud pits that are waiting in the woods. VERDICT A great next read for teens who enjoy being scared; purchase where horror is popular.–Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2016 issue.

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