The Forest of Stolen Girls

Feiwel & Friends. Apr. 2021. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250229588.
Gr 6 Up–A historical mystery that takes readers on a breathtaking journey through 1400s Korea. Min Hwani’s father, the venerable Detective Min, has been missing for a year and is presumed dead. Desperate for answers and betrothed to be married soon, 18-year-old Hwani flees the peninsula and secretly returns to her hometown on the island of Jeju. Reconnecting with her sister, Maewol, the pair work to mend their relationship as they search for their father and 13 missing girls—the case he was investigating when he vanished. The sisters must discover what has become of the most beautiful girls in the village, and how everything connects to “the Forest Incident” in their past. Hur’s worldbuilding is majestic, transporting readers to Joseon Korea to unravel a compelling mystery. The characters are multidimensional and well drawn; in particular, the dynamic between the sisters as they adjust to society’s expectations sings. The mystery complements the setting perfectly, and the conclusion is well-plotted and satisfying. Fans of historical and mystery YA alike will find much to enjoy in Hur’s atmospheric offering.
VERDICT A story of identity, belonging, and family, readers will thrill at this mystery set in 1400s Korea. A must for all collections.

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