Eyes of the Forest

Holt. Aug. 2021. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250234087.
Gr 9 Up–Henry immerses readers deep into obsessive fandom in this fast-paced thriller. Seventeen-year-old Bridget, described as having “milk-pale skin and russet colored hair,” is a huge fan of RM Haldon’s epic fantasy series “Swords and Shadows.” She knows the entire series backward and forward and can remember the smallest details, from the complicated relationships between characters to how many times specific items have been mentioned or used in the series. When Haldon goes missing, Bridget and her companion Ajay, who is Indian American, explore the dark side of fantasy world enthusiasts. The book uncovers the ins and outs of LARPing (live action role-playing). Tension mounts as Henry’s short chapters, which alternate focus between characters, add suspense and plunge readers into the darker side of fandom. Mentioning some of today’s popular social media sites and the harm of the dark web makes it more realistic, all the while still maintaining a Misery-type vibe for today’s readers.
VERDICT An edgy, quick read for folks who love fantasy novels and authors.

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