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After the Woods by Kim Savage

NOTHING GOOD COMES FROM THE WOODS.

Interests/Topics: friendship, abduction, media, mystery, family

Curriculum Connections: English

Gender: F/M

Age: 14+

Blurb: I’ve never really liked the woods. Sure, I like hiking and camping, but the woods kind of freak me out, especially at night. There’s something sinister about all the branches moving around in the wind, like long arms trying to grab you. And then there are the birds and animals rustling around and making eerie noises. You just never know what’s in there.

For Julia and Liv, in After the Woods, what’s in there is the boogeyman, AKA their abductor. During a training exercise for their track team, Liv is attacked while sprinting through the woods. Luckily for her, Julia risks her life to save her. But now Julia is missing.

Held captive for two days, Julia is rescued and her abductor is arrested. She knows she should feel safe, and that her ordeal is over, but the media storm that follows won’t leave her in peace. And then there’s Liv, who is acting strange, and Julia’s mother who insists that Julia get therapy.

Then another girl is found dead.

As it turns out, it’s after the woods that brings the most heartache for Julia.

Flavour: “Sunlight flashes between trees and blinds me. I blink through the pain until I see the man on top of Liv. She writhes, kicking up gravel and leaves. The man shifts his weight rhythmically to keep her pinned. Liv is screaming. I am screaming. ‘Let her go!’ My voice is strangled.” (9)

“[The press] liked it better when they found out Donald Jessop didn’t want me at first. He wanted Liv. But I took her place. Not only did they have a miracle, they had a martyr.” (12)

“I turn and face the trails. It’s midmorning now. A light mist rises from the forest floor. Sunbeams pierce through trees, highlighting their jigsaw edges. It seems that some trees are meant to fit with other trees. Liv, me. Donald, Ana. Parts of the same picture. What happened in the woods is a vast puzzle for me to solve, or walk away from. Solve it, or leave it.” (60)

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