Friday, October 29, 2021

Freeform Friday: And the Trees Crept In - Dawn Kurtagich

Summary: Stay away from the woods…When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see? (Summary and pic from

My Review: We couldn’t go into this Halloween weekend without something totally spooky. We basically wouldn’t be doing our jobs. Now, I know that you might be worried because you won’t have enough time to actually read this before the weekend (or maybe you will?) but the thing is, it’s ok. You can extend the spooky season to forever! Or even just a good ways into November. Or even just plan for next year. Anyway, it’s always good to be prepared.

I’ve said before that one of my favorite types of books is when an object becomes a character. This is especially effective in spooky books. For instance, the haunted house in this book is one of the main characters, and that makes for a terrifying experience. I think one of the things that makes haunted house books so scary is the idea that it violates everything a “home” should be. Home should be a sanctuary, right? A place we can go to escape the outside world. Whether it is physically, emotionally, or mentally, we should be able to go home and have a place we can be relieved and decompress from whatever the world has been throwing at us. When your house is uber haunted and trying to kill you emotionally and physically? Prolly not so much.

Kurtagich has created a very, very scary house for this book. Things are not as they seem, and what should be a sanctuary ultimately turns in to a nightmare. There is also a very scary and ominous supernatural character that haunts the people and the house, and he also helps create a sense of dread and creepiness throughout the book.

This story is a little bit confusing at times because the characters descend into madness, and so therefore the story also descends into madness. The chapters are also designed in visually maddening ways, alternating between font types and graphics that look like notebook writing, etc. The whole thing lends itself to a very discombobulating experience. That doesn’t take away from the creepiness, though. As you might imagine, it adds to it. Idk about you but madness is also a big fear and an integral part of any psychologically fear mongering that a book may do.

This story is one of sadness and ultimately has a good ending, but not necessarily in the way one might expect. I don’t think it reaches the heights of redemption and resolution that Kurtagich had planned, but as far as a good, creepy story to keep you page turning and totally in the Halloween mood, this is a good one. It’s low commitment and a fast read and will fulfill those reading-about-haunted-house-for-Halloween-season desires. We all have them, right?

My Rating: 3 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language and some deep Halloween-esque creepiness, but perhaps the thing most notable for sensitive readers is the discussion of severe domestic abuse, both to a woman and her children.

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