Friday, August 17, 2012

The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

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Are the woods behind St. Bede's Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede's feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it's only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth.

Watch as Cally enters a world of privilege, weekend-long parties, high school romances, and . . . well-kept secrets. This page-turner will appeal to teens looking for a fast-paced thriller. Written in a voice at once gripping and crystal clear, debut novelist, McCormick Templeman, will take readers on a twisting and turning journey as only a "new girl" can experience.

I don’t often read thrillers or horror stories but once in a while I totally get an itch to read something scary.  The Little Woods sounded like it would fit the bill.   It turned out to be a quick easy read but unfortunately didn’t really satisfy my need for thriller and mystery.

I think maybe I have watched too many episodes of CSI and Law & Order in my lifetime because this is not the first novel I have read where I figured out “who did it” long before the end.  Very early on it was easy to determine the identity of the murderer of Calista’s sister and half way through the book it was obvious why the same murderer killed again.  The only thing I was waiting for was the motive behind the initial murders.   But since I figured it out so early, the wait for the actual reveal made me lose interest. 

I wasn’t a big fan of most of the characters in this book.  You just don’t learn enough about them to develop a relationship with them.  Sadly, I was also not a fan of the main character, Calista.  Her character seemed rather contradictory. She sometimes comes off as an independent rule breaker that turns her nose up at the popular crowd.  This quality is the reason why I never quite understood her decision to build and maintain relationships with the popular girls at the expense of other friends that shared similar interests as her.  It just didn’t ring true.   Also, Cali admits to being a pretentious word snob.  She uses a number of unusual words in her internal dialogue.  Although educational, this quality of hers seemed forced.  I think maybe it would have seemed less forced if she had been using those words in dialogue with other characters. 

The characters I did enjoy were Jack, Sophie and Chelsea.  Jack was just all boy.  Fairly down to earth and “normal” and a little bit clueless.  Sophie was smart and my favorite moment in the book was her response to Cali when she shaved her head.  Then there was Chelsea.  She was truly the most mysterious part of this book.  Every scene with her involves great dialogue and/or creepy actions.  In the end, you still don’t know much about her.  She is the one person that provided true mystery to the story. 

This was just a meh for me.  I haven’t read many YA mysteries but out of those few I have read I would recommend Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf or Every You, Every Me by David Levithan.


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