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When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry. When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the k When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry. When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.


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When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry. When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the k When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry. When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

30 review for The Ghost Tree

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    OMG! The witchy powers, haunted woods concept always my favorite themes and when I dive into a book which reminds me of Shea Ernshaw’s Wicked Deep meets Emily Lloyd Jones’ Bone Houses and Stephen Kong’s epic book Outsider with Sleepy Hollow vibes, I may only scream “yess” and fill my brain with the marvelous taste of literature and feel the tingling shiver of thrilling sense on my shoulders. This book is captivating, exciting page turner, attracting your attention and hooks your soul from the fir OMG! The witchy powers, haunted woods concept always my favorite themes and when I dive into a book which reminds me of Shea Ernshaw’s Wicked Deep meets Emily Lloyd Jones’ Bone Houses and Stephen Kong’s epic book Outsider with Sleepy Hollow vibes, I may only scream “yess” and fill my brain with the marvelous taste of literature and feel the tingling shiver of thrilling sense on my shoulders. This book is captivating, exciting page turner, attracting your attention and hooks your soul from the first page. You cannot put it down. You have to cancel everything in your life to focus on your reading which you already get used to do in your new normal state( Sometimes I wish I don’t read any news and deal with new realities of our changing Pandemic universe by burying my head into a book and keep on reading till everything goes back to normal. At least this kind of great books give you the great escape opportunity you terribly need right now!) So let’s take a look at the synopsis: Welcome to Smith Hollows. A secluded town with the people suffer from short term memory loss about the murders occur there. They look like daytime sleepwalkers when somebody opens his mouth to ask questions what is going on there. Is there something sinister in the woods to tear the bones apart of the young girls? They lately find two girls’s brutally murdered pieces at the front yard of a racist old bigot lady but new police officer Alex Lopez who moved with his family from Chicago realizes the murders occurred in the woods and somebody carried the pieces of the corpses to the backyard of his racist neighbor who thinks Mexican people already cursed the place with their existence and they may be connected with the killings. In the meantime Lauren, 15 years old, recently lost her father who was brutally killed in the woods just like two girls feels a painful headache and sees visions about how the girls get killed. And she realizes there is something supernatural about the killings of those girls. And her four year old brother David reminds us of the combination of eerie, weird kids in the standard horror movies, tells to their mother his premonition about murders( he will keep telling weird prophecies during the book which will come true) And as soon as Lauren talks with her Nana, she learns the ugly secret about their family ancestors, her mind gets more confused and her new normal reality gets more distorted. Could the things her Nana tell be true? Even though the identity of the killer was so foreseeable from the beginning and reading so many POVs included into the story may be confusing : instead of Lauren, her best friend Miranda, we read Karen, Alex, racist neighbor ( I don’t want to mention her name because from the beginning I hate the guts of the character), Riley (Journalist from Chicago), Touhy ( interestingly Ben Mendelsohn’s face appeared on my mind when I read the chapters about him), I liked the incredibly capturing pacing, 80’s vibes with Goonies, Jackson songs, punk rock, Stallone, Stephen King book references including Firestarter and of course the rabbit references in the book reminds us of the author’s Alice series. Overall: I’m so open to read a sequel. Lauren, David and Alejandro( Alex)are my favorite characters. I liked the moving, mind numbing, exhilarating chapters. I highly recommend it to the genre lovers and Christina Henry fans! Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for this addictive ARC with me in exchange my honest opinions. I had really enjoyable time!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    A sweet and satisfyingly, creepy little book! What is lurking in the woods.... What is tearing the young one’s into itty bitty pieces... shredded... Lauren is determined to find out what’s doing the killing. She’s been having a few visions but her little brother, David, is having a lot of visions that are leading Lauren down a scary path. What do the visions mean.... And what did grand ma ma mean about the story she told Lauren ... Something isn’t right in the little town of Smith’s Hollow. Will t A sweet and satisfyingly, creepy little book! What is lurking in the woods.... What is tearing the young one’s into itty bitty pieces... shredded... Lauren is determined to find out what’s doing the killing. She’s been having a few visions but her little brother, David, is having a lot of visions that are leading Lauren down a scary path. What do the visions mean.... And what did grand ma ma mean about the story she told Lauren ... Something isn’t right in the little town of Smith’s Hollow. Will they find the answers... Read it and see! I enjoyed the characters, but I did want to smack a few people 6,000 ways to Sunday. But I digress! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 *Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley publishing for a digital copy of this book. BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    “There was one particular tree...with branches that curled like sharp claws looking for skin to scrape. All the townsfolk had avoided that tree, for it wasn’t right that a tree seemed to whisper and stare and reach out when a person passed by.” There is something very wrong in this town. Lauren has grown up in Smiths Hollow, spending most of her childhood in the woods with her best friend Miranda. Their meeting place ‘the old ghost tree.’ Even after her father is found dead, with his heart ripp “There was one particular tree...with branches that curled like sharp claws looking for skin to scrape. All the townsfolk had avoided that tree, for it wasn’t right that a tree seemed to whisper and stare and reach out when a person passed by.” There is something very wrong in this town. Lauren has grown up in Smiths Hollow, spending most of her childhood in the woods with her best friend Miranda. Their meeting place ‘the old ghost tree.’ Even after her father is found dead, with his heart ripped out, she still feels most at home in the woods. But she can’t shake this feeling of deja vu - that something like this has happened before? Smiths Hollow is full of dark secrets, long buried and hidden away. It isn’t long before those secrets are discovered and monsters are unleashed, both human and not. I don’t want to give away too much because of spoilers but if you like curses, supernatural powers and monsters that go bump in the night then this is for you! ******************* Just collected this bad boy from Waterstones. I’m so excited!! ******************** I don’t usually do horror but I love Christina Henry so I will expand my horizons!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    DNF @ page 91 of 418. No rating and will not be included in my reading challenge. This book seems very young adult and I am growing tired of one young woman, 14 years old, constantly squeezing her boobs together and rubbing them up against a dude to get his attention. There is no way I can read another 300 pages of that bullshit. Not to mention that everything about this seems very campy and cheesy. Not my thing at all.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    3-3.5 STARS The Ghost Tree is a solid horror novel that's strongest ingredient is in the creepy, small town vibe it gives off. Smith's Hollow is definitely not a place I'd like to visit, as it is filled to the brim with creepy children, grisly murders, some witchy hullabaloo, and has a serious The Stepford Wives thing going on. While the unsettling atmosphere was 5 star worthy, I had a few personal issues with the fact that this story relies heavily on the blood and gore with a touch of supernatu 3-3.5 STARS The Ghost Tree is a solid horror novel that's strongest ingredient is in the creepy, small town vibe it gives off. Smith's Hollow is definitely not a place I'd like to visit, as it is filled to the brim with creepy children, grisly murders, some witchy hullabaloo, and has a serious The Stepford Wives thing going on. While the unsettling atmosphere was 5 star worthy, I had a few personal issues with the fact that this story relies heavily on the blood and gore with a touch of supernatural to cement its place in the horror genre. I would have liked a little more subtle, growing dread type of suspense, because what we get is graphically violent, but not what I would refer to as "scary". Overall, an enjoyable, if not slightly long, dark novel that I could see becoming a long running series featuring the wonderful cast of kids. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ScrappyMags

    3.5 rounded up What or who is killing the town’s daughters? Shortest Summary Ever: 2 bodies have been discovered. (Wait. Make that PIECES of bodies.) And 14 yr old Lauren’s dad was found murdered the year before in an equally gruesome fashion. But the town has moved on - crazies that can’t be found must be the perpetrators, so let’s move on - cases are closed. Except now Lauren’s little brother is having premonitions, and everyone in the town is acting like murder is NBD. Lauren seems to be the on 3.5 rounded up What or who is killing the town’s daughters? Shortest Summary Ever: 2 bodies have been discovered. (Wait. Make that PIECES of bodies.) And 14 yr old Lauren’s dad was found murdered the year before in an equally gruesome fashion. But the town has moved on - crazies that can’t be found must be the perpetrators, so let’s move on - cases are closed. Except now Lauren’s little brother is having premonitions, and everyone in the town is acting like murder is NBD. Lauren seems to be the only one concerned. What IS happening in Smith Hollows? Thoughts: Creepy Town with a Stepford Wives vibe, Smith Hollows is the star of this book as the town itself becomes a pulsating, breathing character. It holds alllll the secrets and the older residents know was’sup. 😏 This plot and the kids are the best part of the book because as I’ve said before - creepy kids? ✅ Off to a great start in “things that freak me out in books.” But... the horror factor was tepid at best. Gore to me doesn’t translate as scary. I’m a firm believer in it’s more scary what you DON’T see (in your head while reading... like a movie). The freakiest books aren’t always the bloodiest. It was also a pretty obvious conclusion. But definitely a book I would buy! All my reviews available at scrappymags.com Genre: Mystery/Horror/Gore Recommend to: if you want a spooky escape to a town where somethin’ just ain’t right. Not recommended to: if you’re not into gory stuff. It’s heavier in the grit and blood, and brains... some entrails... Thank you to the author, Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my always-honest review and for making me shun any city with “Hollow” in the name.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    2.5 stars Smith's Hollow is a weird little town. Two girls are brutally murdered and no one seems to be able to wrap their brain around it. They all seem to just be able to move on and forget it. Lauren lives there with her over anxious mother and younger brother Danny. She starts realizing that no one cares about those girls and then discovers that every single year a teenage girl is murdered...but no one remembers it. Okay...so this book is kinda over the top cheesy horror. I get that. You have t 2.5 stars Smith's Hollow is a weird little town. Two girls are brutally murdered and no one seems to be able to wrap their brain around it. They all seem to just be able to move on and forget it. Lauren lives there with her over anxious mother and younger brother Danny. She starts realizing that no one cares about those girls and then discovers that every single year a teenage girl is murdered...but no one remembers it. Okay...so this book is kinda over the top cheesy horror. I get that. You have to go with it if you are going to enjoy the story. I did not mind that. Other little stuff bugged my socks off. Like the 80's references. I didn't need a time period reference every few minutes. The book isn't horrible. It just seemed to me like it was trying to be so many different things that it lost some of the magic. Stick with the basics people. You do not have to through in every dang current rage. Booksource: Netgalley in exchange for review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    Christina Henry entices readers to travel back in time to a small town called Smith’s Hollow. It’s the 1980s. We follow best friends Lauren and Miranda, their longtime friendship seemingly in transition. Miranda is looking to make friends with older boys who drive while Lauren resents being dragged along as a third wheel. Wrapped in this compelling coming-of-age story is something more insidious than teenage boys. Two girls Lauren’s age are found murdered, their bodies mutilated, in the backyard Christina Henry entices readers to travel back in time to a small town called Smith’s Hollow. It’s the 1980s. We follow best friends Lauren and Miranda, their longtime friendship seemingly in transition. Miranda is looking to make friends with older boys who drive while Lauren resents being dragged along as a third wheel. Wrapped in this compelling coming-of-age story is something more insidious than teenage boys. Two girls Lauren’s age are found murdered, their bodies mutilated, in the backyard of one of her neighbors. Miranda couldn’t care less and is more interested in finally losing her virginity, but Lauren is plagued by visions that seem related to the murders. She is determined to solve the mystery of the dead girls, especially since she lost her own father to violence just two years prior. I read this book on my Kindle over a weekend and when I finished, I was shocked to learn that it was over four hundred pages long. This book flew by. The chapters are short and sweet, unraveling bits of mystery or diving headlong into Lauren’s teenage drama with a juicy hook at the end of every break, practically begging for readers to keep going. Even though there is a lot going on in this story—Lauren’s troubled family history, the strained friendship between Miranda and Lauren, the murders, a small town secret and even a vengeful witch’s ancient curse—Henry is able to keep all the strands of her spiderweb woven together in a neat and concise way without losing the reader along the way. The end result is a complex, interesting story that maintains suspense and intrigue page after page after page. Part of the joy in reading this book, for me, was because it was like revisiting one of my favorite TV shows, My So Called Life. Claire is more introverted than her thrill-seeking friend Rayanne. And even though Rayanne is the one playing fast and loose with the boys-it’s Claire that is sneaking out of class to kiss Jordan Catalano in the school’s boiler room. This book had a very similar, Girl’s coming-of-age vibe but with the added bonus of having a dark and sinister subplot. I burned through this one. It’s my recommendation that if you’re looking for something you can devour over a few days, something scandalously entertaining with teeth. This is the perfect book for your Fall reading list.

  9. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Happy Publication Day to Christina Henry and The Ghost Tree!!! I love how her mind works and am really looking forward to gettingto this!!! Available now. Original: Berkley! Have I told you lately that I love you!? Thank you so much for the ARC. Beyond stoked for this eerie tale! Happy Publication Day to Christina Henry and The Ghost Tree!!! I love how her mind works and am really looking forward to gettingto this!!! Available now. Original: Berkley! Have I told you lately that I love you!? Thank you so much for the ARC. Beyond stoked for this eerie tale!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    "Meet me by the old ghost tree." I was extremely hyped for my first Christina Henry book. I'd heard lots of good things about her and her Alice in Wonderland retelling. I also knew she'd written a reimagining of The Little Mermaid and I love everything to do with mermaids, especially if it has a darker vibe. And Christina Henry's books emanate that twisted, cruel, thrilling atmosphere. So why not start my journey with a horror novel? The setup is: a dad with his heart ripped out, a dark woods, two "Meet me by the old ghost tree." I was extremely hyped for my first Christina Henry book. I'd heard lots of good things about her and her Alice in Wonderland retelling. I also knew she'd written a reimagining of The Little Mermaid and I love everything to do with mermaids, especially if it has a darker vibe. And Christina Henry's books emanate that twisted, cruel, thrilling atmosphere. So why not start my journey with a horror novel? The setup is: a dad with his heart ripped out, a dark woods, two best friends growing apart, and the mangled bodies of two strangers in the neighbour's garden. A monster is wreaking havoc, but no one seems to acknowledge it, or even remember the gruesome murders after a couple days. The story has everything that a classic horror needs. There's a trail of dead girls, a cute but creepy 4-year-old who knows more than he should, a racist, unhinged old neighbour that only makes matters worse, and a town with evil lurking at its core. Well, everything but one thing: suspense. In the beginning the mystery had me tight in its grip but as more and more secrets came to light, I quickly figured out who the bad guy was and where the story was headed. While I enjoyed the story overall, it didn't surprise me and the finale felt anticlimactic. One thing I really did enjoy was the feminist touch and the fully developed female characters, but I would've loved to see some gay rep (I don't see why books these days shouldn't have it - gay people are everywhere). All in all a horror story with much potential and great characters that couldn't quite deliver what it promised. Find more of my books on Instagram

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    I wavered between 2 and 3 stars for this one - I can't completely trust that part of my feelings about it aren't just grumpiness due to current world states, so just bear in mind that there's a lot of other positive reviews. The Ghost Tree is the latest in a recent line of 80's nostalgia fused with horror, and while I'm absolutely here for that in theory, it hit so many tropes and stereotypes that it distracted me from the novel itself. The 80's references are particularly over the top in the fi I wavered between 2 and 3 stars for this one - I can't completely trust that part of my feelings about it aren't just grumpiness due to current world states, so just bear in mind that there's a lot of other positive reviews. The Ghost Tree is the latest in a recent line of 80's nostalgia fused with horror, and while I'm absolutely here for that in theory, it hit so many tropes and stereotypes that it distracted me from the novel itself. The 80's references are particularly over the top in the first chapter (17!), but are throughout the book too - and it's not subtle hints, it's Tab, Pac-Man, VCRs and ten-speeds. The horror tropes were just as universal, with psychic children, angry mobs, and racism aplenty. None of these things are particularly turnoffs - I can definitely get behind a campy horror - but with so many all in the one book it just felt much too on the nose. The story itself is more along the gore than the scare side of the horror spectrum, which fits with the themes; suspense gets in nostalgia's way. The characters were mostly similarly tropeish - the horrible racist is over the top, the teenage girls fit neatly into the Madonna/Whore boxes (actually, so do the boys in their own way), and the villains don't have a lot of logic to back up their justifications. Man, it really sounds like I'm ragging on this book and it makes me feel bad, but there's just nothing here that takes any of the themes or tropes it used forwards. Almost everything has been done before in some way, and there's no using that against the reader, taking a trope and using it in a way that takes you by surprise. It's all played straight, and I just didn't get enough fun out of it to relax into either the nostalgia or the familiarity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    3.5 Stars The Ghost Tree a creepy story with some magical elements, but I think this was more a coming of age story than a scary one. It felt like a Brothers Grimm sort of scary fairy tale with a curse, witches, and several gory murders. The town of Smiths Hollow doesn’t seem to register these murders for longer than a day or two. The story is told from several points of view: Lauren an almost fifteen-year-old whose father was murdered less than a year back; a grisly murder with his heart cut out 3.5 Stars The Ghost Tree a creepy story with some magical elements, but I think this was more a coming of age story than a scary one. It felt like a Brothers Grimm sort of scary fairy tale with a curse, witches, and several gory murders. The town of Smiths Hollow doesn’t seem to register these murders for longer than a day or two. The story is told from several points of view: Lauren an almost fifteen-year-old whose father was murdered less than a year back; a grisly murder with his heart cut out in the woods bordering the town. Yet, Lauren isn’t afraid in these woods and still longs for the days when her and her best friend Madison would meet and play at the Old Ghost Tree. Lauren and her friend Madison on in the between stage of adult and young teen, and with that transition these two best friends are growing apart. Madison’s focus is boys, hair and makeup, a pretty unlikeable, selfish character as she spent most of the book annoyed with Lauren for not going along with her plans. Lauren for her part has had enough of Madison’s bossiness. However, Lauren’s growing concern over her relationship with her best friend takes a back seat when two girls are found murdered, an event that has magical repercussions for Lauren and her little brother David. I liked Lauren’s burgeoning romance with Jake and her relationship with her little brother, David. Lauren’s mother also had a POV and she was unlikeable until the very end IMO. There’s a few more POVs, one I didn’t really care for: Mrs. Schneider a hateful bigot of an old lady, and then one I did like a lot: Officer Alex Lopez, a newer resident to Smiths Hollow, there with his family for a better life away from the city. He’s not as affected by the curse as the old-time residents of Smiths Hollow and therefore latches onto the mystery of the murdered girls. I loved Christina Henry’s The Girl in Red and so I was excited to pick up The Ghost Tree. The Ghost Tree was an entirely different kind of story. It gave me a Stranger Things kind of vibe, maybe because that series is very centered on teenagers in the ’80 (same here) with weird things going on. It was an entertaining read, but I didn’t love it as much as TGiR. The story dragged for me in a few places, and I was wondering a few times where the story was going. Still, I enjoyed the story overall, and I think it would make a good creepy read for the coming Fall/Halloween season. A copy was kindly provided by Berkley Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    4.0 Stars - Female Coming of Age Horror Finally! This is the story I have been searching for… a female centric coming of age horror story. I’ve read other horror advertised as such, but this is the first one to actually deliver the goods. Told over multiple perspectives, the story primarily centers around two teenagers who are transitioning from girls into young women. The story touches on common female experiences from choosing boys over best friends to the uncomfortable experience of starting o 4.0 Stars - Female Coming of Age Horror Finally! This is the story I have been searching for… a female centric coming of age horror story. I’ve read other horror advertised as such, but this is the first one to actually deliver the goods. Told over multiple perspectives, the story primarily centers around two teenagers who are transitioning from girls into young women. The story touches on common female experiences from choosing boys over best friends to the uncomfortable experience of starting one’s period. Both girls were likeable and well developed with understandable motivations. Overall, this was an incredibly immersive story that pulled me right from the start. It’s a fairly long novel, but it never felt slow. The story was perfectly paced with a compulsive narrative that kept me turning the pages. The plot was honestly quite predictable, but I did not mind at all. Instead, I found the familiar horror tropes to be comforting. The actual writing was quite simplistic, but the story itself made up for those weaknesses.  With the younger protagonists, this horror novel has a lot of YA crossover appeal. I also think it would be a great starting place for someone newer to horror, because it felt quite accessible without a lot of the weirdness that turns people off the genre. This book will also appeal to those who loved Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chobsky because it had a similar narrative style. I would highly recommend this novel to any horror reader who enjoys classic horror narratives with some fantastical supernatural elements.  Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! I really enjoyed this book! It read just like watching a horror movie. It had the great setup. It had the slow reveal. It had multiple story-lines converging into one big ending. It had people to root for. It had mystery and darkness! It was not at all what I expected going in. I won't spoil the fun. I've only ever read The Mermaid by this author before, and it was decent, but this one wa Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! I really enjoyed this book! It read just like watching a horror movie. It had the great setup. It had the slow reveal. It had multiple story-lines converging into one big ending. It had people to root for. It had mystery and darkness! It was not at all what I expected going in. I won't spoil the fun. I've only ever read The Mermaid by this author before, and it was decent, but this one was a step up. It makes me want to check out her other stories like Alice and Lost Boy and The Girl in Red. I'll definitely be reading more of her work in the future! I did take off a star because of one thing I predicted way too easily. Highly recommended for people who like retellings (this is very Sleepy Hollow/headless horseman type story) and horror.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    3.5 Stars. THE GHOST TREE, by Christina Henry is a coming-of-age supernatural story that takes place in a small town. The idea was great, but I felt like there was a lot more repetitive comments than answers. When we do hear about the root cause and its implications, things got a lot more interesting. I would have liked more on the backstory, or even the supernatural aspects of it, as opposed to the current deaths/repetition on what the "situation" means for the town. 3.5 Stars. THE GHOST TREE, by Christina Henry is a coming-of-age supernatural story that takes place in a small town. The idea was great, but I felt like there was a lot more repetitive comments than answers. When we do hear about the root cause and its implications, things got a lot more interesting. I would have liked more on the backstory, or even the supernatural aspects of it, as opposed to the current deaths/repetition on what the "situation" means for the town.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    The star of The Ghost Tree, is definitely the creepy small town vibe where the town of Smith Hollow almost takes a life of it's own, an entity if you will and it is quite clear from the very beginning, that this mysterious town is not right and definitely not your typical small town. With strange happenings, mysterious murders and town people that just quite aren't right, this is very reminiscent of a town you very well could encounter in a Stephen King novel. Creepy residents and all. Sadly like The star of The Ghost Tree, is definitely the creepy small town vibe where the town of Smith Hollow almost takes a life of it's own, an entity if you will and it is quite clear from the very beginning, that this mysterious town is not right and definitely not your typical small town. With strange happenings, mysterious murders and town people that just quite aren't right, this is very reminiscent of a town you very well could encounter in a Stephen King novel. Creepy residents and all. Sadly like most of King's latest books, this novel too relies on blood, guts and gore to make it “scary” instead of actual spooky, look over your shoulder, get chills and want to leave the lights on at night horror. While this was at times suspenseful and downright cringe worthy with the murders, it sadly lacked the scary ghost story I was so hoping it would be. It sometimes dragged on and on and I couldn't wait for the chapter to end and numerous times had to put it down simply because I lost interest in it. In fact, the best part about this book were the creepy children (their abilities) and again, the very town itself. The ending was somewhat redeeming but again, this just sadly wasn't what I was hoping it would be but not a bad read by any means. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yodamom

    Woowee that was a suspenseful horror read. Creepy woods, a child who know things, mysterious deaths, lack of memories, family history, curses, witches and him, who is him ?!? This tale was twisted so well I really had no idea if “it” was really real or was it was a, What I don’t know. Every mystery was revealed a bit then retracted a bit so I was left with barely a guess and a lot of goosebumps. Suspense plus horror plus a coming of age all while it is going down ! I was glued to the pages, lost Woowee that was a suspenseful horror read. Creepy woods, a child who know things, mysterious deaths, lack of memories, family history, curses, witches and him, who is him ?!? This tale was twisted so well I really had no idea if “it” was really real or was it was a, What I don’t know. Every mystery was revealed a bit then retracted a bit so I was left with barely a guess and a lot of goosebumps. Suspense plus horror plus a coming of age all while it is going down ! I was glued to the pages, lost sleep and avoided my family to read this and don’t regret it. :P Wait till you see how it is at the end. My mind was blown, never saw that. Trigger alert, some seriously nasty racial slurs and evil characters I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

  18. 4 out of 5

    LEAH⇢

    THE DETAILS✎ ❐ YA HORROR ❐ WITCHES, CURSES, AND BLOODY SACRIFICES ❐ EVIL LURKING IN THE WOODS ❐ MULTIPLE POV'S ❐ SET IN THE 80'S...WITH PLENTY OF REFERENCES ❐ LENGTH OF AUDIO ➯ 11 HOURS, 43 MINUTES ❐ I LISTENED ON LIBBY THROUGH MY LIBRARY This isn't really a retelling but it almost feels like it could be...there's even a princess...but you know, she dies (not really a spoiler)...that's pretty much what this author does turns the fairytales on their ass, so to speak. If you've read and THE DETAILS✎ ❐ YA HORROR ❐ WITCHES, CURSES, AND BLOODY SACRIFICES ❐ EVIL LURKING IN THE WOODS ❐ MULTIPLE POV'S ❐ SET IN THE 80'S...WITH PLENTY OF REFERENCES ❐ LENGTH OF AUDIO ➯ 11 HOURS, 43 MINUTES ❐ I LISTENED ON LIBBY THROUGH MY LIBRARY This isn't really a retelling but it almost feels like it could be...there's even a princess...but you know, she dies (not really a spoiler)...that's pretty much what this author does turns the fairytales on their ass, so to speak. If you've read and liked any of Christina Henry's other books...then you probably will like this one. I haven't found a book by her that I didn't at least like. She tells the story without any extra BS thrown in...which I'm a fan of...although this one had some mother/teen daughter drama in it...but it did have a reason for being there. The narration by Jan Johns was excellently performed, her voice for four-year-old David (my fav character in the book) was so good...she made his personality shine through. Usually, I complain if a book has multiple POV's and only one narrator...but she pulled multiple characters off very well. I don't think I've ever listened to a book narrated by her before...but now I'm definitely a fan of hers. BREAKDOWN✎ Narration ➯ 5 STARS Plot ➯ 4.5/5 Characters ➯ 4.3/5 The Feels ➯ 4.5/5 Pacing ➯ 5/5 Addictiveness ➯ 5/5 Theme, Tone or Intensity ➯ 4.5/5 Originality ➯ 4.5/5 Flow (Writing Style/Ease of Listening) ➯ 5/5 World-Building ➯ 4.3/5 Ending ➯ 4.5/5 SUMMATION ➯ 4¾ STARS

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    I absolutely loved Christina Henry’s The Mermaid, so I grabbed The Ghost Tree without even reading the synopsis. It happens to be the perfect October read. Lauren is a teenager but not a typical teenager. She loves to ride her bike and play in the forest. Not like her best friend, Miranda who is only interested in boys. One day, the bodies of two girls are discovered in her neighbor’s yard. It feels a little similar to the murder of her father the year before. It feels like no one is concerned a I absolutely loved Christina Henry’s The Mermaid, so I grabbed The Ghost Tree without even reading the synopsis. It happens to be the perfect October read. Lauren is a teenager but not a typical teenager. She loves to ride her bike and play in the forest. Not like her best friend, Miranda who is only interested in boys. One day, the bodies of two girls are discovered in her neighbor’s yard. It feels a little similar to the murder of her father the year before. It feels like no one is concerned and almost forgetting that it ever happened. But now Lauren is having visions. There are more girls and no one remembers them. There is something very wrong in this small town and she is right in the middle of it. This book started out dark, then went darker…then even darker. This is not a light read. This is the book that you read when you want all the witches, curses, ghosts, and monsters. The only thing that I didn’t love is the many different points-of-view. I felt that the main characters weren’t completely fleshed out. I did love all the characters, I just wanted the focus on some more than others. I love Alex and his family. It broke my heart to see the aggressive racism that they are exposed to on a daily basis. I think it is important to show that racism no matter how big or small. It shows how it hurts a person and how it is a disease in our society. The family bonds that really pulled at my heart. Lauren’s relationship with her brother is so tender and pure. I wanted more behind their family history. I loved Lauren’s coming-of-age progression. She is desperate to hang on to her childhood. She wants to be herself. On the opposite side, it shows the pressures that we put on teens in our society. Now. This book is scary! It gave me chills and is full of glorious twists and turns. No one is safe. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Trigger warnings: graphic murder involving children, pregnancy loss, racism

  20. 4 out of 5

    JenacideByBibliophile

    Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Berkley – Penguin Random House, via Netgalley for an honest review. Opinion: “It’s Mrs. Schneider. She won’t stop screaming. There’s so much blood.” “Help me.” “Find them. All the girls, girls like us. Find them.” “We aren’t the only ones.” Set in the mid 80’s in a small and seemingly perfect town, Smiths Hollow is far from a dreamland. Each year a girl is taken, killed and found dismembered in the woods. Wh Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Berkley – Penguin Random House, via Netgalley for an honest review. Opinion: “It’s Mrs. Schneider. She won’t stop screaming. There’s so much blood.” “Help me.” “Find them. All the girls, girls like us. Find them.” “We aren’t the only ones.” Set in the mid 80’s in a small and seemingly perfect town, Smiths Hollow is far from a dreamland. Each year a girl is taken, killed and found dismembered in the woods. What would surely cause most residents and towns to rise up in anger and cry in fury, the people of Smiths Hollow do none of that. Somehow, these yearly horrors slip from their minds. Friends are forgotten. Sisters are no longer thought about. Daughters begin to be erased from existence. But Lauren can’t seem to forget. Not after her father was found with his heart ripped out one year prior, and the police refuse to do anything about it. But when the bodies of two girls are found in an elderly woman’s backyard, Lauren takes it upon herself to find the truth. Because something is happening in Smiths Hollow…and something is happening to Lauren. “Meet me by the old ghost tree.” The Ghost Tree is Sleepy Hollow on murdery crack, and there is truly nothing better. As we all know, Christina Henry is the Queen of bloodbaths. She is the High Priestess of YA Horror, the Goddess of fairy-tales gone dark, and the Villainous Hero of atmospheric tales of all that is sinister and poetic. This book was everything my dark little soul has been craving! I felt transported to a town that feels jarring, creepy, strange and off, while also seeming vibrant, homey and alluring. It being set in the 80’s gave it the perfect vintage creepiness that one would find in Halloween , and an innocent yet rough depiction of teenage femininity that mirrors Carrie . It leaves you sweating in shivers and wanting to enter the trees. You can almost smell the iron scent coating dried leaves, or hear the warnings on the wind. It is truly the perfect Autumn horror. “There’s something wrong here.” “There is something wrong with this town…” Smiths Hollow is almost like any other town. A small town where everyone knows everyone, you shop at the small grocery store in town, gossip with neighbors, and seemingly forget that girls are dying left and right. You know, normal. The story is told in many different perspectives of various residents of the town, each giving a different form of insight into what is really happening in the shadows. At first, I was so confused with the memory aspect of this story. Because in some ways the characters seemed to realize girls were being killed and could remember, but in every other situation…it was as if they didn’t. This type of mystery lends a hand to the truly bizarre and disorienting tale that this book is, and allows the reader to feel completely in the dark for most of the book. Just like the MC, Lauren. “I don’t want to be alone. Please don’t leave me alone.” Though this is told through many different eyes, Lauren is the main focus and who we find to be the most reliable narrator. Though only fourteen, she is a fairly mature and levelheaded young girl who seems to really know who she is (I give credit to the era she grows up in). Our story starts with Lauren meeting her best friend Miranda by the Ghost Tree in the woods, a place that scares most residents of Smiths Hollow, but also a place the girls have gone to since they were small. Lauren feels comfort and peace when she is in the woods, which is surprising given all that’s…happened… Lauren is a little more on the quiet side and very methodical. She harbors deep pain from the gruesome and brutal death that her father suffered a year before, and deep confusion as to why so many have brushed it aside. Not only have the police done nothing to investigate his murder, but even her mother seems to harbor ill-will and resentment towards her late husband. “You’d think they’d remember a man who’d been found with his heart torn out more clearly.” But as the story goes on, and the murders of two new girls seem to again be brushed under the rug, Lauren can’t help but yearn for answers. Especially when a violent vision of the girls being killed attacks her one day in the woods. “There was something inside her brain trying to get out, something with a chainsaw howling, but the howling wasn’t pain – it was the kind of howling that meant laughter, and the laughter wasn’t the kind that invited others to laugh but the kind that you ran from while your heart slammed against your ribs and your legs moved of their own volition.” But let’s really talk about the weirdness of Smiths Hollow. Lauren’s best friend Miranda is less of a best friend and more of a bully who puts Lauren down, all while attempting to seduce boys so she can lose her virginity. An elderly woman, Mrs. Schneider, has a very unwarranted hatred for her Hispanic neighbors and thinks that they’re killing people. The mayor of the town has an oddly obsessive fascination with bringing a fair to the town, the police force seems fine with not investigating any crimes, an eighteen-year-old boy stares at Lauren a lot, and her four-year-old brother acts like more of an adult than I do. And better yet, he seems to see and hear things no one else can. “Everyone knows, but they don’t know they do.” From the very beginning, the story grabs you into a feverish hunger to know what is causing these people to act so flippant and why girls are getting killed. It is a slow-burn mystery that I binged in a day, and one I was just wishing I could transport into. But the best aspect of all, is that I had zero idea where this story would lead. Even at the 75% mark, I had no idea who or what was behind these killings. Sure, we get a little morsel here and a crumb there to keep us feeling satisfied, but just enough to make us crave more. My favorite part, by far, is when the “legend” is told. I LOVE that the story went into a fantastical direction, even if I wasn’t expecting it or seeing it as a plausible trope that could work with this plot. But alas, it made it SO much better! I love a legend and a dark fairy-tale even more, so naturally I was drooling at the mouth over the secrets and history that it revealed. And though I can’t give anything away without ruining the story, I will say that this trope being woven into the story was done flawlessly and didn’t take away from any of the eerie horror. “And all the while, the hill and the house upon it watched. And all the while, the tree waited for the signal from the hill.” By far my favorite book that I have read in a while. It is PERFECT for those Autumn TBRs that so many of you readers have been crafting since January, and one that I HIGHLY recommend. For those who are afraid of Horror, don’t worry. It really isn’t as scary as my gifs and mood boards would lead you to believe. Christina Henry has a knack for setting a scene of foggy depths and bloody secrets, and that is exactly what The Ghost Tree is. “And in time we’ll forget.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Now THAT’s how you write horror. The Ghost Tree is chilling and disturbing, fascinating and unforgettable. I could not put this book down. Set in a small idyllic Midwestern town, The Ghost Tree reveals the darkness that lies underneath the town’s peaceful, prosperous surface. 14-year-old Lauren is our main character. It’s the summer of 1985, and Lauren is looking forward to starting high school, even though she and her best friend Miranda have been growing apart. Lauren wants to keep playing in the Now THAT’s how you write horror. The Ghost Tree is chilling and disturbing, fascinating and unforgettable. I could not put this book down. Set in a small idyllic Midwestern town, The Ghost Tree reveals the darkness that lies underneath the town’s peaceful, prosperous surface. 14-year-old Lauren is our main character. It’s the summer of 1985, and Lauren is looking forward to starting high school, even though she and her best friend Miranda have been growing apart. Lauren wants to keep playing in the woods and riding bikes, but Miranda is more interested in reading Cosmo and flirting with the older boys who drive cool cars. Lauren is also dealing with her father’s death during the previous year, and her ongoing battles with her critical mother. Fortunately, her 4-year-old brother David is the bright spot in her life. As the story starts, the awful, racist woman down the street discovers the dismembered bodies of two girls in her back yard. The girls are clearly outsiders, perhaps runaways passing through. But after the initial shock, these gruesome deaths don’t seem to make much of an impact on the town or its small police force, and it’s only through great effort that newcomer Officer Lopez can remember that there’s something odd that he should look into. Told through multiple points of view, we get to see how the various townspeople have strange perceptions and faulty memories of the events that happen in Smith’s Hollow, and nothing seems to alter the pleasant lives of the town’s residents. When Lauren’s grandmother shares a disturbing tale with her, Lauren is shocked and angry that her Nana would say such terrible things and expect her to believe them… but little by little, she comes to realize that there’s a dark truth lurking in the town’s memories, and that she and David might be the keys to preventing further bloodshed. The Ghost Tree is so creepy and SO GOOD. The author does such a great job of letting us into Lauren’s mind, showing the uncertainties that a girl her age feels about all the changes in her life, but also showing her taking a stand and starting to own her opinions and take a stand. The more we get to know about the town history and the secrets that everyone seems to have forgotten, the creepier and more disturbing the story becomes. And yes, there’s gore and bloodshed, but for me anyway, the scariest parts have to do with the mind control that the town seems to be under, and how inescapable its dark secrets seem to be. I’ve read other books by Christina Henry, and already knew how talented she is. The Ghost Tree proves that she’s just as amazing at horror as she is at more fantasy-heavy stories. I think I’m going to be thinking about this story for days. This is a story that sticks with you. Check it out! Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley. Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/10/26/... I’ve long been a fan of Christina Henry, but The Ghost Tree was the first novel I’ve read from her that wasn’t a dark fairy tale retelling, and I was pretty excited to check it out. And well, now that I’ve finished the book, I can’t say it was anything like I expected, which was both good and bad. But first, a quick rundown of the story: It is the summer of 1985 and Lauren deMucci is our protagonist, a fourteen-year-old who 3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/10/26/... I’ve long been a fan of Christina Henry, but The Ghost Tree was the first novel I’ve read from her that wasn’t a dark fairy tale retelling, and I was pretty excited to check it out. And well, now that I’ve finished the book, I can’t say it was anything like I expected, which was both good and bad. But first, a quick rundown of the story: It is the summer of 1985 and Lauren deMucci is our protagonist, a fourteen-year-old who lives in Smiths Hollow, a typical small town in America, except for one major anomaly—there’s been a history of gruesome deaths going back for generations, except no one seems to remember them. One day, the calm is shattered with the horrific discovery of the mutilated bodies of two young girls in a neighbor’s yard, but of course, after the initial uproar and panic, the incident once more fades from the people’s minds—just like how the town forgot about the Lauren’s dad, whose body was found in the woods a year ago, his heart torn brutally out of his chest. But not everyone seems to have fallen under the same spell. Officer Alex Lopez who recently moved to Smiths Hollows from the big city is tasked with investigating the deaths, becoming more and more disturbed by the odd behavior exhibited by the other townsfolk. Lauren, whose father’s death still weighs heavily on her mind, is also experiencing strange visions and other changes she cannot explain, even as she tries hard to salvage her fracturing relationship with her best friend Miranda. A bit of the preternatural appears to have touched Lauren’s brother David as well, freaking out their mother with premonitions about the killings and other things that shouldn’t be possible for the little boy to know. Eventually, a warning to Lauren from her grandmother spurs her to find answers on her own, leading to terrifying revelations about the evil in the dark woods and other horrible secrets the town has long tried to bury. So, as I mentioned in my intro, there were some good surprises as well as some not-so-good ones, and we’ll begin with the positives. With regards to the novel’s strengths, I enjoyed the premise and I thought Henry did a fantastic job teasing the mystery of what’s wrong with Smiths Hollow. How does a town simply forget about the deaths that happen year after year? Why aren’t these heinous killings attracting more attention, especially given the vicious way the victims are torn apart? These are the questions that stay with the reader, making this story too intriguing to put down. I also loved the throwback feel of the setting. Thanks to the success of shows like Stranger Things, horror and supernatural stories set in the 80s are all the rage these days, but few can pull off an authentic vibe. The Ghost Tree, however, makes a great effort. Reading it did in fact call to mind some of the more classic horror movies and novels of that era, and it’s a feeling that came through not only in the descriptions of the environment, but also in the way the characters were written—little things like the way they spoke, how they dressed, or their interests in the pop culture like movies and music. I found it all very immersive. But now, we come to some of the novel’s weaker aspects, and I confess, some of them really bugged me. First of all, despite my praise of Henry’s handling of the mystery above, there was an unfortunate downside to it too, mostly related to pacing. Yes, I was motivated to keep on reading because I wanted answers, but the journey to get there dragged in some places, to the point of actual boredom. And then once I got my answers, I have to admit they were somewhat underwhelming. Also, I hate to say it, but characterization was a bit slapdash, and I can’t help but wonder if the author might have developed a few bad habits from her fairy tale retellings which are more forgiving of archetypes and clichés. I mean, the stereotypes here were pretty blatant and low effort, from the “slutty best friend” to the “crotchety racist neighbor” and of course, who can forget the perennial horror genre staple—“that creepy kid who knows things.” What’s worse is that none of the characters were all that particularly likeable, and while being shallowly written might have something to do with it, in general I just found most of them off-putting. So ultimately, for me The Ghost Tree ended up being a mixed bag, and certainly there were some hiccups along the way but also plenty of high points to balance them out. I probably wouldn’t rush to recommend this, but if you’re looking for a quick-and-dirty read to put you in the mood for the Halloween season, this might do.

  23. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Alana Missen The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is the ultimate ode to 1980’s paranormal horror. Stranger Things meets The Brothers Grimm, this nostalgia filled, small town murder mystery has just the right amount of eeriness to keep the reader on their toes. Henry builds upon her early successes with twisted tales and takes it one step further in her latest novel, creating her own killer fairy tale with its own dark consequences. Read the FULL REV Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Alana Missen The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is the ultimate ode to 1980’s paranormal horror. Stranger Things meets The Brothers Grimm, this nostalgia filled, small town murder mystery has just the right amount of eeriness to keep the reader on their toes. Henry builds upon her early successes with twisted tales and takes it one step further in her latest novel, creating her own killer fairy tale with its own dark consequences. Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. BLOG | Instagram | Twitter Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Meet me by the old ghost tree. A witches' curse, a monster hiding in the forest of a small town, and a secret that could destroy many if it comes to the light. This novel was a page-turner! The Ghost Tree slowly develops without once dulling in storytelling. Christina Henry does a great job of keeping the reader not just invested in this tale, but truly entertained. There are moment BLOG | Instagram | Twitter Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Meet me by the old ghost tree. A witches' curse, a monster hiding in the forest of a small town, and a secret that could destroy many if it comes to the light. This novel was a page-turner! The Ghost Tree slowly develops without once dulling in storytelling. Christina Henry does a great job of keeping the reader not just invested in this tale, but truly entertained. There are moments that border on creepy—almost scary—and it leads us, bit by bit, into show just how wrong and twisted the history of this town is, along with most of its residents. There are many details here, and many lines that interconnect—it makes for a rich world. Every time that I thought I had a handle on things, a new twist would be added to keep me on my toes. The myth of the witches' three and how the curse came to be that centers around the missing girls was one of the surprises that I was not expecting, but it was perfectly slipped into the folds of these pages and once it was known, not only did things fall into place but it was the pivotal moment when the entire lie that had been kept over this town started to unravel. I don't know if it was the 1980s-setting, or the fact that David (who was precious, and such a gift) reminded me slightly of Danny, but I got a Stephen King vibe a few times and I was very much digging it. The Ghost Tree, however, has its own voice and its own style as well, not to be mistaken. Lauren makes for a lead that, as the teenager that she is, made me feel all the angst that her age defines. She's unwilling to do and be who she finds herself to be, but pushes past that selfishness to help others when she realizes the importance of her role. The one fault that jumped out at me was at the very end, during Lauren's showdown with the monster of the ghost tree. Yes, as the scene describes, it happens far too fast and though I don't exactly want to make the suffering last, things evolved and finished easier than all the pain inflicted on everyone warranted. All in all, however, there was a mysterious and unnatural ambiance during the whole book that made it that much easier to slip into the world and become part of the story. Despite the dark nature of The Ghost Tree, it's a deeply entertaining book to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hadas Tsury

    Wow!! What an amazing story! Christina Henry has done it again!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Doherty

    I feel like I say that each new release of hers is my favorite - but holy new narrative Batman! The lore, the horror, little David - it's a fantastically well paced, and thought out - the kind of story you just don't want to put down, but don't want to end either. Galley borrowed from the publisher. I feel like I say that each new release of hers is my favorite - but holy new narrative Batman! The lore, the horror, little David - it's a fantastically well paced, and thought out - the kind of story you just don't want to put down, but don't want to end either. Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela

    Mark my words, if you need a book to scare the hell out of you, this is THE. ONE. Review coming soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Monogamist

    Thank you Titan Books for an e-copy of this book. I really loved The Mermaid and I also recently read in one sitting The Lost Boy, so I was very excited to read this new novel by Christina Henry. But I have mixed feelings about it. The story takes place in Smith Hollow, a small town near Chicago. One day, two girls are found dismembered and abandoned in a garden of one of the town's elderly habitants. Nobody knows these girls, but soon, this tragic fact is forgotten, as if nothing happened. Lauren Thank you Titan Books for an e-copy of this book. I really loved The Mermaid and I also recently read in one sitting The Lost Boy, so I was very excited to read this new novel by Christina Henry. But I have mixed feelings about it. The story takes place in Smith Hollow, a small town near Chicago. One day, two girls are found dismembered and abandoned in a garden of one of the town's elderly habitants. Nobody knows these girls, but soon, this tragic fact is forgotten, as if nothing happened. Lauren can’t just forget this tragic murder, as she remembers the death of her father the previous year with the police unwilling to get to the bottom of this. Strange things start happening in Lauren’s life, and she has to face her past and the truth behind the curse of Smith Hollow. It did have a great creepy start. You are introduced to a very wide range of characters, who I thought represented all specific stereotypes. Lauren is a teenager who doesn’t want to grow up. Miranda, the teenager who thinks she is already a full grown-up. You have the old racist neighbour, who doesn’t want to admit that her surname suggests her family probably are immigrants as well (which I admit, Mrs Schneider’s chapter made me laugh out loud). Then you have a lot of other characters, maybe a little tad too many (like the journalist), who in one way or another all get swept up in the curse. Henry creates a slow build-up to the big revelation behind the curse and why it’s happening. After that, the narrative becomes quite slow paced, as well as the thrilling feelings of reading a horror story. While Henry’s writing is flawless, as usual, and I quite enjoyed how the story is told by multiple POVs, I felt like the second half was slower and once the mystery of the curse is revealed, I kind of sensed where it was going and which character not to trust. I am not a fan of horror stories, I don’t get chills, but I still had high expectations for the ending. However, it happened so fast, and I saw it coming so, yeah… a bit disappointing. I strongly recommend this book to horror and Stranger Things fans, because it takes place in the 80s and I loved all the references to pop music and culture from that time. The writing is still great, I wasn’t annoyed and I was generally intrigued to see where it was going but I think the execution of the second part of the plot was slower than the first part.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Wow! I think this is the best Christina Henry book that I've read yet. This was such a fantastic book. It was incredibly well written and really engaging. I was surprised by big it was when it turned up but actually took me very little time to read it because it was so fast paced and easy to read I think this book would make a perfect film. The descriptions were so wonderful and vivid, they would translate well to the big screen. The plot was really interesting. I loved the fact that it was set i Wow! I think this is the best Christina Henry book that I've read yet. This was such a fantastic book. It was incredibly well written and really engaging. I was surprised by big it was when it turned up but actually took me very little time to read it because it was so fast paced and easy to read I think this book would make a perfect film. The descriptions were so wonderful and vivid, they would translate well to the big screen. The plot was really interesting. I loved the fact that it was set in the 80s and how it mixed both the fantastical elements with real world issues which young girls go through. This is a perfect book to read around Halloween as it has a lot of haunting spooky vibes but this as fantastical elements if you aren't a big lover of horror. It's a great genre cross over I can't recommend this book enough! TW: violence and murder

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Review to come

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