What the Woods Keep
What the Woods Keep is the stunning debut of Katya de Becerra, who combines mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy in a twisty story that will keep you mesmerized right up to the final page.On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She's getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it's all catching up with her: her mother's mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father's outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden's own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden's mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.An Imprint Book

What the Woods Keep Details

TitleWhat the Woods Keep
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 18th, 2018
PublisherImprint Macmillan
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Science Fiction

What the Woods Keep Review

  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    I just knew I had to read this book when I saw the cover and read the blurb. Plus tress... trees... and trees!! Right off the bat, the writing draws the reader in with its alluring words. Hayden is an interesting character, and you really never know what's going on exactly with her. She's well developed and as the story goes on you find out more! There's present stuff, some past stuff, and a whole lot of I need to find out what's going on.The book pretty much had everything—friendship, mystery, I just knew I had to read this book when I saw the cover and read the blurb. Plus tress... trees... and trees!! Right off the bat, the writing draws the reader in with its alluring words. Hayden is an interesting character, and you really never know what's going on exactly with her. She's well developed and as the story goes on you find out more! There's present stuff, some past stuff, and a whole lot of I need to find out what's going on.The book pretty much had everything—friendship, mystery, creepiness, and a dash of romance. Trust me, you'll want to get lost in these woods!
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  • Katya Becerra
    January 1, 1970
    Note from the author: I’m beyond excited to share this book with you all! I'm obviously biased but I love this book, and hope you will too:) A bit more about What the Woods Keep: It is first person POV; it is spooky; and it deals with topics very dear to me, namely unbreakable female friendships, complicated inter-generational relationships, and different ways people perceive the world. This book is also my love letter to urban/contemporary fantasy and its "tropes": a girl coming into her powers Note from the author: I’m beyond excited to share this book with you all! I'm obviously biased but I love this book, and hope you will too:) A bit more about What the Woods Keep: It is first person POV; it is spooky; and it deals with topics very dear to me, namely unbreakable female friendships, complicated inter-generational relationships, and different ways people perceive the world. This book is also my love letter to urban/contemporary fantasy and its "tropes": a girl coming into her powers while dealing with her family’s legacy, the nature-vs-nurture debate, and, of course, the Forest as a perfect symbol for the unknown and terrifying. WHAT THE WOODS KEEP will officially be out in the world on September 18, 2018! You can pre-order it at most places: https://us.macmillan.com/books/978125... (also support your local bookseller, if possible!). I rarely check in here, but I’m on most social media channels @KatyaDeBecerra if you'd like to get in touch.Some additional reading:)This interview This short essay about how my anthropological background influenced my writing This guest blog post for NaNoWriMo
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  • Kate (beautifulbookland)
    January 1, 1970
    Holy crap, this book is good. Before I read it, I thought it sounded similar to The Hazel Wood (which I loved!) but once I started, I couldn’t really see any similarities apart from the creepy house (and the fact that I enjoyed both books immensely, of course). Because, for me, The Hazel Wood had quite a whimsical, behind-a-pane-of-glass feel to it, where I knew what was going on but I wasn’t quite sure all the time. But What the Woods Keep is written in a way that makes the story easy to follow Holy crap, this book is good. Before I read it, I thought it sounded similar to The Hazel Wood (which I loved!) but once I started, I couldn’t really see any similarities apart from the creepy house (and the fact that I enjoyed both books immensely, of course). Because, for me, The Hazel Wood had quite a whimsical, behind-a-pane-of-glass feel to it, where I knew what was going on but I wasn’t quite sure all the time. But What the Woods Keep is written in a way that makes the story easy to follow, all the while keeping its cards close to its chest, allowing it to keep some of the mystery. There are twists in the plot that will keep you gripped, and the writing is simply addictive. What It’s AboutWith What the Woods Keep, Katya manages to weave a deliciously creepy story that follows an eighteen year old girl who, on her eighteenth birthday, is left her childhood home by her late mother - with the request to uncover her mother’s darkest secrets, and put her past wrongs right. The WritingThis book is written in first person and is narrated by Hayden, who is a fabulous main character. She has just the right amount of dark to be mysterious (without being a raging psychopath), and is very science and logic based, resolutely refusing any supernatural possibilities. At the beginning of a lot of the chapters, Hayden tells us different scientific discoveries and theories, and then explains how they can fit in with her life and what she’s going through. I found them incredibly interesting (despite being incredibly confused - but impressed! - by a lot of them).As well as interesting science theories, I also loved learning about the Nibelung. I must admit, I’d never heard of the Nibelung and had to google the term to see if it was an actual thing, or just something that Katya had cooked up for her story. The Nibelung are part of Germanic mythology, and they’re pretty fascinating (and, I must say, Katya has definitely done her research for this book!). The CharactersAs I mentioned earlier, Hayden is a brilliant character, but the secondary characters are also fab - especially Hayden’s best friend, Del. Del, who is funny and flirty and is the light to Hayden’s dark. She’s a brilliant best friend, despite Hayden not being the easiest people to get along with; she follows Hayden to her home town without a second thought. They are literal friendship goals, and I loved their relationship. There’s also a very sweet love interest, Shannon, the boy next door who is now all grown up (I don’t know if this is just me, but I’d literally never heard of a guy being called Shannon before, so it did sort of take some getting used to because I kept picturing a girl). The romance is by no means overpowering, though, and because Hayden and Shannon were best friends growing up, there’s no insta-love!The VerdictI loved this book! It had my heart racing, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It’s literally mental how this is Katya’s debut novel; I can’t wait to read what she does next!*Thank you so much to Katya for sending me an arc, I greatly appreciate it*
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  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Now that you have hopefully read the synopsis, which really doesn’t come close to explaining how thrilling and complex this book is, let me get into the deep, dark woods of Promise, Colorado. Don’t enter without being prepared to read something that will test your belief in the supernatural, at the same time as serve up facts about physics and give you a story steeped in myth and old blood rites.This book feels like it blurs the lines between science-fiction, fantasy, and mystery, targeting a yo Now that you have hopefully read the synopsis, which really doesn’t come close to explaining how thrilling and complex this book is, let me get into the deep, dark woods of Promise, Colorado. Don’t enter without being prepared to read something that will test your belief in the supernatural, at the same time as serve up facts about physics and give you a story steeped in myth and old blood rites.This book feels like it blurs the lines between science-fiction, fantasy, and mystery, targeting a young adult audience, but it’s a highly intelligent read (it comes from a real smart cookie of an author, so that doesn’t surprise me).‘What The Woods Keep’ centers around an eighteen-year old girl called Hayden, who is suffering an identity crisis, as she inherits the Manor she grew up in, and trying to come to terms with her mother’s disappearance so many years ago and the dark secrets behind it. She struggles with how she sees her father’s work and his hair-brained theories that have got him ostracized from the scientific community, and also with what she knows about her mother’s contradictory beliefs of mythology, the rituals she seemed to practice in the woods, and her own frightening dreams.Hayden’s friendship with her roommate Del, who she brings back to Promise with her, who seems to be her diametric opposite, and a grounding force in her life, is a constant source of support, and a voice of reason (I’ve always wished for someone like that); I thought their interactions were some of the most lovely things about book. Exploring relationships is key to this novel: the two friends, the loss of a mother, how a father impacts his daughter, reuniting with old friends, and navigating it all while developing a relationship with the inner self and growing up.One of the key elements to the woods and town of Promise giving you nothing but the chills, is the way in which Katya is able to paint such a dark and vivid picture of the inhabitants. I don’t like making comparisons to other books (so I won’t) but since I’m a ‘Twin Peaks’ fan, I’ll go there; I definitely got that sort of vibe when I read this, and I’ll tell you that was my favorite show of the 90’s. The individual characters of Abigail Reaser, Hayden’s childhood friend Shannon, (now all grown-up), the bizarre Elspeth, even Hayden’s psychiatrist…they all are so original and/or fabulously strange. There is also so much atmosphere swirling around the small town, the weather being so stormy, the ravens flying near Hayden, the close by woods, you can feel it all when you’re reading the book; knowing that the girls are out there in that big house alone, it’s all what will make you stay reading with the lights on. The dark and stormy tone of the book, the loneliness of the house in the woods, and the creepy characters particularly make this the perfect autumnal read.The story beneath the surface of the novel, of the ‘Nibelungs’, is fascinating and mysterious, and having it run concurrently in the same book with a basecamp where blood samples are being collected, mean (Norse) mythology and science-fiction are melded together. Katya’s background in anthropology, Egyptology, and with her traveling around the world, give the pages its personality, and I love how she used everything from her love of movies and books (references to Stephen King and David Cronenburg), to her sense of displacement as an expat (I understand this!) to influence her work. And the beginnings of each chapter are so brilliant, that you may want to have a notebook for all the useful facts**and pieces of knowledge that are shared.This is seriously one of the most unique, intelligent, and mystical novels I’ve ever read. The twists and turns continue right up until the very end and the pages will take you to strange depths that are unexpected and exciting. And the further you delve into the woods, the more likely it is you will be pulled in to Miss Katya’s ‘Promise’; it’s quite the adventure, with an ending that will leave you hoping there’s another book coming. **Facts and topics included: laws of thermodynamics, sleepwalking, Norse gods. If anything, you will be a smarter person for having read this book!
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  • Tara ☽
    January 1, 1970
    Look at this cover. I want to lick it.
  • Dana L. Davis
    January 1, 1970
    If you like howling winds, ominous birds, dark woods, clouds casting shadows over a perfectly creepy town, blood (okay you don’t have to like blood) cryptic messages, mystery and intensely likeable heroines in the midst of it all…you will LOVE this book as much as I did. It was the perfect blend of sci-fi, mystery and fantasy. But this is not your average fantasy. It’s the kind of fantasy that makes you double bolt the door before you go to bed and maybe even leave on a light or two to ward off If you like howling winds, ominous birds, dark woods, clouds casting shadows over a perfectly creepy town, blood (okay you don’t have to like blood) cryptic messages, mystery and intensely likeable heroines in the midst of it all…you will LOVE this book as much as I did. It was the perfect blend of sci-fi, mystery and fantasy. But this is not your average fantasy. It’s the kind of fantasy that makes you double bolt the door before you go to bed and maybe even leave on a light or two to ward off the scary dreams. It’s the kind of YA that reminded me of why I love YA in the first place. You escape into this beautifully built world starring an old house that seems to have a life of it’s own. It reminded me of one of my favorite childhood movies, The Watcher in the Woods. I don’t like giving too much away with reviews because there is something magical about discovering a story and letting it reveal itself to you page by page. I will just say that strange and cryptic clues have led Hayden to return to the eerie old house that she grew up in at the edge of mysterious woods. But it’s not all edge of your seat, page turning plot. It’s also got this beautiful blend of science, philosophy, psychology and even mythology—like maybe Einstein and Stephen King got together with the author, Katya de Becerra to plot this all out. Fun read. CREEPY read. Page turner and intensely unique. I highly recommend and can’t wait for more from this author.
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  • andrea caro
    January 1, 1970
    I am not entirely sure what to rate this or how to explain it. RTC. Weird book.
  • Derek Milman
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a pulse-pounding, nail-biting thriller. Hayden lives in her Brooklyn apartment with her roommate and best friend Del. They're an unlikely odd couple; Del who is fashion and makeover obsessed, and Hayden who would like nothing more than to exist with a wardrobe of Doc Martens and hoodies, but something about their friendship works. When Hayden has to go back to the Manor, the house she grew up in, and where her life was changed traumatically, Del decides to tag along for sp WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a pulse-pounding, nail-biting thriller. Hayden lives in her Brooklyn apartment with her roommate and best friend Del. They're an unlikely odd couple; Del who is fashion and makeover obsessed, and Hayden who would like nothing more than to exist with a wardrobe of Doc Martens and hoodies, but something about their friendship works. When Hayden has to go back to the Manor, the house she grew up in, and where her life was changed traumatically, Del decides to tag along for spring break. They quickly realize that everything isn't as it seems, and that there is a deeper purpose behind their visit to the old house. Dripping with atmosphere, the woods surrounding the house, and the town itself, seem to hold secrets that directly involve Hayden's past. Creepy townspeople seem to know more about Hayden than they should, and as they slowly reveal their sinister intentions for Hayden, the tension mounts. A lost love, and a big twist expertly further the plot, and bring Hayden closer to oblivion and to a monumental decision that could affect the fate of the entire world.This book glues you to the edge of your seat. The writing is powerful, with dashes of humor to lighten the tension at just the right moments. One of the best sci-fi/horror/mysteries I've ever read.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What The Woods Keep was unlike anything I've ever read!!! A delicious slow-burn mystery that darkens and spirals as it progresses, becoming more complex and fleshed out the deeper into the eponymous woods it ventures. Exquisitely researched and doing a seamless job blending contemporary fantasy with theoretical physics and suspenseful psychological horror, this book sucks you in slowly but surely. An immersive, claustrophobic, cerebral read that will imprint itself on your mind long after y Wow! What The Woods Keep was unlike anything I've ever read!!! A delicious slow-burn mystery that darkens and spirals as it progresses, becoming more complex and fleshed out the deeper into the eponymous woods it ventures. Exquisitely researched and doing a seamless job blending contemporary fantasy with theoretical physics and suspenseful psychological horror, this book sucks you in slowly but surely. An immersive, claustrophobic, cerebral read that will imprint itself on your mind long after you have finished reading. There's some of this: There's amazing friendship between two girls who will walk through fire for one another:And there's lots, LOTS of this: GET READY FOR THIS! Because this book will blow your freaking socks off!!!
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  • Caryn Lix
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing, creepy, spooktacular book! What the Woods Keep is a unique blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror story all rolled into one. It gave me shivers down my spine and kept me awake at night, both because of the chill factor and just because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. This book is everything you could want, from a spooky cabin in the woods to a massive conspiracy to a fantasy romance. Definitely check it out. It's so much fun in so many ways that you won't want to stop r What an amazing, creepy, spooktacular book! What the Woods Keep is a unique blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror story all rolled into one. It gave me shivers down my spine and kept me awake at night, both because of the chill factor and just because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. This book is everything you could want, from a spooky cabin in the woods to a massive conspiracy to a fantasy romance. Definitely check it out. It's so much fun in so many ways that you won't want to stop reading, and you'll be as excited as I am for book two!
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  • T.M. Hall
    January 1, 1970
    What the Woods Keep is a real high-tension page turner with a dash of humor to give relief from holding your breath from time to time. The setting of the woods adds to the mysterious and creepy feel of every page, and the aha moments are superbly satisfying. If you’re a thriller/mystery lover, this is a great new debut author to get hooked on.
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  • Lucia DiStefano
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a stellar debut from a stellar author. The minute I started it, I felt like I was in capable authorial hands as I read, because I actually got lost in the story and forgot there was an author at all! I loved walking alongside Hayden in the journey to find out the truth about what happened to her mother that fateful night a decade ago, and, in the process, find out the truth about herself. I loved walking alongside her even when I had to proverbially cover my eyes because I WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a stellar debut from a stellar author. The minute I started it, I felt like I was in capable authorial hands as I read, because I actually got lost in the story and forgot there was an author at all! I loved walking alongside Hayden in the journey to find out the truth about what happened to her mother that fateful night a decade ago, and, in the process, find out the truth about herself. I loved walking alongside her even when I had to proverbially cover my eyes because I was afraid of what might happen next. (Can you say: “cliff-hanger chapter endings”?) De Becerra has a striking gift for description and using the setting to create atmosphere. The novel is haunting and the place is a character of its own. I personally love books and movies where I’m often thinking, “Wow, that is CREEPY,” and there is plenty of that richness here. Lots of the surprising story revelations are the kind that would make you crawl out of your skin if they happened to you, and I love being in those stories! And in all that isn’t embarrassment of riches enough, there are fabulous relationships here, between Hayden and her smart, vibrant best friend Del (who ends up playing a pivotal role in the story later on, in such a cool way), and Hayden’s swoon-worthy boy-next-door from her childhood, who turns out to have become quite hot while Hayden was away all those years. I have a terrible sense of direction, so I have been known to get lost in the woods on more than one occasion, which is why I try not to venture into the forest all by myself. However, de Becerra’s WOODS are ones I am glad I walked into on my own…I loved every minute! And though I got lost while I was in them, I got lost in the right way: the world at large dropped away and I was all-in with Hayden and the sophisticated, nuanced, complicated mystery of her past and her self that she desperately needed to unravel. I felt like the Colorado woods of Hayden's childhood were calling to me, as they were to her!I feel lucky to have read this gem in advance of its publication. Still, I can’t wait for its release so I can gift it to others!
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  • Ariel
    January 1, 1970
    I really think the author has tried doing something UNIQUE here. Now, this book may not be for everyone, but I hope a lot of readers give this a chance. I, for one, really enjoyed it! Hayden's first POV narration is immersive, and the way her strange mind works goes so great together with the menacing darkening atmosphere of this eerie world. I had genuine goosebumps and hair standing on ends when reading some of the creepiest moments in this debut. And can I say how much I freaking loved all th I really think the author has tried doing something UNIQUE here. Now, this book may not be for everyone, but I hope a lot of readers give this a chance. I, for one, really enjoyed it! Hayden's first POV narration is immersive, and the way her strange mind works goes so great together with the menacing darkening atmosphere of this eerie world. I had genuine goosebumps and hair standing on ends when reading some of the creepiest moments in this debut. And can I say how much I freaking loved all the science/psychology interludes - how COOL. So, my verdict: don't miss this book!
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  • Tara Gilboy
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT THE WOODS KEEP was the perfect way to start off my summer reading list. Part fairy tale, part science fiction, part horror, this novel takes the best parts of these genres and blends them into something completely unique, satisfying, and new. One of my favorite parts of this novel was the way it unfolded in layers, mixing Hayden’s narrative with other documents -- letters, medical notes, scientific journal entries, and transcripts -- each element offering a piece of the puzzle and leaving m WHAT THE WOODS KEEP was the perfect way to start off my summer reading list. Part fairy tale, part science fiction, part horror, this novel takes the best parts of these genres and blends them into something completely unique, satisfying, and new. One of my favorite parts of this novel was the way it unfolded in layers, mixing Hayden’s narrative with other documents -- letters, medical notes, scientific journal entries, and transcripts -- each element offering a piece of the puzzle and leaving me dying to find out more. Super smart and spooky, this story kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. A must read.
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  • Stephanie Makin
    January 1, 1970
    This might be the first YA novel I've ever read, and I really enjoyed it! It had everything i'd expected from a novel of this genre: best friends, young love, coming-of-age drama, and a lot more too. It was impressively researched, mixing fantasy with science; deep-diving into various scientific/philosophical concepts throughout which added depth to the story. The writing was very clever, including witty dialogue and quirky one-liners and I enjoyed the film references throughout. The plot includ This might be the first YA novel I've ever read, and I really enjoyed it! It had everything i'd expected from a novel of this genre: best friends, young love, coming-of-age drama, and a lot more too. It was impressively researched, mixing fantasy with science; deep-diving into various scientific/philosophical concepts throughout which added depth to the story. The writing was very clever, including witty dialogue and quirky one-liners and I enjoyed the film references throughout. The plot included plenty of twists and surprises along the way and kept me wanting to turn the pages. All in all, I really enjoyed this book!
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  • Maxine Kaplan
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so. damn. good. Lush and creepy, with a totally unique yet totally relatable heroine. I LOVED the way this book pinned logic and science against fantasy and primal fear--and managed to find the common ground between them in a deeply incisive way. A fast, frantic, fascinating read. Very highly recommended for anyone interested in mythology, psychology, or just some good scares.
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  • Jess (◕‿◕✿)
    January 1, 1970
    I am definitely going to have an in-depth review on my blog soon, but this was amazing. I can't even express or fully form words to tell you how good this was, only that you need to put it on your radar.Definitely one of my favorites of the year and that ending!! How am i supposed to survive
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  • Austine (NovelKnight)
    January 1, 1970
    This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I'm honestly not sure what I expected when I started What the Woods Keep but a contemporary sci-fi/Nordic/Germanic mythology mash-up was not it. . . and I'm totally okay with that!Despite a slow start, this intriguing book captured my attention and made it nearly impossible to read late at night for fear of nightmares to come. The writing follows a pattern of internal This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I'm honestly not sure what I expected when I started What the Woods Keep but a contemporary sci-fi/Nordic/Germanic mythology mash-up was not it. . . and I'm totally okay with that!Despite a slow start, this intriguing book captured my attention and made it nearly impossible to read late at night for fear of nightmares to come. The writing follows a pattern of internal monologues by the protagonist, Hayden, mixed with related "current" events, and sprinkled with accounts from her therapist, news articles, and other bits and bobs to round out the narrative. The overall effect read almost like a mystery novel where the reader has the pieces but has to solve the puzzle.Unlike most fantasy-esque contemporaries, this took the unrealistic and made it real. Hayden likes science, logical answers, the ability to explain away the paranormal. Her theories permeate the book and set me at odds with believing the paranormal much like she did. And then the supernatural element came into play and I was pleasantly surprised to recognize the tale of the Nibelungs as one related to Norse mythology (plus the added symbolism of the ravens all but confirmed it for me early on). Science meets myth and I'm HOOKED. But that wasn't all. What the Woods Keep has that haunting vibe that makes you want to put it aside and devour it all at once. I wanted to stop reading late into the night but found I just couldn't put it down. I needed to solve the mystery behind Hayden's mother's disappearance, Hayden's unusual heritage, her father's secret research, all of it. But like Hayden, I couldn't see through the fog around her old hometown that came through the very writing. It was a heady reading experience, to say the least.And I loved Hayden's character. She's had a strange upbringing. Her father was stripped of his title as a professor for following conspiracy theories and stories. Her mother disappeared, never to be found, in the woods of her old town. She's had strange events happen all around her for years. I felt for her. She just wants to know what's going on and I wanted to know with her. Plus I loved the snark she added to the page.Every element of this book heightens the tension. Even when the rational became the fantastical, I was long gone under the spell. Somehow through it all, there's a thread of horror and suspense lingering beneath the surface. This book is kind of messed up and I loved every second of it.My only real issue after I got into the world? The ending. All this tension and suddenly the book. . .Stops.I  thought I missed a chapter. I didn't have the closure I needed to really wrap the book up. And as far as I know, it's a standalone? I can certainly hope for a sequel or companion novel or even a short story to end things, but I wasn't fully satisfied with this ending. Overall, this book is haunting and atmospheric, blending science and fantasy so thoroughly you won't know where one ends and the other begins. I'd recommend it to fans of Dawn Kurtagich's And the Trees Crept In and Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood, those of you who like a touch of horror with your magic.Find Me on: My Blog || Twitter || Instagram || Bloglovin'
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  • Jorge
    January 1, 1970
    I don't usually read this book genre, but I found WTWK to be a very enjoyable and fascinating read. Combining theoretical physics and sci-fi/thriller elements with Nordic mythology and family/friendship human aspects, it was a perfect blend of fast-paced action, teen charm and a dash of spooky.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI spent a really long time debating whether I wanted to give this 4 or 4.5 stars, and eventually I gave up and just decided I wanted to round up because I ultimately enjoyed this, hence the 4.5.What the Woods Keep is a dark, genre-bending novel which twists science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, contemporary, and paranormal themes all together into one explosion of a book. And de Becerra does a fantastic job of putting it all together without making it feel like a mess.The premise and plot 4.5 starsI spent a really long time debating whether I wanted to give this 4 or 4.5 stars, and eventually I gave up and just decided I wanted to round up because I ultimately enjoyed this, hence the 4.5.What the Woods Keep is a dark, genre-bending novel which twists science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, contemporary, and paranormal themes all together into one explosion of a book. And de Becerra does a fantastic job of putting it all together without making it feel like a mess.The premise and plot were all really interesting and engaging, and the transition from contemporary mystery to fantasy/paranormal to science fiction was all done really well. (If you've read it, think along the lines of Emily Lloyd-Jones' The Hearts We Sold because that has a similar style of genre-bending, which I also loved!)I really liked how it flowed--it wasn't like it was changing gears on a car, but a smooth transition where the different genres mixed together, like adding food coloring to water. The mystery elements were still present when the sci-fi predominated, and the transition from fantasy to science fiction made sense and flowed nicely.If I had to pick my favorite genre element in this, it would actually be the mystery, which is a huge surprise because science fiction is my favorite genre ever. But I feel like de Becerra did an amazing job in building the mystery and intrigue over why these mysterious occurrences in a small town are happening.Hayden, the main character, narrates what's going on really well. Although I wasn't extremely invested in what happened to her and was more into the story for the physical plot and the mystery, I still think her introspection was top notch.I was mostly apathetic to her relationships with her father and with her long lost childhood best friend, but I also didn't dislike it, nor did I mind when these scenes occurred.I honestly just wanted more exploration into these facets of Hayden, but wasn't really able to get them due to the giant plot also taking place as de Becerra develops Hayden's character. It's definitely a lot to do at once, and the character interactions are where I felt de Becerra fell a little short.I did absolutely love the structure and writing style. A lot of the chapters end in these short epistolary-like pieces, such as a letter or a scientific article or something else. I felt like these pieces actually contributed to the work and made it more whole, in a way.I do have to note that if you're someone who gets really annoyed at using any sort of math/science references in literature, then you're probably going to dislike the writing style. A lot of the chapters start with a connection to a science or math principle, although most of them aren't super cliché like:Every action has an equal opposite reaction. (aka Newton's Second Law aka something that does NOT mean your actions have consequences but rather that the force of the box on the ground equals the force of the ground on the box.)So even though these were present and I do feel like they did misconstrue math and science principles a bit, I also didn't really mind. Take that as you will, because I am one of those annoying STEM people who are nitpicky about these types of things.Overall, I had a great time reading and found the plot to be unique and refreshing with both its darkness and genre-bending. I'd say, if you're a fan of Emily Lloyd-Jones' The Hearts We Sold or Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood , you definitely want to pick this up! Or if this appeals to you, because it truly is a great read!Thank you so much to Imprint/Macmillan and Katya de Becerra for sending me an advance readers' copy in exchange for an honest review!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Lucy Resnik
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic new voice in YA lit! This book is indescribable and totally new and unique! If you're into atmospheric, smart, unusual books, What The Woods Keep is for totally you. (Also, I've read an advanced copy and it wasn't yet finalized for internal design, but I'm sure for the actual final book, the design is going to be mind-blowing - because it's a meta book, so it's got documents in it as part of the plot, and.... it's difficult to explain - it's gotta be read/seen - it'll be awesome!)
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  • Adriann Fincher
    January 1, 1970
    This book is something truly different and unique.
  • Karlita | Tale Out Loud
    January 1, 1970
    Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramActual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars If you were like me who thought watching Supernatural, starting from its pilot episode, and reading this book was the perfect combo, please do me a favor to do it in daylight. Because the moment I picked this book, I quickly sense that eerie atmosphere within the story.Katya de Becerra lures the readers in with the mystery behind Hayden’s character who has this weird and odd personality. Not only the Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | InstagramActual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars If you were like me who thought watching Supernatural, starting from its pilot episode, and reading this book was the perfect combo, please do me a favor to do it in daylight. Because the moment I picked this book, I quickly sense that eerie atmosphere within the story.Katya de Becerra lures the readers in with the mystery behind Hayden’s character who has this weird and odd personality. Not only the way how she has different colored eyes, because that’s basically had science explained as heterochromia, but how her mom’s strange disappearing a decade ago promised a dark, creepy tale in it.Every inch there is in this story gave a slice of horror. First, the setting of a quiet, small town with people who looked as if they’ll going to eat you alive for dinner started out predictable. But anything that has to do with the forest and a house in the woods easily creeps me out.The cryptic messages from Hayden’s mom, blood dials, rituals and images that were vividly described and a bit too outré, I could literally visualize them on my head, didn’t escape my being extra spooked. Even the letters, patient’s appendices of Hayden, Arista Kazan’s notes, findings and Dr. Holland’s journals attached in some of the chapters were pretty spooktacular too.As Hayden unfolds the mystery and truth about her mother, all things that she could make sense using science and physics changed because her father was right all along. This made the suspense grows steadily and the twist on the Nibelungs absolutely popped up on the pages.The story also explores Hayden’s need to have that sense of comfort, to belong, where she found on her best friend Del. Even being completely opposite, their friendship became one of the highlights in the story—how Del didn’t leave Hayden knowing every supernatural completely freaks her out or how Hayden will do everything to save her.And let's not forget about Shannon, Hayden's former childhood friend. It's not easy for her to trust and get along with other people. But with Shannon, she felt that there's nothing have changed, that's if he was not using her for the Institute.When the story nears its end, the scenes went in high gear and completely turned my head in a mind-bending spiral. Hayden, knowing that she’s completely not human and going into a wholly different universe of the Nibelungs? I could have easily heard a pin drop.Everything became too intense and before I know it, the story ended. Honestly, I want more! I need to know what happen to Abigail, to Hayden’s father and everyone in Promise. So, I asked Katya about this in an interview, which you can read on a post for today's What the Woods Keep blog tour.What the Woods Keep is a plot-driven story about learning one’s true identity while discovering the unknown, punched with a deeply chilling vibe and consistent spine-tingling narrative. From the settings, characters, plot, storytelling, and even the title and cover itself, this book captured an excellent blend of science fiction, fantasy and horror.I highly recommend this book to everyone. It's a great addition to your fall TBR.***I received an eARC of What the Woods Keep from the publisher via NetGalley and this in no way influence my rating nor my opinion on this book.
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  • trufflebooks
    January 1, 1970
    4/5 STARS. This review can also be found on my BLOG!-While I don't celebrate Halloween, What The Woods Keep fits the theme perfectly and this novel was delightfully spooky!After reading the blurb to this book, I was immediately intrigued because I'm really loving mysteries and thrillers. Complete shock and utter surprise though, when this book turns out to become an urban fantasy/sci-fi novel as well.Firstly, thank you so much to Allen & Unwin Australia for kindly sending me this review copy 4/5 STARS. This review can also be found on my BLOG!-While I don't celebrate Halloween, What The Woods Keep fits the theme perfectly and this novel was delightfully spooky!After reading the blurb to this book, I was immediately intrigued because I'm really loving mysteries and thrillers. Complete shock and utter surprise though, when this book turns out to become an urban fantasy/sci-fi novel as well.Firstly, thank you so much to Allen & Unwin Australia for kindly sending me this review copy at my request and the opportunity to interview the lovely author, Katya De Becerra, as well (look out for that on my blog!). It is such an awesome opportunity and I'm so happy that I expressed my interest in this novel to them.Let's review!Setting & PlotAs you would've read above, the protagonist Hayden inherits her mother's mansion in her hometown called Promise. I have to say that writing the setting and the premise of Promise was one of my absolute favourite things about this book. Katya wrote it so well when reading about this town, I could immediately imagine a very creepy, spooky town with dark forests and woods and the sound of the wind as if people were whispering secrets. It reminded me of Forks and Riverdale and it was so delightfully spooky.The general plot of the book is Hayden trying to uncover what the meaning of her mother's will means. The will basically contained a riddle that she feels like she must solve after her mother disappeared and was declared dead in absentia (yo check out my latin skillzzz). I totally sympathised with this plot, I feel like if my mum disappeared and there was no logical explanation for her death or disappearance, there would always be that one slither of hope that you could maybe find her again. As she delves into the secrets her old mansion holds and also looks into her past and how that can somehow give context to all the new information she's acquiring, things start to get sinister. I can't say much more because I don't want to spoil but I honestly just loved this. For a thriller/horror vibe, it felt like there was quite a bit of action. Some of the scenes gave me chills and had me gasp or just confused that I really had to keep reading.CharactersI really liked Hayden, I thought that she was a great protagonist and that her love for all things scientific and logical with her little repetitive quirks like with counting - was something I could relate to. I'm a secret science nerd and I learnt a lot of things reading this book. Hayden (well, Katya) would explain theories and laws so easily that anyone who has never had an interest in scientific theories to do with the universe or anthropology, could easily understand everything and connect the dots. Hayden's character was the (obviously) the most complex and I really enjoyed reading her way of thinking and how she developed throughout this book as she began to embrace that you can't always explain things with science and logic. The identity crisis she goes through I think is relatable to so many people who find things out about their family and themselves that they might've never known about and her thought processes and she overcame that were gorgeously enlightening.The other main character we really get to know the most is Del. Delphine is a French girl who is also Hayden's roommate and closest friend, and I'll be honest, from the start I seriously suspected her. I was on my toes about it, I was ready for a huge scandal where she was in on it from the beginning - "Do I even know you? How can I know you say who you are?" - type of situash. I won't reveal whether that's true but she was, unfortunately, my least favourite character. She annoyed me quite a bit how she seemed to be pushing her girly and fashionista personality and activities onto Hayden. From being a tomboy as a child, I know the feeling of being forced to dress up when you'd rather be in more comfortable clothes. She was supposed to be Hayden's best friend but kind of just reminded me of...Ron Weasley. If you know Ron, you'll get it.The romance in this book was just the right amount. The love interest is the boy next door that's all grown up and I feel like it's realistic that old childhood friends who had feelings for each other would totally be a little insta-lovey at a reunion. That would totally be me anyway. His character wasn't explored as well and I couldn't really get to know him, but it was good in a way because then the romance didn't take over the main plot or steer towards an unnecessary direction. Instead, it just helped to create that sense of nostalgia and the past that Hayden has obviously hidden away in the back of her head until she goes back to visit.Writing & MediaI did not expect this book to be a mixed media novel and it was! It was awesome, I love mixed media novels and I was so excited to get to each different piece where instead of reading from Hayden's point of view, we read official documents, diary and journal entries, newspaper articles - I loved it all! It strengthened that sense of mystery and that eerie secret yet to be unveiled and gave me some awesome Illuminae vibes. The writing was really enjoyable as well, I thought it was easy to read and probably the only con of it was that a few times it sometimes felt like some of the lingo was trying too hard to sound 'hip' and trendy. I noticed that a few times there would be a new compound word like 'superfresh' or 'superadorable' (not accurate cause I don't have the exact words) but it somehow bothered that there wasn't a space between those two words. Either way, I really enjoyed the writing. The journal entries and articles etc were very distinct which made it even more mysterious and creepy and I liked that within the writing, each character has its own way of speaking and their own personalities.OverallI really enjoyed this book! It was so engaging and I didn't want to stop reading because things got so sinister and mysterious, the plot thickened more than my favourite Easy Mac and I learnt certain things I have never known or understood before. I would highly recommend picking this up especially if you're into some spooky reads at this time of year in the halloween season. I hope that you if you do read it that you get chills like I did and I'd love a spoilery discussion!Look out for my awesome interview with Katya very soon,Until next time,xx TracyBLOG | INSTA | TWITTERThank you to Allen & Unwin for kindly sending me a review copy of this book at my request, in exchange for an honest review. The paperback was amazingly floppy and shiny and I was flailing for a good hour at receiving it.
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    “But this is how horror movies begin.”You may want to be lost in these woods. Okay, my corny jokes aside. I saw this book being raved by Karlita (our lovely tour organizer) on Twitter. Of course, the curious cat I am, I searched on what it is about. As per description from the blurb, it was alluring, trees calling in the MC to go into the deep woods.. umm, I signed up.The atmosphere What the Woods Keep reflects is rich in all sort of creepy and eerie vibes. Completely in love with the world, it “But this is how horror movies begin.”You may want to be lost in these woods. Okay, my corny jokes aside. I saw this book being raved by Karlita (our lovely tour organizer) on Twitter. Of course, the curious cat I am, I searched on what it is about. As per description from the blurb, it was alluring, trees calling in the MC to go into the deep woods.. umm, I signed up.The atmosphere What the Woods Keep reflects is rich in all sort of creepy and eerie vibes. Completely in love with the world, it gave. I didn’t find a dull moment in it. I got vivid images of present and flashbacks all the way to its last page. I was clutching my Kindle waiting for something to happen in the real world as well. And that speaks volume, if that doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will.It is plot driven the story began when Hayden turned eighteen and was contacted by their lawyer for her inheritance, something from her mother whom she lost at a young age in the Woods. And returns to this place brought along a friend and discovers that whatever happened to her mother goes deeper than just her being lost in those woods. Later then reveals what really the woods keep…With what is happening in the present and a bit of flashback, the style is a yes from me. It is something that we all have seen before but I had to admit the way it was told and revealed bit by bit as grappling well.Characters. *Exhales loudly* here’s the tea, I couldn’t trust any-frigging-one of them. My trust was completely tossed out of the window. A reader will be up and in for an agonizingly good experience with these characters. Everyone seems so sketchy even the MC seems to send me this unreliable vibe, made the assumption from her flashbacks. The character development was a leap yet so unnoticeable. *Monica Geller* “I know!”. If you know what I mean, we’ve read something like that at least once in our life, right?Writing. Of, course all of these adorations is almost a reflection of the enslaving writing. What I adore most is the blending and layering of mystery, paranormal elements, sci-fi, mystery, and thrill of it all. The mixture of the enigmatic air is present, the scientific and medical jargons were clearly well researched, the thrill of what will happen? yes. All here!The ending struck me abrupt. I understand that this may be a clear intent of the author to do, for the readers to want more and I surrender because I do want more. You succeeded Katya, I haven’t finished a book so fast in a while. I sat and finished this with just one bathroom break. Since then I had to hold it, my thoughts were spiraling that someone will be there waiting for me at the ungodly hour of the am.If you’re a huge fan of mystery-paranormal read, I dare you to pick a this up and discover this world yourself.
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  • Rena
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't wait to read this book - a retelling of the Nibelungenlied? Yes please. And the book didn't disappoint. One of my favorite reads of the year so far! You can tell that the author's professional background shines through, and the book was the perfect mix of modern, ancient, myth and magic. It was creepy and spooky by turns, but I found it skated the edge of horror in just the right way (for me) and the reveal at the end didn't disappoint. Katya's prose is poetic and literary, but approa I couldn't wait to read this book - a retelling of the Nibelungenlied? Yes please. And the book didn't disappoint. One of my favorite reads of the year so far! You can tell that the author's professional background shines through, and the book was the perfect mix of modern, ancient, myth and magic. It was creepy and spooky by turns, but I found it skated the edge of horror in just the right way (for me) and the reveal at the end didn't disappoint. Katya's prose is poetic and literary, but approachable. I can't wait to read what she writes next!
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  • Suzanne Schick rivera
    January 1, 1970
    A little drama, a little mystery, and alot of gasp worthy moments. I am already short-listing this book for a reread with my book club!
  • Nikole Clow
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 4.5 stars"There are terrible forces hiding in this town, in these woods, that we don't understand and that are dangerous."This wonderfully dark atmospheric novel will keep you fixated on the world and Hayden's journey. What the Woods Keep is an eerie novel that will make you question the daily noises you hear and the things you see and quite possibly your own sanity. This book gives a new meaning to uncanny and the obscure. I was pleasantly hooked to this haunting tale.What the Wo Actual rating: 4.5 stars"There are terrible forces hiding in this town, in these woods, that we don't understand and that are dangerous."This wonderfully dark atmospheric novel will keep you fixated on the world and Hayden's journey. What the Woods Keep is an eerie novel that will make you question the daily noises you hear and the things you see and quite possibly your own sanity. This book gives a new meaning to uncanny and the obscure. I was pleasantly hooked to this haunting tale.What the Woods Keep bends mystery, paranormal, and fantasy. It does so in wonderful fashion, equally sufficing all genres in one book. There's also the sense of an unknown horror. I'm one of those people that loves the horror genre, along with all the genres listed above. I don't read a lot of horror, but when I do, I'm usually engrossed in the novel or bored because I know how everything will play out. What the Woods Keep was in no way boring or predictable, but rather an edgy new addition to the YA genre.The book starts off with the reader meeting Hayden, the main protagonist, and learning surprising aspects about her life, the main one being that her mom died in a rather suspicious way. Hayden finds out on her eighteenth birthday that she has inherited her old house, a Manor in Promise, Colorado, based on her Mom's will. However, her Mom leaves her a set of cryptic conditions:"My first condition is that Hayden goes to the Manor and looks for the gifts I left her. They'll call to her. She needs to listen with her blood."My second condition is that Hayden uses my gifts to destroy my darkest secret - my hidden treasure, my heaviest burden.My third and final condition is that Hayden trusts no one where my treasure is concerned, especially the ravens."Cryptic yet intriguing messages, all that immediately pique Hayden's (and the reader's) interest. From there, Hayden and her best friend, Del, take a trip to Promise, Colorado, hoping to find answers not just about her Mom, but also Hayden's upbringing and why her own Father wants her to never return to Promise (and also to see Shannon, an old -- and very good-looking -- childhood friend)."It's springtime, but Promise seems frozen in an eternal fall, its spirit crushed by rain and wind. It's wet and miserable, and yet this place feels right to me. As if, despite it being inhospitable and damp and glum, it wants me here -- and I belong."Hayden knows there is something unusual going on in her old hometown, but she can't quite pinpoint it. People stare at her as if they've seen a ghost. There's a research facility collecting blood NOT for a traditional blood drive. And then there's a few members of the town that have been waiting for Hayden's arrival for quite some time. And even though a lot of red flags go off in Hayden's head, she is determined to uncover her Mom's death and buried secrets. She never once thought the paranormal beings, Nibelungs, would be linked to her Mom, nor to her, especially when she believes scientific theories can explain everything."For the first time I truly wonder if all of it -- my recurring dream about the shadowy army, Mom's clues, and Dad's crackpot science -- point toward an impossible truth."The atmosphere in this book is astounding and unlike most fictional towns. As the reader, you know something is just off when the town is first introduced. The only issue: you don't know what. But the mysterious townsfolk and luring woods will draw you in and keep you guessing. Just how does everything connect? And how does Hayden and her Mom fit into all of this?I was overall happy with this book. The ending was a little fast, but the book itself is a tantalizing read. Katya de Becerra weaves beautiful and breathtaking writing to bring to life this haunting and eerie read. With strong characters, mystery, and an undeniable pull to the world, you won't want to put this book down.What the Woods Keep hits shelves next Tuesday, September 18! Pre-order now and check out the cool pre-order campaign!Thank you to the publisher and Tale Out Loud for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review! Any quotes used are from the advanced e-copy and may not be in the final publication. 
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    I first heard about this book when Publishing House Allen and Unwin hosted their YA Fan Fest and to my delight, I won a copy after participating in one of their activities on stage!! For this, I am forever grateful as this was one creepily, exciting book!!! Where to start? Yes I really enjoyed this book.. What I enjoyed most was the element of mystery that teased me throughout the story - from the beginning I knew and understood that our main character, Hayden, was given a task that was to unloc I first heard about this book when Publishing House Allen and Unwin hosted their YA Fan Fest and to my delight, I won a copy after participating in one of their activities on stage!! For this, I am forever grateful as this was one creepily, exciting book!!! Where to start? Yes I really enjoyed this book.. What I enjoyed most was the element of mystery that teased me throughout the story - from the beginning I knew and understood that our main character, Hayden, was given a task that was to unlock her late mother's secret - but what was that secret!? Was it real or a fantasy? I found the closer we got to the truth, the creepier the story got - parts of the story even gave me goosebumps (no spoilers - The Manor) I also loved Hayden's father - a disgraced physicist - who was a mystery himself and how several of his journal extracts resurfaced throughout the book which started piecing more jigsaw puzzle pieces together. Even with that underlying mystery, I found the plot to be fast paced and very cleverly written. The author did a great job with starting chapters with text book explanations on various topics like physics for example and it lead us to the next part of the story. The friendship between Hayden and her bestie, Del, would appear to be the most unlikely yet they fit together like a glove and their constant banter made me laugh a lot so I guess it's true, opposites do attract!! This is a great debut novel and I recommend this to readers who enjoy a creepy YA fantasy fiction story.. It's epic!!! Special thanks to Allen & Unwin for giving me an advanced review copy of this book.
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  • Laura Mauro
    January 1, 1970
    * I got this book for review for my honest thoughts*I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be the prefect mix of fantasy and thriller and mystery. I am big buffy fan and Hayden at points really reminds me of buffy and the strong female characters and relationships was also super well done. This book would make a prefect fall/halloween read because it is def creepy but not terrifying. I really loved the setting of this book. I thought the world building could have been clearer at points but I * I got this book for review for my honest thoughts*I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be the prefect mix of fantasy and thriller and mystery. I am big buffy fan and Hayden at points really reminds me of buffy and the strong female characters and relationships was also super well done. This book would make a prefect fall/halloween read because it is def creepy but not terrifying. I really loved the setting of this book. I thought the world building could have been clearer at points but I did really love the myth that was created. I thought the pacing towards the start was rather slow but def did pick up as the book progressed and the ending I just wanted more time for "answers" If you are looking for creepy fantasy read, this may be the book for you. I also like the elements of emails and trascripts that accented the novel!
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