Thursday, September 1, 2016

Review: And The Trees Crept In

Dawn Kurtagich
Paranormal Young Adult
352 pages
Little, Brown
Available September 6th
Source: BEA

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, it's immediately clear that the "blood manor" is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too--the questions that Silla can't ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that's appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?

Filled with just as many twists and turns as The Dead House, and with achingly beautiful, chilling language that delivers haunting scenes, AND THE TREES CREPT IN is the perfect follow-up novel for master horror writer Dawn Kurtagich.

And the Trees Crept In is organized chaos, a seeming jumble of formats from journal entries to narrative to flashbacks combining to purposely disorient us as we read so that we are every bit as on edge as Silla when her world starts to crumble. Though the way both the story and the book itself are structured may not be for everyone, the intriguing confusion and tension that stem from the unusual formatting shows a great deal of forethought on Ms. Kurtagich's part, and she leads us on a merry tale of terror until everything makes sense in the end.

Silla's story draws us in quickly, a brief flashback to a time when her mom and two sisters were young and invented a story about a Creeper Man preconditioning us to believe in the paranormal aspect of this tale, but as with The Dead House, Ms. Kurtagich excels at making us question whether we can trust anything our characters are showing us. Are we watching the actual physical deterioration of home, family and ultimately body thanks to supernatural happenings, or are we instead locked inside a fracturing mind believing what it needs to believe in order to cope?

Though we get easily swept up in the wrongness of the "blood manor" and the secrets of Aunt Cath's past, the middle section of this tale does drag just a bit – lots of wood creaking and trees creeping ever closer as Ms. Kurtagich prepares to step up her game in the final third. That being said however, the end is a blur of skimmed and flipped pages (not due to boredom, but rather our hurry to work our way through the final moves in the epic mind game Ms. Kurtagich is playing), until we reach the final chapters and get all the answers we've been craving.

Overall, And the Trees Crept In shows yet again what a unique storyteller Ms. Kurtagich is, preying on our curious minds as she ties her story into a gorgeous Gordion Knot and dares us to try and untie it.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. This sounds so good, but this genre is totally not for me. I really want to pick up something by this author now, though! Does she write only horror/thriller type books? Great review, Jenny, and thanks for putting this on my radar! I might just need to pick this up after all, though during daylight hours.

  2. Organized chaos? Ohhh this sounds interesting. I love creepy!

  3. Hmmm, I'm so very curious about this one... I think I'll add it to the wish list for when I'm in the mood for dark & creepy!
    Great review, Jenny!

  4. Fabulous review of an equally fabulous book! Love the Gordion knot metaphor - so true!

  5. I think you liked this a bit more than I did, it was a bit too scattered for me but it was creepy at times but I wish it would have been a bit more so at the same time. Wonderful review Jenny!

  6. I was just eying this on Goodreads...this sounds perfect for fall.

  7. I love the way this book is structured. I find that they are so refreshing, even easier to read. I love reading diary entries and snipped from things. Make it so much more interactive. This sounds like a great book I will try and keep an eye out for this one. Great review, Jenny!

  8. I got this one on order. I think my teens will love this one and I may even use it for my October Book Club pick.

  9. I loved loved loved The Dead House and I kind of love that Kurtagich continues to explore these innovative approaches to narration. I can't wait to read this. I think I'll enjoy even the slowed middle part.

  10. This sounds amazing! I am going to have to give these two books a try.

  11. I've been wanting to try this author, and I think both books are on my TBR list! I've heard great things about the diary entries that I'm curious about. Have a great weekend, Jenny!! :)