A spooky forest, a poisonous lake, and two teens who risk it all

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elinsenmeyer Avatar


When I first read the synopsis of the book and the First Look, I was getting major The Village vibes mixed in with Encanto--although obviously very much darker than Encanto. And those vibes were spot on, considering the plot centers around family secrets and a very isolated village! I think I get the Encanto vibes too because the book is very much about generational harm, a topic that doesn't get explored as much in young adult lit!

The tone is dark and foreboding, and the fact that the forest didn't respond all the time added to that feel, because it always gave the impression of being there in the background, waiting and lurking. And the villagers are also there in the background, some afraid, some very much accepting their lives. The relationship between Leelo and Jaren was also central to the plot, and actually, I think the book would have been stronger without the romance side of it. Let the two characters grow and change and learn without that extra element. Still, I thought this was a very spooky ride with elements of a lot of things but still fresh enough to feel new.