The Woods Are Always Watching was a fast paced and exciting book, with a few minor issues. Let's break it down!
What I Liked:
►I do love me a survival story, and this certainly was one! And it definitely delivered on the tension and the "will they make it out?" aspect, so that was great. The stakes were certainly sufficiently high, and I was invested in the outcome.
►I can appreciate two people who basically hate camping. Look, this was just honest. I haven't the foggiest idea why these two young ladies thought that camping, which neither of them professes to enjoy, needed to be their big hurrah before parting ways, but I think it was a pretty good way to show their sheer lack of woodsy know-how. Next time, I think they should try a day at the beach? An amusement park, mayhaps? And hey, the book has the added bonus of being a cautionary tale: maybe if you don't know about camping and don't particularly enjoy the outdoors, skip it, under risk of death.
►It's a very readable book in general. It's fast paced (except for a little in the beginning, which I will get to) and full of adventure and excitement. I raced through it, needing to know what would happen to the girls, so that is a huge plus.
►While I didn't always love how it was handled, I loved that friendship was a huge focus. This is a romance-free book, focused solely on the characters and their situation at hand. I liked that we meet the girls as they are about to move on from high school, and that they are at a crossroads, basically. The story also delved into the girls' family lives as well, which I liked.
What I Didn't:
►I really, really needed an epilogue. The ending was just way too abrupt for my liking, especially after such a high stakes story. This is definitely my biggest qualm with this book, frankly. (Spoiler omitted.)
►While I do understand what the author was trying to illustrate through the girls' arguments, did the fighting have to make up so much of the story? Look, I appreciate that friendships can be rocky, especially when facing such huge life changes, as Josie and Neena are! Hell, I'd be shocked if they didn't fight! They're obviously going through a lot, and it does make sense. It just got to be a lot, especially in the first half of the book. Like are the woods the problem, or is it just you two? Luckily it does pick up, but also I don't know that we get a lot in the way of a satisfying resolution to many of the issues.
Bottom Line: It's certainly fast paced and exciting after the first half, though I did wish for a bit more from the ending.