Julia knows more than anyone that things don’t always go as planned. She wasn’t supposed to be the one Jessup captured in the woods. When Julia and Liv are attacked, Julia refuses to allow Liv to be abducted. She saves her and unintentionally takes her place.
A year later, when Julia starts having PTSD flashbacks, she logs keywords, thoughts and bits of remembered events in her notebook. Her psychiatrist wants to hypnotize her, but she’s figuring things out herself, with research, investigative journaling and the understanding that only friendship brings. Liv also hasn’t been the same since after the woods, even though Julia was the one held captive.
And then, inconceivably, more tragedy: A dead teenager is discovered in the same wild patch, where locals go to escape reality, the place Julia fears above all else. A TV reporter focuses her coverage on failed police procedure and charges probation officers with accountability for this new body and for Julia’s attack. The town is a circus, yet things get even stranger.
Superbly written for a young adult audience, After the Woods is darkly alluring, a compelling read with mystery, romance, drama and twists. Psychological explorations and questions of motivation drive character growth: Why does an abductor pull a knife, tie hands and refuse to let go? Why does a girl reach out to a complete stranger? What are these compulsions?
This well-paced mystery will compel readers to read hungrily, quickly, in pursuit of answers to these many questions.