Title: Dread Wood
Author: Jennifer Killick
Publication Date: March 31, 2022
Genre: Middle-Grade Horror
Number of Pages: 304
From Goodreads: The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps
It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.
What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute . . .? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge . . .
Thank you to The Write Reads for organizing and inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Thank you, Farshore, for providing me with a copy of this book through Net Galley and tour materials in exchange for an honest review.
The first thing that I want to say about this book is that if you have arachnophobia, you should probably avoid reading Dread Wood.
Dread Wood is what you get when you mix The Breakfast Club with Jurassic Park and add way too many legs. It is wonderful, creepy, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.
When four students at Dread Wood are forced to come together for Saturday detention, they aren’t expecting much. They aren’t friends with each other, none of them want to be there, and it’s out of character for them to wind up in Saturday detention anyway. What happens when they get there, and the gate to the school grounds closes and locks behind them, is more than they could have ever imagined. What started as lame, quickly turns into strange, and then things get horrifying very quickly. What follows is an afternoon of detention that will keep you on your toes and wary of what lurks in the shadows.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this book. I liked that they were all different and brought different things to the table. I also liked that all four characters were dealing with their own real-life problems that felt like realistic problems outside of school. I liked that once the characters began to open up to each other, and got to know each other a bit more, they were able to form a friendship and use each other’s strengths to their advantage. They were the kind of characters I could root for, and I enjoyed watching them work together to sort out the horrific situation they found themselves in.
I liked the mystery aspect of this book. It was clear that something creepy and sinister was going on, and I enjoyed trying to piece it together. I liked watching the characters work together to sort out the clues and sort out what was happening. Even though the reveal of what was going on was a bit disappointing and cliché, I still enjoyed it. I also thought the villains in this book were definitely super creepy.
Generally speaking, I like books that take place in schools, even creepy schools with creepy caretakers. The descriptions of the school allowed me to visualize the school grounds and remind me of all of the places I definitely want to avoid at that school. I am also very glad that I am no longer in school anymore because this book would make me want to avoid all greenspaces on any school property.
This book was creepy, but it was unrealistic enough (I hope) that it didn’t leave me super paranoid. That being said, I am glad that I read this book during daylight hours. I liked that this book wasn’t overly gory or violent, though a few scenes were a bit on the gory and violent side. Another thing to note is that there was some animal death and violence towards animals in this book, which was a bit difficult to read at times. This book was fast-paced, and it kept me on the edge of my seat.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was quick, creepy, and had a great cast of characters. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
Rating: 4 Stars!
Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.
You can purchase a copy of Dread Wood from Amazon* here.
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Fantastic review Ashlee, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
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