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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Hooke

Review of 'Winterwood'


By Shea Earnshaw, 2019, Simon Pulse

Paranormal, YA, Romance

Rating: 👻👻👻 1/2 (3.5 out of 4 boos)

Be careful of the dark, dark wood.

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. And when she discovers a boy inside the Wicker Woods—a boy named Oliver Huntsman who vanished from the Jackjaw Camp for Wayward Boys weeks earlier—she knows something strange has happened even she can’t explain. The boy should be dead, but he has no memory of the time he’s been missing. Now, Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods since his return. Because Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because the truth is, he wasn’t the only one who went missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.”

What’s the main character like?

Nora Walker longs to feel connected to others but simultaneously relishes her life on the fringe. She longs to prove herself in a long line of witches but doubts she ever will. She longs for love but believes it is not her destiny. She is mysterious and intriguing, but all the same, a typical teenager in many ways.

How scary is it?

Winterwood contains dark imagery and content, but it is not frightening. There are a few sexual references, but they are not particularly explicit.

Who might like this book?

Readers of Earnshaw’s The Wicked Deep will appreciate the reference to that book’s town in Winterwood. While not a sequel, Winterwood does play off the first book’s world and has a similar mysterious and poetic quality. I also was reminded of Fiendish, a book that is startling and beautiful in its vivid descriptions, as is Winterwood.

What did I like best?

I say this about a lot of books, but the setting was everything in Winterwood. Small mountain town. Snow storm. Impossibly deep lake. Even the descriptions of Nora’s witchy objects. As a reader, I live for those sorts of details.

What wasn’t my favorite?

In spite of this book having some of the freshest and most poetic writing I’ve ever seen in a YA novel, and in spite of starting off with an intriguing premise, the first chunk of the book moved slowly. But the middle is strong and fast-paced, and the ending is even more exciting. Personally, I think the slowness might have come from my need to savor Earnshaw’s beautiful writing style instead of racing through for plot points.

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