Friday, September 29, 2023

Glad This Thing Isn't in My Backyard


TITLE: The Ghost Tree
AUTHOR: Christina Henry
PUBLISHING DATE: September 8, 2020
PAGES: 426   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry. 
When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. 
So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

MY THOUGHTS: I have been meaning to read this book since it first came up, so I was thrilled to see it was the pick for an on-line horror book club I participate in on Facebook.  I won't lie, I was a bit worried as Henry is a hit-or-miss author for me, but I am proud to report The Ghost Tree was a hit.

Lauren lives with her mother and little brother following the death of her father the previous year. She is extremely resentful of her mother, who seems glad that her husband is gone, and they two get along as well as oil and water.  Lauren is struggling with her early teen years and trying to figure out if the relationship with her best friend is going to last - or if she even wants it to.  She has always found comfort in the woods, despite them being the scene of her father's demise, but when she starts getting visions depicting the murders of two girls who were just found brutally mutilated, and when her brother, who is only four, seems to know things that are about to happen, Lauren doesn't know who to turn to.  What exactly is going on in her town, what does it have to do with her and the death of her father, and can it be stopped before she loses more people she cares about?

I liked Lauren and enjoyed pretty much every aspect of the tale.  There is a pretty stereotypical racist old lady who hates anyone that doesn't look like her who is somewhat annoying, but she is supposed to be so Henry hit her mark.  I was able to figure out the "bad guy" pretty early on, but it didn't negate any positive experience of reading the book.  And finally, it was nice to see there were a few underlying issues fueling the animosity between Lauren and her mother and it was nice to see some of them resolved by the end.

The Ghost Tree is a great read for the spooky season, and I am glad I was able to knock it off of my backlist of books. I believe this is categorized as a YA book, but it read more like an adult book with YA characters so if that is holding anyone off from picking it up, it really shouldn't.  Glad I can add another Henry "hit" to my "books I've read" list.  



1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to know this one is a hit. It's one I meant to read when it first came out, too, but then never did. Probably because I hit a string of disappointing YA novels and decided to stop reading them for awhile. But if you liked this one, I probably will, too. :D