*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: And the Trees Crept In
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: September 2016
When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the “blood manor” is cursed. The creaking of the house and the stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too–the questions that Silla can’t ignore: Who is the beautiful boy that’s appeared from the woods? Who is the man that her little sister sees, but no one else? And why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer?
This story brings together a haunted rising of the unimaginable, the unstable mental state of a family member, abuse, a threat of war, and a desperate love between sisters. There’s a lot going on. The chaotic state brings this element of fear for the characters and is meant to inspire similar feelings in the reader. It’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. The impossible occurs page by page, so much so that you cannot trust the narrator nor the world she describes to us. We cannot trust the words on the page. The only way to know the truth is to get to the end of the story. With such an unreliable narrator, even in the end, the reader is left to question if what has happened is true.
I loved that this book incorporated the journals of both sisters. We see the pages burning away as Silla writes each letter. These burning pages are suggestive of the impermanence and instability of this every evolving world. Within each of Silla’s letter there is a “hidden” message, demonstrated by larger bolder letters. It was a little silly in my opinion, however this is a YA so the author may not have wanted the hidden message to be too cryptic or difficult to find.
Overall, it reminds me of those ghost stories that are told around the campfire by friends of family members just trying to have a good time. Definitely not as good as The Dead House, but still entertaining.