Blog Tour Book Review: DREAD WOOD by Jennifer Killick (Middle Grade Monday)

I received an ARC from the publishers as part of this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Blog Tour graphic with image of book on blue next to elements from cover and title
Genre: Horror
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book one

Synopsis:

Book cover for DREAD WOOD: title in orange below kids looking at a tree-surrounded school

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 . . .

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

I’m not usually a horror person (way too much of a scared-y cat!) but I had so much fun reading this book. This book gave me a creeping sense of unease and then action-filled danger without body horror or gore. It’s creepy, but in a fun way – which is how I like my horror.

The book starts off with strange things happening, leaving the kids on their own. There’s a nicely done “what’s happening here?” vibe. A friend once described horror as a mystery that isn’t fully explained, and that mystery element certainly stand out at the start as the school they know (but don’t love!) turns out to not be so familiar.

Once the kids do find out what’s happening, it’s then a desperate race to survive in the face of some pretty nasty monsters. I do not like this creature, so that definitely ups the “nope nope nope, please get out of that situation FAST” factor for me! The forest section and then the finale were the most eeek for me, but I liked how they were also used to show the various expertise the kids had.

This combination meant I got both the anticipation/tension of the unknown, and the horror of knowing what they’re up against. Not to mention being able to explore bullying through the mystery of why there were there.

This is a book that happens over one Saturday detention, but despite such a short page count and time, you still get a really good sense of what the children are like. They have nice, distinct personalities, with layers to reveal. They’re also kids from an estate, by and large, which was nice to see that represented (particularly against a school setting that might have more easily been made into a private school!) Plus seeing these disparate kids with little in common come together as a team and then friends was really nice.

I highly recommend this to horror fans and those not to keen on the sort of graphic horror in films.

2 thoughts on “Blog Tour Book Review: DREAD WOOD by Jennifer Killick (Middle Grade Monday)

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