Publication date: September 14th, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads W elcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is ...

Review || What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

Publication date: September 14th, 2021

Welcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is always watching. From the author of Scritch Scratch comes a chilling middle grade story about a creepy mansion and sinister creatures in the woods

All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to relax. But when Ginny's father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren't staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they're staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.

Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures that escaped a mad scientist over a hundred years ago. And some say campers routinely disappear never to be seen again.

When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: there's more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren't after campers.

They're after her.

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This is my second book by Lindsay Currie and I absolutely love her style. (You can read my review of Scritch Scratch here.) Her books so far seem to follow a pretty basic formula: preteen gets to head into some spooky sites, manages to find herself mixed up in a Scooby style mystery, and does some sleuthing into the past to discover exactly why what's happening is happening. Though just because something is formulaic doesn't have to mean it's boring or predictable. There's plenty here to draw you in and get you invested. 

Ginny is a great character with relatable worries and fears. Of course, part of that is moving out to the middle of nowhere into this ginormous mansion while her father discovers what it will take to rehab the old place. Especially when she hears that there may be more to Woodmore Manor than she expected...a lot more. Ginny also happens to be very smart and curious about things that she doesn't already know about so it's not long before she's researching its history. She's a huge Agatha Christie fan so figuring out the mystery is completely her thing. She also manages to drag her brother and a newfound friend into helping solve the mystery. Family and friendship feature front and center in the relationships that Lindsay Currie creates. 

If you think middle grade can't be spooky, there are plenty of chills in this haunted house story. The author starts slowly with a few unnerving encounters that could easily be brushed off, but as the story proceeds, those moments become more and more startling. As with Scritch Scratch, there are some pretty terrifying moments that our protagonist Ginny encounters. One in particular probably would have pre-teen me sleeping with the lights on. I love that she doesn't hold back with the scares. However, by the end of the book, she also manages to make it all okay or at least manages to make it all make sense. Sometimes just knowing why something is happening makes it less scary. 

This is one of those books that keeps you turning pages until the very end. The pacing is fantastic and once it starts rolling, this story doesn't slow down. I couldn't wait for Ginny and the crew to figure things out. While there are some things that might seem a little predictable, it's almost in that yell-at-the-characters-on-tv way. You might have figured it out watching from the outside in, but they haven't and you can't wait until it all clicks for everyone. What Lives in the Woods was a treat and I can't wait to read whatever comes next.