Saturday 22 June 2019

Book Review | The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods by Emily Barr

Title: The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods
Author: Emily Barr
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019 by Penguin
Format: ARC via Netgalley
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Waterstones


Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she's ever known, into the outside world she's been taught to fear. 

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can't fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She's looking for answers, but what she'll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past. 



My Thoughts 

I thought this had a really interesting concept when I read the synopsis on Netgalley so I immediately put in a request and was lucky enough to be approved. I have a weird fascination with cults and similar kinds of groups who live seperate from the rest of society so I was interested to see how this story would play out.

There are two distinct sections to the books, one part takes place in the present and follows Arty as she leaves her commune and enters into the 'real world' and her attempts to contact family on the outside. The second sections are interwoven with the main narrative and we get glimpses of someone being held prisoner in a basement and their attempts to escape. These parts, whilst short, really did have me on tenterhooks as I was constantly theorising on how someone ended up in the basement and who was it that was keeping them captive and why. There were times when it got a little confusing and I did end up wondering how it was going to link up with the main story and in the end it didn't really add much to the plot other then setting up the 'big twist'.  

The main character Arty was intelligent and inquisitive, she's very headstrong and intuitive for someone who has spent her entire life living in the woods. It did actually make me quite anxious reading about her trying to find her way around Mumbai cause I was so scared that someone was going to take advantage of her. She was an interesting character and I did enjoy reading about her journey and about her discovering how the modern world works.

The couple of problems I had about this book centered around the fact that this was marketed as a thriller and I just didn't get that feeling from the book. This felt more like a coming-of-age story and it was a good one but I was disappointed that I didn't get the thriller I was hoping for. I guess the parts of the book set within the basement were supposed to be the thrilling part but the big twist at the end didn't fulfill my hopes for how the plot was going to go. I also wasn't a big fan of the ending, I thought one of the characters being reintroduced wasn't necessary or believable and it definitely lessened my positive feelings about the book slightly.

Overall, I think this book had really strong writing and a main character that you root for but the twist at the end was disappointing and didn't fit with the book being marketed as a thriller in my opinion. I wanted something darker but got an ending that was tied up in a neat little bow instead.

* I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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