After the Woods by Kim Savage
Published February 23rd, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?
Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning. (Goodreads)
First things first. If you haven’t read about my journey to have this amazing book in my possession go and read about that first and then come back and hear all my thoughts.
I had high expectations for After the Woods. Afterall it was one of my most anticipated 2016 debuts. It did not disappoint but it definitely surprised me as well. Kim Savage did a beautiful job of crafting a story about two friends that went through a horrible experience. But everything is not what it seems. At times the foreshadowing was so blatant and at others, it was wonderfully woven in. I appreciated that Julia was getting counseling of some sort and that aspect of the story was not left out. So often it is.
What was missing? I wish I had a bit more backstory of Julia and Liv’s friendship prior to the attack. I mean what would really make a friend save your life like that? Thank goodness Julia is a strong young woman and had the smarts to escape. After the Woods focuses on what is happening nearly one year later. There is another body discovered in the same woods and a certain ambitious reporter is trying to nab an exclusive story to air for the anniversary. You can definitely see Savage’s writing shine during the reporter scenes. If you didn’t know, Savage was a former reporter who received her master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University. She worked as a business journalist, pitching story ideas along the lines of “When Murder Kills Property Values.”
What made the story so mysterious was Julia didn’t remember what happened to her in the woods during the two nights that Jessup had her. There’s also a slight romance that seems genuine but always left me wanting more. But the most interesting part of the story it seems is why Liv isn’t or doesn’t seem to be grateful for Julia. If someone saved my life the way Julia did you better believe I would be forever grateful. Instead, Liv is aloof and seemingly wrecking her life.
There’s not a huge plot twist but it definitely took a different direction than I was expecting. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read more from Kim Savage.