Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: YA, Fiction
Published: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Nature will not nurture you.
Ashley’s never really had it easy in her 17 years. She’s taken to relying purely on herself and her fists. A fateful trip into the woods to hang out with friends turns Ashley inward, trying to make sense of her choices in life while trying to survive in her favorite place in the world—the woods.
TW: hunting, cheating, gore, death
Ashley will either be a character you can resonate with because of her family situation and how it’s impacted her personality growing up (nature vs. nurture), or she’ll become one you cannot stand as a reader because of how unlikeable she may seem and how difficult it may be to relate to her. Regardless, I felt that her character deserved the voice she had and it was my job to understand her character’s arc as she dealt with the fact that the Smokies are literally trying to kill her. It’s easy to forget that she’s still a child despite the fact her tough exterior and her actions may make her seem much older.
There were times when Ashley’s character felt as though all she kept doing was losing her footing and falling repeatedly which became a little redundant and borderline annoying but I continued and just let it go until I realized the parallel between it and how she for the most part acted without considering consequences. A typical, still-forming teenage brain. (Come on frontal lobe!)
Otherwise the only major question I would ask anyone who’s read this: In what ways do you think this story would have changed had the narrative been told with a dual timeline of Ashley trying to make it out of the woods and those searching for her?
There were scenes I had to skip because of the gore/hunting (huge trigger for me), so just a heads up. Otherwise I really enjoyed all the inner dialogue and shifts in Ashley’s perspective of her own life and actions as well as how it impacts those around her.