Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Synopsis: Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.
Over-medicated and under-confident, she’s fearful she’ll never escape her past.
Until she meets Bo out hiking. Gorgeous, wild, and free he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.
But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena realizes she can’t trust anyone.
Not even herself.
I’ve enjoyed Josephine Angelini’s previous books, especially her Starcrossed series, so it comes as a shock that I really didn’t care for her standalone What She Found in the Woods.
My biggest issue was the way social issues like mental illness and drug addiction were portrayed. I don’t want to venture into spoiler territory, but in my opinion these themes were used as shallow plot devices instead of being a thoughtful exploration of the afflictions that plague so many. I feel terrible writing this after reading Angelini’s reasons why she included these topics as part of the story, but as always, I feel the need to be honest with my review.
While the enigmatic Magdalena was a puzzle to me that I felt the need to solve, most of her teen friends were pampered, entitled brats who annoyed the heck out of me. The romance between Magdalena and Bo was sweet, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the main problems I had.
There were some elements here that I enjoyed, namely the mystery of what was really happening and who was responsible, but as intriguing as that was, my distaste for the mainly superficial depiction of the all too real illnesses that millions battle, overrode everything else. There are many positive reviews of What She Found in the Woods, on Goodreads, so if your interest is peaked by the premise, don’t just go by my opinion, as I believe I’m an outlier regarding my feelings. As I said, I’ve enjoyed Angelini’s other books, so I’m looking forward to her next.
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