Review Blog

Nov 14 2011

Dark woods by Steve Voake

cover image

Faber and Faber, 2011. ISBN 978 0 571 26005 8.
(Ages 11+) Horror. Cal a foster boy who knows that this family, like all the others will send him back, refuses to display any emotion to anyone he is with. After all, what is the point, no-one really knows him and he is adept at keeping himself to himself. But on a camping holiday with his latest foster parents, he meets Eden, a girl of similar age camping in the same park, who takes him exploring. What they come across is absolutely fearful, dragging up their most dangerous nightmares, making them real enough to endanger their lives.
They meet a man in the woods who promises to help them return to their camp, but taking a drink from him, find themselves in his remote cabin far deeper in the woods, hearing the most improbable story. His only friend was a dog, Tansy, now dead, and he has built a machine that will bring the dog back, a machine which materialises something that is thought about while asleep. He talks Cal into helping him, but Eden is not so sure. During his experiments on the two, he materialises their scariest nightmares, and it is what he has brought back from their dreams that they must now escape from.
So begins a terrifying night in the forest, escaping the worst nightmares of these two teens, as well as the man who wants his dog brought back and feels that they have betrayed him. it is seriously creepy and will be eagerly read by middle school readers.
Fran Knight

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