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The Woods Are Always Watching

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A companion to There's Someone Inside Your House. Bears aren't the only predators in these woods. Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest A companion to There's Someone Inside Your House. Bears aren't the only predators in these woods. Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.


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A companion to There's Someone Inside Your House. Bears aren't the only predators in these woods. Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest A companion to There's Someone Inside Your House. Bears aren't the only predators in these woods. Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

30 review for The Woods Are Always Watching

  1. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    YES. FUCKING. PLEASE.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I was very excited to read this one because I've read other things by this author and those books have been really wonderful. However, I was very disappointed because this book failed to deliver. The good: Super creepy cover. Interesting characters, especially Neena, whose parents emigrated to the US from India. Two friends who want to go on an adventure together before they go their separate ways for college. The Not-So-Good: Pretty much everything else. 1. Nothing much happens in this book for 10 I was very excited to read this one because I've read other things by this author and those books have been really wonderful. However, I was very disappointed because this book failed to deliver. The good: Super creepy cover. Interesting characters, especially Neena, whose parents emigrated to the US from India. Two friends who want to go on an adventure together before they go their separate ways for college. The Not-So-Good: Pretty much everything else. 1. Nothing much happens in this book for 100 pages. These girls have never ever been hiking before, and they set off to an unknown place and are ill-prepared for the rigor of the hike. Shades of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, but only in the fact that they are doing something they have no business doing. 2. When something does happen, it is so unbelievable that I was rolling my eyes. Josie would have died from shock if this was a real life situation. 3. No motivation or back story is ever given for the villains. They just appear and are psycho. Then the end. 4. The book is way too short and there is just no development of the plot, the characters, or anything. I'm not sure why the GR data says it is 304 pages, it is 216 pages. We briefly get introduced to Neena's background and her motivation for going away to college and her parents' sacrifices for their family. But it is so brief and never explored fully. Josie is a blah character with no background. 5. The entire first 100 pages consists of bickering, whining, arguing, bickering, and more whining. They are both totally unlikable and I can't even figure out why they are friends or doing this hike. 6. There is a requisite semi-HEA and it is not believable at all. So many of the tropes with the villains, the girls, and their situation are cliched and overdone. I just cannot recommend this book, it didn't give me the creepy vibes I was hoping for, it didn't scare me at all. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Yes, Stephanie Perkins! Yasssss! I am so stoked for this! ((scurries off to preorder...)) Yes, Stephanie Perkins! Yasssss! I am so stoked for this! ((scurries off to preorder...))

  4. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    GODDAMN THIS WAS GOOD! Sign me up for everything this woman writes from here on out. Two girls are going hiking. Unfortunately for these best friends, their inexperience and a few nasty secrets the woods are hiding are going to make for a bad time. Straight away, you can feel the tension seeping in. The girls are BFFs but everyone knows misery loves company so their positive attitudes are soon transformed by pain, heat, exhaustion ... you name it. These two girls are not enjoying their first experi GODDAMN THIS WAS GOOD! Sign me up for everything this woman writes from here on out. Two girls are going hiking. Unfortunately for these best friends, their inexperience and a few nasty secrets the woods are hiding are going to make for a bad time. Straight away, you can feel the tension seeping in. The girls are BFFs but everyone knows misery loves company so their positive attitudes are soon transformed by pain, heat, exhaustion ... you name it. These two girls are not enjoying their first experience of hiking. The beauty of this story is in how it takes this ordinary hiking adventure and makes it ominous. You really do get the sense that something is out there but you want to brush it off as irrational. The tension builds slow and steady until everything goes horrifically wrong and the terror latches on and refuses to let go. The relationship between the two girls is quite fun, because you get the best friends whose friendship is tested by hardship. They're having a really tough time so its not long before they start snapping at each other and you begin to wonder if their friendship will survive the trip. It's hard to talk too much about this one without giving things away, but safe to say I was hooked from start to finish. I was sucked into the atmosphere of this one, and it reads like a horror movie so I was easily able to see it all play out in my mind. I'm pretty stingy with my 5-star ratings and the only thing that prevents this one getting it is the re-read-ability factor: so much of my enjoyment of this one was in the tension and not knowing what was going to happen, so I'm not sure it would hold up for a re-read. However it was a LOT of fun, so I'm gonna go ahead and call this one 4.5 stars. Highly recommend for people wanting a short dabble in the horror genre. It's a simple, tense story filled with memorable moments that will leave you shuddering. With thanks to Macmillan for a copy

  5. 4 out of 5

    ♡ Dakota ♡ (Sarcasm is my middle name)

    Her other YA Horror ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ was a nice start to these slasher novels that she seems to want to continue. Unfortunately that one was plagued by too much romance, revealing the killer way too early, and a reveal that was lacking. But I saw something there and I hope she finally delivers the 5 stars slasher novel I know she can pull off.

  6. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    Neena Chandrasekhar and Josie Gordon wanted to accomplish something big before each of them left for college. So they concocted a plan to hike and camp in the Appalachian mountains. With Josie’s brother, Win, training and coaching them for roughing it in the wilderness, it was sure to be an epic adventure. And epic it was when everything that could go wrong did. And when things started going “bump” in the night, it would be an unforgettable three nights roughing it in the boonies. The Woods Are Al Neena Chandrasekhar and Josie Gordon wanted to accomplish something big before each of them left for college. So they concocted a plan to hike and camp in the Appalachian mountains. With Josie’s brother, Win, training and coaching them for roughing it in the wilderness, it was sure to be an epic adventure. And epic it was when everything that could go wrong did. And when things started going “bump” in the night, it would be an unforgettable three nights roughing it in the boonies. The Woods Are Always Watching is a very slow read as the pace doesn’t make an uptick until the reader is at least forty percent invested into the story. Way too long for this reader’s taste. The characters are shallow and not much can be said about them, except that the main characters just seemed so self centered until their own lives are at stake. The storyline is easy to follow and it is written in Josie’s and Neena’s point of view. The plot is simple — the girls go hiking and camping and encounter dangerous obstacles in their adventure. But as far as believability, it was just a little too beyond believable. And the story was left open ended, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions — not an ending that this particular reader appreciated. Overall, a decent read and probably young adult readers will appreciate the given suspense and thrills better than me. An okay 1.5 star rounded up read for me. I received an early finished hard copy of the book from Dutton Books through the Bookish First Raffle. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Stephanie Perkins’ first foray into horror novels, “There's Someone Inside Your House”, has been turned into a Netflix series and her second, “The Woods Are Always Watching” could definitely follow suit! Neena and Josie are best friends who bonded over their outsider status in high school, both abandoned by their old friend groups. Now, the two are facing a future without each other, as Neena travels to the West Coast for school. Desperate for a last-minute bonding trip together, Neena and Josi Stephanie Perkins’ first foray into horror novels, “There's Someone Inside Your House”, has been turned into a Netflix series and her second, “The Woods Are Always Watching” could definitely follow suit! Neena and Josie are best friends who bonded over their outsider status in high school, both abandoned by their old friend groups. Now, the two are facing a future without each other, as Neena travels to the West Coast for school. Desperate for a last-minute bonding trip together, Neena and Josie decide to go camping through the trails of the Pisgah National Forest. However, the trip was not as exciting as they anticipated, and the terrain is far rougher and steeper than they expected. But then Neena hears a sound in the forest and they get more excitement than they bargained for as Jodie and Neena fight to escape the woods alive. “The Woods are Always Watching” starts off similar to Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”, where the young, inexperienced girls hike an unknown trail together with some brand new camping supplies and only each other for company. But it all goes pear-shaped, very fast, and the teens are soon fighting for survival. Both Neena and Josie are the kind of quirky, eccentric teenage protagonists that become instantly relatable. The two are desperate to save their relationship, faced with their impending separation. Of course, the friendship is also extremely honest and real, as the two teens quickly start to bicker and feud when left to their own devices in the woods. Right from page one, I cheered for both Neena and Josie, and wanted them to succeed, not only in saving their lives but also in salvaging their friendship. The novel is not written in chapters, but instead in large sections, with the titles “Together” and “Apart”, to signify when the girls are traveling separately and, well, together. The largest section, “Together”, at the beginning, is nearly half of the book, and it details Neena and Josie’s initial trek into the forest. The sections are clearly labeled, and the narration alternates between Neena and Josie (also clearly labeled), so it is easy to follow. Even those non-campers (like me) will get into this novel right away. The descriptive settings set an eerie tone, and I waited on pins and needles, knowing that something bad was coming. The anticipation was well worth it, when Willie and Lyman become known to the girls and a whole new battle wages. The ending hits with a punch, and I was left completely exhausted (in a good way) yet satisfied. Well-told, with strong characters and a chilling setting, “The Woods are Always Watching” will have you looking over your shoulder and listening for those things that go “bump” in the night. Definitely a good campfire story- although I strongly recommend not reading this novel on a camping trip!

  8. 4 out of 5

    AziaMinor

    Overall Rating : B+ "The woods were secretive. Trees older than death and saplings younger than spring watcher over the creatures that slunk and scurried between them. The trees concealed. Shadowed. Obscured...They knew everything that happened here, yet they did not takes sides." Best friends Josie and Neena decide to go on a three day camping trip in the woods before they are forced to split apart for college. The next three days, however, is a test of wills, bravery, and the strength of their f Overall Rating : B+ "The woods were secretive. Trees older than death and saplings younger than spring watcher over the creatures that slunk and scurried between them. The trees concealed. Shadowed. Obscured...They knew everything that happened here, yet they did not takes sides." Best friends Josie and Neena decide to go on a three day camping trip in the woods before they are forced to split apart for college. The next three days, however, is a test of wills, bravery, and the strength of their friendship in ways they never thought they would have to face. I gotta say, the first hundred pages were a snooze-fest. Nothing happening at all except two friends with high insecurities wanting to do something they never have before and then the obvious fight that occurs between them. But after that? Oh boy, did it pick the hell up. I thought I knew what was going to happen, but I really had no idea the level of shit that would go down. And if you don't like blood and gore, DO NOT pick up this book. The author really doesn't leave things to your imagination. And really, the most unbelievable thing in this book are city girls wanting to camp out in the wild with no internet, phones, or communication with the outside world when they haven't done it once in their lives. Talk about imagination here! XD The ending was pretty solid and pretty ambiguous, leaving you to decide what happens next, which was surprisingly nice to read. An overall solid book with a decent plot that won't disappoint!

  9. 5 out of 5

    farith

    so after "there's someone inside your house" -being one of my biggest disappointments of the year- i really don't know what to think about stephanie perkins's attempts to write "horror" but i'm giving this girl the benefit of the doubt here... again, the only thing i can say is, [and i can't stress this enough] please, don't let me down. so after "there's someone inside your house" -being one of my biggest disappointments of the year- i really don't know what to think about stephanie perkins's attempts to write "horror" but i'm giving this girl the benefit of the doubt here... again, the only thing i can say is, [and i can't stress this enough] please, don't let me down.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    Hey to all my friends who love Mindy McGinnis books as much as I do, this book has all the survival, woodsy, gore of a Mindy novel. You'd like this one! tw: gore, threatened rape Hey to all my friends who love Mindy McGinnis books as much as I do, this book has all the survival, woodsy, gore of a Mindy novel. You'd like this one! tw: gore, threatened rape

  11. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: broken bones, detailed on page injury, mentioned fatal car accident, flashing, lost limb, threat of necrophilia, threat of rape, mentioned abusive mother, mentioned rape of a minor 2.3 When two best friends decide to try hiking, it's supposed to be a bonding experience before college forced them apart. But things go down hill fast, and the two find themselves separated and hunted. Stuck with no way to communicate with the world or each other, can they get ou I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: broken bones, detailed on page injury, mentioned fatal car accident, flashing, lost limb, threat of necrophilia, threat of rape, mentioned abusive mother, mentioned rape of a minor 2.3 When two best friends decide to try hiking, it's supposed to be a bonding experience before college forced them apart. But things go down hill fast, and the two find themselves separated and hunted. Stuck with no way to communicate with the world or each other, can they get out of this alive? I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it wasn't at all what I got. The best thing about this book is that it has a lot of tension, and it's used well. The pacing is a bit slow, but Perkins knows how to keep you in dread. There are a lot of terrible implications about what's going to happen to these girls, and it definitely gets worse before it gets better. The whole set up of having these characters away from each other, with no way to warn the other, is a good one. And when it comes to twistiness, I'd say that works as well. Things are not cut and dry, and that helps even more with the tension. So in those way this book does succeed. I think there are some readers who will like it for that alone. However- I disliked almost every minute of reading this book. It begins with the most needless drama I have ever seen, that does exactly zero for the plot. There is no reason to tell us these characters are best friends and then immediately pit them against each other. It doesn't even effect the plot, besides letting them think "she was right!" or "I'll prove her wrong!" once or twice. And that drama is the only plot for just about half the book. The thriller doesn't set until the second half- you just have bickering teens who are mad at each other for no good reason. It felt like this was meant to be a novella and Perkins was asked to make it longer so she made a lot of filler. And the way that information is shared is just so... for lack of a better word, it's tacky. Information about these characters and their hang ups are bluntly delivered by the other character laying it with just barely enough context for it to have come up in the first place. And information about the antagonist, later, is delivered through some omnipotent near-supernatural look into the past that was strange and confusing. Mostly, this book is completely ridiculous. It doesn't worry about making sense, or having realistic characters, not going way overboard with tropes or caricatures. So much of this is over the top and 2-dimmensional, and it was hard to take seriously right from the beginning. I'm sure other people will like this book just for the thriller atmosphere, but it was completely not for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alecia

    This book sucked. There is no other way to put it. Its suppose to be about 2 best friends, they just hurtled each other with insults the entire time. The first 130 pages is all about hiking and camping. I was like come on, get to it!! Then it finally did and how unrealistic!? I didn't believe a single thing that happened. And the moral of the story was that every man was out to get women? What? Not only is that stupid its pretentious. 0 stars. This book sucked. There is no other way to put it. Its suppose to be about 2 best friends, they just hurtled each other with insults the entire time. The first 130 pages is all about hiking and camping. I was like come on, get to it!! Then it finally did and how unrealistic!? I didn't believe a single thing that happened. And the moral of the story was that every man was out to get women? What? Not only is that stupid its pretentious. 0 stars.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri

    I confess to severe camping phobia. This consists of an ugly interweaving of arkoudophobia [fear of bears] and foniosophobia [fear of serial killers]. Until the Yosemite Killer in 1999, it was just the first; then the fear of brutal killers stalking campsites leaped in. I am overanxious even about family members camping, and as for me: Never and no way, no how. Give me a building and locked windows and doors! I determined to read THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING after reading author Stephanie Perkin I confess to severe camping phobia. This consists of an ugly interweaving of arkoudophobia [fear of bears] and foniosophobia [fear of serial killers]. Until the Yosemite Killer in 1999, it was just the first; then the fear of brutal killers stalking campsites leaped in. I am overanxious even about family members camping, and as for me: Never and no way, no how. Give me a building and locked windows and doors! I determined to read THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING after reading author Stephanie Perkins' excellent (and scary) THERE'S SOMEONE IN YOUR HOUSE. I somehow failed to realize THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING would jump on my every acknowledged and unacknowledged camping fear. Nor did I think about the additional anxieties of reading late at night, all alone. I may never sleep again. On the positive: Stephanie Perkins has a gifted turn of phrase and a special talent for imagery evoking all the senses, so that her novels become literary and transcendent. She also delivers the Horror. Readers who enjoyed THE TROOP will find much to admire here. Meanwhile, sleepless nights provide so many more hours to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A predictable young adult thriller about two girls lost in the woods fighting a serial killer. Sounds good in theory but the author doesn't carry it off. Not scary. Not really a thriller either. Pretty Little Liars vs. generic serial killer. Riley Sager's Final Girls is a better read. A predictable young adult thriller about two girls lost in the woods fighting a serial killer. Sounds good in theory but the author doesn't carry it off. Not scary. Not really a thriller either. Pretty Little Liars vs. generic serial killer. Riley Sager's Final Girls is a better read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    oohlalabooks

    This is a quick horrorish read that I would love to see on film! Best friends Neena and Josie will be off to college soon so they decide to spend a weekend hiking in the Pisaugh National Forest. They are causal hikers sticking to a trail map, but things take a turn and they’ll have to rely on their instincts and friendship to survive! Thank you to Penguin Teen for a gifted copy. This is my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Looks fun! I always need myself a slasher here and there.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kari

    My Review Of THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING By Author, Stephenie Perkins Gifted & Published by {Partner} DuttonBooks for Young Readers On Sale: 8/31/21 - Purchase Link in my Bio ***** I have officially been scared poopless. Please excuse my language. I tried to tone it down. If you plan on going on a camping trip and bringing this book; might I suggest you just wait until you return from your excursion. I absolutely loved reading every second of this book. What starts out as a 3 day trip for two best My Review Of THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING By Author, Stephenie Perkins Gifted & Published by {Partner} DuttonBooks for Young Readers On Sale: 8/31/21 - Purchase Link in my Bio ***** I have officially been scared poopless. Please excuse my language. I tried to tone it down. If you plan on going on a camping trip and bringing this book; might I suggest you just wait until you return from your excursion. I absolutely loved reading every second of this book. What starts out as a 3 day trip for two best friends, going on a getaway before leaving to two different colleges, it quickly turns into a trip where they cannot even stand each other. They question their friendship and grow so irritated with the other, that it seems they are both at the point that one nudge could push them over the edge. That was a great narrative in itself. The Author explores the theme of friendship and how well you know someone, yet the Author goes beyond by testing this friendship by surprising you when the writing turns super scary, creepy and spine-tingling. The book does a 360 spin and stuns you when it reads and moves like a murder thriller with a side of serial killer. I’m not exaggerating when I say this Author delivers a getaway gone wrong with a guarantee that you will be chilled to the bone.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Phil Dowell (philsbookcorner)

    I've been eagerly anticipating Stephanie Perkins' newest book after finishing her first YA thriller "There's Someone Inside Your House", & this didn't disappoint one bit! This was a ton of fun, a great YA take on survival horror that's perfect for spooky season! I enjoyed how contained the story was - you've got one setting set over the course of mostly two nights, & what a setting it was! Personally, I'm terrified of the woods & camping, so this really played into my fears about ever setting fo I've been eagerly anticipating Stephanie Perkins' newest book after finishing her first YA thriller "There's Someone Inside Your House", & this didn't disappoint one bit! This was a ton of fun, a great YA take on survival horror that's perfect for spooky season! I enjoyed how contained the story was - you've got one setting set over the course of mostly two nights, & what a setting it was! Personally, I'm terrified of the woods & camping, so this really played into my fears about ever setting foot into the woods for backpacking, you just never truly know what may be lurking in the trees. There was quite a bit of buildup before the action really got going, but I loved the tension Perkins crafted between Neena & Josie - & once the shenanigans really started, it just took off! I definitely didn't see the situation turning out the way it did, either, so props for catching me off guard! If anything, I wish we would've gotten just a little bit more out of the ending, but that's just me being nitpicky. All in all, I really enjoyed this, a perfect fast-paced read to gear up for Fall & Halloween. I've really enjoyed both of Perkins' YA thrillers & I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

  19. 5 out of 5

    emma.bookss

    *3.5 stars thank you penguin teen for the arc of this book in exchange for my review! this book was a pretty solid ya thriller! now keep in mind, thrillers aren’t my favorite genre of book, but i still enjoyed this! it kept me on the edge of my seat. however, a few things just felt too cliche. some of the drama was a little too typical for me, and it was sorta predictable. but nevertheless, this book was an enjoyable time and i recommend to all thriller fans! tw: death, guns, assault

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this and I somewhat did, but it was just really really cringey at times and the ending made me really mad. What is this about? Short version: two best friends are about to go to college thousands of miles apart, so they do a last minute hike/camp weekend. All by themselves hiking a huge mountain, and they've never been hiking or camping before. Things start to go wrong and there is someo Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Teen for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this and I somewhat did, but it was just really really cringey at times and the ending made me really mad. What is this about? Short version: two best friends are about to go to college thousands of miles apart, so they do a last minute hike/camp weekend. All by themselves hiking a huge mountain, and they've never been hiking or camping before. Things start to go wrong and there is someone watching them in the woods. Now the premise of this is amazing and I was expecting a creepy thriller. The first half of this book is two teenage girls bickering about pointless things. Not to mention why? So the first chapter they're best friends but after that they can't stand each other. The things they argued about were just so foolish to me especially being in the woods. Once I got past the first half I really did end up on the edge of my seat and the graphic scenes about injuries had my stomach super queasy. I am a huge fan of camp thrillers/hiking thrillers and this one once again let me know why I don't go camping. Ever. The last half of this was so fast paced with SO much going on I read 150 pages and didn't even realize the book had ended! I had to go back and reread because I couldn't believe it was just done. While I think the thrilling aspect was phenomenal and truly has me petrified to go camping or hiking, the ending just didn't do it. I needed a real resolution and I need even a short epilogue. I don't want to give anything away, but it just so abruptly ended that I got a bad taste in my mouth. This is one of those thrillers that you definitely need a closed ending and things wrapped up. While this isn't my favorite YA thriller, it did have sections that were 5 stars for me. As a whole it had a lot of unwanted sections and some that needed to be really expanded.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I always going to read Stephanie’s books, but I’m especially loving her spooky stories. I really liked Neena and Josie. They have a good relationship and I loved the loyalty. There are a couple of other characters, but this story is all about these two. Plot wise, it was slow and steady, until it wasn’t. The woods make for a scary af setting and Stephanie utilizes it perfectly. I loved the build up and the tension and the everything. Overall, it was a quick and creepy and although I would have li I always going to read Stephanie’s books, but I’m especially loving her spooky stories. I really liked Neena and Josie. They have a good relationship and I loved the loyalty. There are a couple of other characters, but this story is all about these two. Plot wise, it was slow and steady, until it wasn’t. The woods make for a scary af setting and Stephanie utilizes it perfectly. I loved the build up and the tension and the everything. Overall, it was a quick and creepy and although I would have liked just a little more at the end or an epilogue, it was fantastic. FYI: threat of rape and torture **Huge thanks to the publisher for providing the arc free of charge**

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Woods Are Always Watching is a nightmare-inducing mix of the thriller and horror genres in which two best friends attempt to navigate their changing relationship as they prepare to go off to college thousands of miles apart, and as a last hoorah, they recklessly decide to head off on a three-day-long hike in the deep wilderness. Two recent high school graduates and best friends from Ashville, North Carolina, Neena Chandrasekhar and Josie Gordon, begin their backpacking excursion in the dense The Woods Are Always Watching is a nightmare-inducing mix of the thriller and horror genres in which two best friends attempt to navigate their changing relationship as they prepare to go off to college thousands of miles apart, and as a last hoorah, they recklessly decide to head off on a three-day-long hike in the deep wilderness. Two recent high school graduates and best friends from Ashville, North Carolina, Neena Chandrasekhar and Josie Gordon, begin their backpacking excursion in the dense Pisgah National Forest. The story begins with lighthearted banter, but sadness soon tinges the experience as the girls, both outsiders at school, realise that the future is coming closer and when it arrives, their comfortable relationship is probably going to end. Timid Neena is going to college on the West Coast and resentful and envious Josie is facing a go-nowhere future. In the forest, they quickly find that despite the tips from relatives and borrowed equipment that they are in way above their heads on their first-ever backpacking trip. So when their nightmare gets worse and Josie falls into a sinkhole it results in a terrible injury that leaves her trapped, bleeding and unable to move. Neena realises she must return to a more populated area to find help, but it suddenly dawns on her that she forgot to bring her inhaler with her. Both girls are now in quite the predicament leaving them vulnerable to those likely to take advantage of youngsters in distress. At the same time, the girls realise that someone else is in the forest and is stalking them - two white serial killers are on the prowl. Can they make it out alive? This is a terrifying and nail-biting tale where everything that could go wrong literally does and couple this with the wilderness they are in, far away from normal society, and you have a recipe for disaster. There is no gratuitous sexuality or violence, but this is a truly psychologically unnerving story; in fact, it was so insidious I found the story haunted my dreams for a few nights showing the impact it must have had on my psyche. It's a deeply immersive tale with lush descriptions of mother nature and how cruel she can be, and the whole ordeal did a superb job of highlighting the beauty and serenity of the Blue Ridge Mountains - a cast member in their own right alongside our two protagonists. Just when you think it cannot get any more urgent or catastrophic it does, and Perkins continues to outdo herself. I appreciate that the teenage main characters actually acted age-appropriate and were naive which is really what leads to their dire situation. This is the type of horror I enjoy whether in book or television format - unsettling, subtly disturbing and that works its way under your skin. Overall, a sinister and rapid-fire paced read fraught with tension and emotion. Highly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kaya

    If you consume true crime cases with a morbid fascination like yours truly, then I’m sure you’re aware of several things. One of those things is simply this: women live in a more dangerous world than men. This was a book that played upon that fact with chilling clarity, taking direct inspiration from the horror/thriller films many of us know and love. Josie and Neena are best friends, who decided on a three-day hiking/camping trip as a sort of “last hurrah” before Neena moves across the country f If you consume true crime cases with a morbid fascination like yours truly, then I’m sure you’re aware of several things. One of those things is simply this: women live in a more dangerous world than men. This was a book that played upon that fact with chilling clarity, taking direct inspiration from the horror/thriller films many of us know and love. Josie and Neena are best friends, who decided on a three-day hiking/camping trip as a sort of “last hurrah” before Neena moves across the country for college. Immediately they start complaining because neither of them has ever been camping before! I also have never been camping before but if you think that I’m going on a camping trip with one other person for three days on a relatively secluded path, you are sorely mistaken. Let’s go bungee jumping instead. Anyways, the stress of insects and hiking and all that fun stuff eventually leads to high tensions between the two girls. It was also a bit weird how they would have random flashbacks to give you information on the other girl. On the other hand, I did really love how Neena’s experience as the daughter of immigrants from Indian didn’t feel forced at all! I was actually slightly scared to read this because it has low ratings on Goodreads, but this ended up being pretty fun. I will say that going in with lower expectations made me feel better about the novel as a whole because the first half of the book is medium-paced. There are strange pop culture references, a bunch of bickering, and more telling than showing. However, Perkins does a fantastic job of building the tension in the background, so by the time things really start rolling you’re already submerged in the oppressive atmosphere of the dark, twisty woods. It’s surprisingly brilliant how effortless she makes bringing the scenes to life look. Between that and the relatively entertaining drama, I was content to just anticipate the big turn for the worse. all that being said, once this started going, it went QUICK. Excuse my lack of eloquent writing but HOLY CRAP. I finished this book in a single day* and it was an absolute whirlwind in the second half. Sudden brutality, thrilling chases, and terrifying situations are definitely on par with several horror films. Men are scary. Two girls alone in the woods with men? GOODBYE. Perkins doesn’t disguise the emotional stress that women really do go through doing simple things because bad things do happen for seemingly no reason. *that’s good for me now. back in the day, I could read like 5 books a week and not bat an eye. ahh, those were the young, carefree days of 8. Also, the way certain characters had their backstory revealed? Uh…no thanks. I understand that there’s a limited amount of ways to reveal these sorts of things without falling into cliches but it did pull me out of the immersion of the story. While the thriller parts' actual execution was well-written, I have to admit that the ending did not impress me. This is a book that I think would benefit from an epilogue, especially considering how it ties you so close to the characters, their friendship, and their future. Overall, this was actually a really intense, thrilling ride. Yes, a lot of it was unrealistic, overdramatic, and unnecessary. But the tension and atmosphere kept me going until the very end. I’d give this 3.5/5 stars. pre-review: what am i most scared of, you might ask? there are two answers: men, and camping. this book reaffirmed the former fear, and created the latter. full rtc.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    A quick and chilling read -- this creeped me out a lot! I'm a city person who feels comfortable with horns and sirens and finds crackling branches and howling wind completely terrifying. I've also been watching old seasons of Survivor. So I watched these two completely unprepared and bickering friends head out on a backpacking trip with a HUGE amount of trepidation. What I liked: the atmosphere of the woods was described in an incredibly detailed way. I could feel myself there, thirsty and sweaty A quick and chilling read -- this creeped me out a lot! I'm a city person who feels comfortable with horns and sirens and finds crackling branches and howling wind completely terrifying. I've also been watching old seasons of Survivor. So I watched these two completely unprepared and bickering friends head out on a backpacking trip with a HUGE amount of trepidation. What I liked: the atmosphere of the woods was described in an incredibly detailed way. I could feel myself there, thirsty and sweaty and with blisters. And Stephanie Perkins did not wimp out on the gore I am TRAUMATIZED. A little. Maybe a lot. I will certainly never backpack after this. What I liked less: this was really a two-character book, which was interesting but gave the book a sparse feel. The ending was a little rushed. But overall, if you are looking for a quick and creepy summer read, this would be a book I'd recommend! Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bruna Oliveira

    Thanks Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest rewiew. Actual rating: 2.5 Josie and Neena decide to backpack in the woods and things go wrong. Let's just say that. (In my opinion, the official synopsis gives way too much about the story, which I don't understand since it's such a short book). The biggest problem for was: I didn't care about the characters at all, which would be okay if it were a different book, but since this one was about the two girls survivin Thanks Edelweiss and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest rewiew. Actual rating: 2.5 Josie and Neena decide to backpack in the woods and things go wrong. Let's just say that. (In my opinion, the official synopsis gives way too much about the story, which I don't understand since it's such a short book). The biggest problem for was: I didn't care about the characters at all, which would be okay if it were a different book, but since this one was about the two girls surviving and I couldn't even care if they made out of it alive or not, well... The author did give Josie and Neena a good background. She tried to give them some depth with their family and decisions about the future dilemmas, but honestly, it all felt a bit flat for me. The two also have some issues to solve between them and it annoyed me the way they dealt with them, but again, they're teenagers so I guess it was expected. I also thought they were pretty stupid and didn't prepare themselves well enough to backpack since they had never done it before. Of course the book uses a lot of typical tropes in this genre and stupid main characters is one of them, but it still annoyed me. If the characters were a bit more charismatic, I could even care for them regardless of their stupidity. The suspense was okay and the writing made me antecipate what would happen next and there's even a nice twist towards the end (there are some minor ones too but I didn't think they were that good), but overall, it was a pretty average book for me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mae (readingwithmae)

    Thank you to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book! All opinions are my own. 1/5 CW: On page injury, gunshot wounds, gore, loss of a limb, kidnapping, mention of rape, mention of necrophilia, mention of child abuse and neglect, pedophilia To celebrate the end of high school, Josie and Neena decide to embark on a backpacking trip in the Pisgah National Forest. However, when the girls begin to fight, they become distracted and find themselves in increasingly dangerous situati Thank you to Penguin Teen and NetGalley for sending me an eARC of this book! All opinions are my own. 1/5 CW: On page injury, gunshot wounds, gore, loss of a limb, kidnapping, mention of rape, mention of necrophilia, mention of child abuse and neglect, pedophilia To celebrate the end of high school, Josie and Neena decide to embark on a backpacking trip in the Pisgah National Forest. However, when the girls begin to fight, they become distracted and find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations. I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It was entertaining enough for me to finish and was overall a quick read, but I found myself bored a lot of the time. The premise is great and I typically love horror/thrillers in wooded settings, however, this one just didn't do it for me. For starters, we didn't actually get any action until about 50% in. Even then, it was slow and anticlimactic. I was a bit bored for the majority of the book and things only really picked up in the last 15% when the situation was beginning to resolve itself. It seems like Perkins was trying to build a lot of tension in this first half, but I didn't really feel any of it. I was never scared while reading, nor did I ever feel like we were building up to a big event or twist. A lot of the tension that the author attempts to build comes from Neena and Josie fighting for literally no reason. It seems like neither of them actually wanted to go hiking and the hike put them in a bad mood overall, leading them to start bickering. This didn't really add anything to the plot though. All I felt was annoyance at how fickle and fragile this friendship was (when apparently they had been best friends for years?). Overall, the book was pretty uneventful until that 50-75% mark. Also, why on earth did these two girls who have seemingly never even gone hiking in a small park decide it was a good idea to go backpacking in a national forest? I mean, they didn't even know how to make s'mores. How did they get to the point of figuring out to make a fire for the s'mores, but not know how to make s'mores? This just annoyed me during the book, idk LOL. At one point they heard thunder and this was the conversation: "What do we do?" "I don't know" Well you better find out! I understand that they were both 18 and their parents theoretically couldn't keep them from going...but come on. When I was 18, my parents wouldn't have let me go backpacking without an experienced camper/hiker with me. Especially not in a national forest where there have been MULTIPLE unsolved murders? Just because your big brother is an avid hiker and has equipment does not mean that he can give you some instructions (that you FORGOT) and you're good to go on a 3 day hike in heavily wooded trails in a national forest. A lot of the book just simply wasn't believable. While this is a work of fiction, it seems like it is trying to read like realistic horror or true crime. It just doesn't work out like that. There are a couple of things that really bothered me about this: 1. The delivery of our antagonist's backstory and the backstory themselves...if that's even what it was? I'm not sure if it was just an inner monologue from Neena and Josie making assumptions about their life, or if was actually a description of their childhood. There are points where our main characters are fighting with the antagonist and we go into these very odd descriptors of experiences that led to them becoming a killer. Those descriptions kind of implied that kids who are abused or experience trauma will wind up becoming criminals, which oversimplifies violent criminals and the path that leads somebody to commit a violent crime. These backstory was maybe a page long (reading on my kindle, so I can't be sure) and felt very out of place, so I would have preferred there to just be none at all. 2. We also have a few lines where they throw out the idea that the antagonist is homeless because they are smelly/crazy/a criminal? Homelessness ≠ bad hygiene. Homelessness ≠ being a criminal. 3. We have a lot of very sensitive topics being thrown around (rape, necrophilia, pedophilia) and I don't think they're dealt with very well. It feels like all of these topics are being thrown in for a shock factor and there is no effort made to have a broader discussion about them. I feel like the author could have developed a much more fleshed out backstory for the antagonist. The feeding into stereotypes could have been easily avoided. The book wasn't that long, so there was definitely room/time to flesh out the antagonist more. Overall, I don't think I would recommend this to others.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    Oh my goodness! What did I just read! I thought this was going to be a scary book but it leaned more towards the gruesome side! It’s definitely an evil YA novel that left me gasping for air. Neena and Josie are best friends and will go their separate ways after graduation. So they decide to have one last fling—a 3 day hike in the woods of Pisgah National Forest. Despite warnings of bears these two novice backpackers think of this trip as an adventure. These silly girls can barely carry a huge ba Oh my goodness! What did I just read! I thought this was going to be a scary book but it leaned more towards the gruesome side! It’s definitely an evil YA novel that left me gasping for air. Neena and Josie are best friends and will go their separate ways after graduation. So they decide to have one last fling—a 3 day hike in the woods of Pisgah National Forest. Despite warnings of bears these two novice backpackers think of this trip as an adventure. These silly girls can barely carry a huge backpack, haven’t broken in their hiking shoes, know nothing about the outdoors and survival and to top it off they begin to bicker. So of course they then veer off the preferred path which, you guessed it, leads to danger. As their adventure turns into a nightmare the story turns ugly and gruesome. I didn’t expect that and was shocked. If you are a lover of YA this book might be for you. Well written and very descriptive.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    Josie and Neena have been best friends for all of high school, but with graduation looming, and Neena planning to move across the country for college, they want to do something special to celebrate and cement their friendship. Neither of them have ever been into camping, but a hiking/camping trip in the nearby woods sounds like the perfect thing. They'll enjoy nature, build tents together, and eat smores. Unfortunately, the trip gets off to a rocky start, with the tension in their friendship com Josie and Neena have been best friends for all of high school, but with graduation looming, and Neena planning to move across the country for college, they want to do something special to celebrate and cement their friendship. Neither of them have ever been into camping, but a hiking/camping trip in the nearby woods sounds like the perfect thing. They'll enjoy nature, build tents together, and eat smores. Unfortunately, the trip gets off to a rocky start, with the tension in their friendship coming to a breaking point, but neither one wants to be the one to suggest going home. They should have gone home. Because the woods are full of predators, and Josie and Neena have just become something's prey. I was surprised by how suspenseful this book was. I read the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't bear the thought of putting it down and leaving Josie and Neena hanging. Stephanie Perkins definitely kept the tension high, and the suspense thrilling. However the book also took time to focus on the internal tension as well, as Josie and Neena navigate their changing friendship, and their own insecurities. The internal and external played so well together, and I was truly invested in and rooting for both girls the whole time. There is some definite disturbing content in here, so I'd look into content warnings before going in. The ones that were noticeable for me would be implications/references to sexual assault, as well as graphic violence and injury. Overall this was a gripping, intense, and satisfying read. *Thank you Penguin Teen for the Netgalley ARC!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me with a copy of The Woods Are Always Watching in exchange for an honest review! Content Warnings: Rape Mentions Full disclaimer before we start, I did not like There's Someone Inside Your House -- fingers crossed that it'll make a better film than book. I had higher hopes with The Woods Are Always Watching, because it was Stephanie Perkins' second journey into the horror genre and being hunted in the woods would be absolutely terrifying. Unfortunately, thi Thank you to Penguin Teen for providing me with a copy of The Woods Are Always Watching in exchange for an honest review! Content Warnings: Rape Mentions Full disclaimer before we start, I did not like There's Someone Inside Your House -- fingers crossed that it'll make a better film than book. I had higher hopes with The Woods Are Always Watching, because it was Stephanie Perkins' second journey into the horror genre and being hunted in the woods would be absolutely terrifying. Unfortunately, this book did not hit at all. With all that being said, if you liked There's Someone Inside Your House then maybe you'll also enjoy this one. It's safe to say that I had some issues with The Woods Are Always Watching. To begin with, tensions are high and they have every right to be high; Neena is going to be moving thousands of miles away for college, which really sucks, and they're out in the wilderness doing wilderness-y things. If I strapped on their hiking boots, I'd also be annoyed. But did we need 75% of this book to be them arguing? I am here for three cups of horror & only a dash of teen drama. When things start to get frightening, it's very underwhelming -- probably because it's only the last quarter of the book. All of that build-up (of truly nothing) & that's what we get? I give so much, and friends, yet I do not receive. Throughout the book, there are sprinkles of fake scares which in books don't translate as well as in movies (& that's with it being, at times, annoying in movies as well). Maybe it could be done, right? But when you're wafting through 75% with nothing really happening & thinking you're finally getting an ounce of something, it ends up just letting you down. Without getting too into it, because of possible spoilers, there are a couple of scenes that don't make too much sense to me. Maybe, I'm just confused & it went over my head -- but, at random, our two main characters just know the villains' backstories. Seems like a pretty cheap way of telling the readers' the hows & whys, but okay. This review is very negative, so I'm going to end this on a high note: The Woods Are Always Watching did go by fast & the gore-ish descriptions were pretty on point. For More Bookish Content: Blog | Twitter | Bookstagram | BookTok

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    STEPHANIE PERKINS NATION LET'S GOOOOOOOO STEPHANIE PERKINS NATION LET'S GOOOOOOOO

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