Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Drowned Forest Paperback – February 8, 2014
From timeless classics to new favorites, find children's books for every age and stage. See more
From School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Fifteen-year-old Jane struggles every day to reconcile the sudden death of her best friend Holly, who drowned in the river. At a baptism one day, Jane and Tyler, Holly's boyfriend, witness something extraordinary: an enormous catfish surfaces from the river depths and coughs up Holly's ring, which she was wearing on the day she died. One word is scratched on the ring's silver surface: HELP. Jane is convinced that Holly's soul is trapped in the river and that they must help set her free. While everyone else thinks they are going crazy, the two teens set out to help release their friend and set things right. Set in a small southern town, The Drowned Forest is a unique story with a creepy, dark feel, reminiscent of Lisa McMann's Cryer's Cross (Simon Pulse, 2011) and A. J. Whitten's The Well (Houghton Harcourt, 2009). Unfortunately, it is slow paced, providing little action to move the plot along. The abundance of biblical verse is appropriate for Jane's character, but it bogs down the story and may alienate some readers. The narrative style is unusual, with Jane telling the story as though she is speaking to her deceased friend Holly. While unique, it is sometimes awkward and difficult to follow. The creepy small-town set up is well-done, but the lack of action, abundant scripture, and cumbersome narration will limit its appeal.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
"Deliciously chilling...A solid creepfest."--KIRKUS REVIEWS
"Deliciously chilling ... A solid creepfest from an author with potential." --Kirkus Reviews
"A unique story with a creepy, dark feel, reminiscent of Lisa McMann's Cryer's Cross." --School Library Journal
-Deliciously chilling ... A solid creepfest from an author with potential.- --Kirkus Reviews
-A unique story with a creepy, dark feel, reminiscent of Lisa McMann's Cryer's Cross.- --School Library Journal
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top customer reviews
The author interweaves history, folktales, and legends with gospel music and biblical references, beautifully capturing the complexity and soul of the South. The characters are relatable and very real, especially the protagonist, Jane, struggling to hold on to her faith after the loss of her friend.
I highly recommend this book to both teens and adults.
Quick & Dirty: The worst ‘scary’ story ever.
Opening Sentence: But it’s a beautiful day, Holly.
Possibly the worst book I’ve read all year. Usually, by the time I’ve read about a third of any book I know how well I’ll like the rest of the story. With The Drowned Forest, it started off incredibly boring with a whiny main character and unfortunately that impression remained until the last page!
Steve is wearing the same clothes he had on yesterday morning. Sipping an energy drink, he says, “So…what? You crashing here?”
I nod. “Holly’s a ghost. Her soul’s trapped in the river, and I have to stay here until we can free her.”
“Wow, that sucks. It won’t keep you up if I play Xbox will it?”
Jane is the most irritating protagonist ever. I tried to cut her some slack because her friend died but seriously, her constant preaching drove me insane. Don’t get me wrong, a little faith or encouragement to connect with an alternate being here and there can bring more life to a book, but this was different. Jane preaches in every single conversation, telling her friends off about not coming to church, and overall being far too judgmental. To make matters worse, throughout the story, Jane has a one-way conversation with her dead friend, Holly. It was sad at first, but when every thought of hers surrounded Holly, it became a leeeeetle obsessive. It was no surprise that her parents thought she was losing it.
“Christian music isn’t really a style of music like rock or the blues. It’s really more of a song theme, like love songs.”
“So listening to it all the time and nothing else, it’s like listening to love songs all the time and nothing else.”
“So? Would that be so horrible?”
“Yes. Because nobody’s in love all the time.”
“So? Maybe we would be in love all the time if we listened to love songs all the time.”
Tyler was a definitely more likeable than Holly, at least he had some semblance to reality! I might have actually enjoyed the story if it was told from his perspective.
The author tried to make this a scary story but it just came across as unrealistic. I couldn’t imagine the scenes where Holly comes out of the lake without being skeptical; the writing just didn’t draw me in. Maybe if there was less preaching and a different protagonist this might have been a halfway decent read.
But then you died, and God ran away. He’s gone, and I don’t know why. I kneel and bow my head and say the words, but they can’t open my heart anymore. My heart is broken and useless like an old watch. It’s a lump of rusted-up metal in my chest. All I do is kneel here and talk to you.
FTC Advisory: Flux provided me with a copy of The Drowned Forest. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Jane isn’t dealing well with losing her best friend. Holly drowned after jumping off a bridge they’d jumped off a thousand times. In a place known as ‘The Drowned Forest’, she never surfaces. One day, a catfish coughs up Holly’s promise ring from Tony onto the river banks and the word ‘Help’ is inscribed on it. Together with Holly’s brokenhearted boyfriend Tony, Jane must find a way to save Holly’s soul, which haunts the riverside as a mud filled rotten thing and kills everything she touches. Holly doesn’t know she’s dead, but knows she’s lost. Will Jane’s strong faith in God be enough to save her friend from an eternal hell trapped in the forgotten trees under the lake? Or will she lose her mind and succumb to the call of the river?
I absolutely loved this story. It was so stunning and visually brilliant that I felt I was there alongside Jane as she runs away from her church going environment to discover a way to help her friend. Her love for her Holly and her strong faith in God are challenged in every way possible when things that shouldn’t be able to happen or even exist, threaten her life in every way possible. Out of her normal environment, Jane befriends a group of friends in a band who are Tony’s friends, learns to play the guitar and finds there is more to believing in God, love and what is right than she previously believed. The world is filled with the supernatural, alongside the contrast of faith and God. The fantastical story telling draws you into the fanatical state of Jane’s mind and the absolute terror she and her friends experience from the horror surrounding the very much alive river of the ‘The Drowned Forest’.
Brilliant! I highly recommend this unusual tale of ghosts and folklore. It’s very much rooted in religion and may be off putting to some readers, but I felt that the religion itself was a very active character in this story and a strong influence on the entire plot line, which makes it even more hauntingly beautiful to read.
Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this book via Netgalley for an honest review.