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The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry #BookReview

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will. 

The Ghost Tree

Title: The Ghost Tree | Author: Christina Henry | Publisher: Titan | Pub. Date: 2020-Sept-8 | Pages: 432 | ISBN13: 9781785659799 | Language: English | Source: Netgalley | Starred Review

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The Ghost Tree Review

The Ghost Tree is not my favorite work from Christina Henry, but it is a well-written tale told from two very different points of view. One is a teenager named Lauren, who is more involved in the happening around the small town than she could ever imagine, whilst dealing with getting her period for the first time as well. The other is Officer Lopez. Lopez is a transplant from Chicago who came with his wife and extended family for a new start away from the violence and general freneticness of a large city.

Henry doesn’t shy away from social commentary in The Ghost Tree. A good section of it is devoted to a small town’s intolerance of outsiders and the change that they seem to bring, spearheaded by one particular stubborn (redacted) that can’t understand that correlation is not causation. Some of the scariest parts of this novel are in reading about large groups of people falling prey to group think and engaging in behavior that should simply be no longer acceptable but is.

But that’s not all there is too it. A portion of the novel is also a coming of age tale as we watch Lauren not only go through the grossness that is a period for the first time, but alo watch as she learns about relationships and accepting that not all friendships are forever things. I think Henry does a good job of mixing the mundane parts of growing up well with the supernatural death and bloodshed that’s going on.

And then there’s the mystery and magic. Who is doing it? Who is involved? How the hell is this happening? It was a wise decision to write part of the novel from an ‘outsider’ POV, not only because it works for the restrictions that Henry laid for this world, but also became someone from the inside simply could not have told the tale in it’s entirety.

But there are some aspects of The Ghost Tree that I think keep it from reaching it’s full potential. One particular character serves primarily as a ‘mystical voice’ and, y’all, it’s just overdone. We need to move away from that particular type of character doing the things that they do. It’s a trope that is so tired it really needs just… laid to rest.

It took me a while to get invested in The Ghost Tree, but I never really considered DNFing it. Or skimming. (A bit surprising given my recent attention span and the fact that the book is over 400 pages long.) While this isn’t a book that I can shout about from the rooftops, I do recommend it if you’re looking for a good, solid, if not particularly breathtaking story.


The Ghost Tree will be available starting Sept 8th, 2020. You can find links to pre-order through its Goodreads page. After September 8th, we highly encourage you to order the book through Better World Books if possible, as they donate book-per-book to literacy programs.

CONTENT WARNINGS:

Spoiler
Teen death.
Published inHorror Book ReviewsStarred ReviewsUncategorized
┬ęSci-Fi & Scary 2019
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