And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
Published: September 6th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Stay away from the woods…
When Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt’s home, it’s immediately clear that the manor is cursed. The endless creaking of the house at night and the eerie stillness of the woods surrounding them would be enough of a sign, but there are secrets too—questions that Silla can’t ignore: Why does it seem that, ever since they arrived, the trees have been creeping closer? Who is the beautiful boy who’s appeared from the woods? And who is the tall man with no eyes who Nori plays with in the basement at night… a man no one else can see?
I don’t know which cover is creepier. The Creeper Man published by Orion Children’s Books or And the Trees Crept In published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. They both give you a sense of how dark the book is without giving anything away! I am not one to look at covers all that much, but I really like these two!
Anne. Youngest. Most precious.
Pamela. The middle sister. Wildest.
Catherine. Eldest. Most Sensible.
Three little girls did a very bad thing.
This is definitely not a book to read late at night with all the lights off (except your reading lamp of course). Kurtagich wrote another masterfully written horror novel full of twists and turns that has you questioning everything that you have read up to that point! I am not one to read much horror (I don’t even watch horror movies!), but I really enjoyed this book and her debut novel The Dead House.
Rotting in your skin
rotting in your mind
you are rotting in this house
in this house you’ll die.
This book starts off with a flashback to 1980 when everything first started in Python Woods. Skip ahead 20 something years and now Silla and her sister are traveling through the same woods to find her Aunt Cath and hopefully safety. As soon as they arrive, their aunt tells them to never go into the woods. At first everything seems to be going very well, but then little things start to happen that make you question your sanity. Cath goes into the attic and doesn’t ever come back down. So it is up to Silla to provide for Nori and to keep her safe.
Things can stay safe for long
they can pretend to fit
but then you hear Discord’s song
and things crack bit by bit.
As soon as you start reading you get a creepy vibe and the creepiness never goes away. Even when you think that it’s all sunshine and rainbows for a few chapters, there is still an undercurrent of creepy. Especially when Aunt Cath tells them the story of the Creeper Man, which basically starts Sillas slow and growing fear about the woods and the manor. You begin to question her mental health and whether or not she is a reliable narrator.
A tree. It’s a tree. I convince myself of this, almost fully. Until the thing steps forward, his head turning a fraction in my direction. I can almost hear the tiny creeeeeeeeeeak as his head rotates. It is a tall, long-limbed, bulbous-headed shadow.
I blink again.
Closer each time. Like the trees. Tall, thin. Eerily silent. Still and watchful. A man. Something like a man.
But he has no eyes.
I notice this right away. He has no face. Wait . . . is that. . . is that-
There’s a mouth.
A long gash of a mouth, thin and smiling. A jagged line. Until it falls open, revealing teeth and an endless blackness.
And then it falls forward on all fours, long and thin and impossible, scuttling back into the woods, head cocked up to me, until he is nothing but a tree shadow and I don’t know if I’ve seen it at all.
The Creeper Man.
Once the trees start creeping closer towards the manor is when Silla gets more and more frantic trying to keep Nori safe. It isn’t until near the end that Silla starts to try to figure out how the Creeper Man started and why he was terrorizing her family. The ending I never saw coming a mile away! This book was so full of twists and turns that it was hard to keep track of them. It wasn’t until basically the very end when everything is finally explained that everything makes sense. Kurtagich did a superb job of weaving all the tiny details together to create such a masterful ending. My only problem is that now that I know it’s kind of like The Village, once you know the secret it’s hard to watch it again and feel creeped out. I think after some time passes this will be a great book to read again and try to see if I could pick up on any of the clues that I missed the first time.
I also really liked the format the book was in. Kurtagich told this story not only from Sillas point of view, but she included broken book entries from Sillas journal, diary entries from Nori, and even little snippets from Aunt Cath. These little extras to the narrative just add to creep factor and the inner workings to Sillas mind. The writing style was great in The Dead House, but I think Kurtagich outdid herself in this one!
Overall, I really loved this book! Kurtagich might be the only author where I can read her horror books with little to no problem. Although, this one was creepy it wasn’t as scary as I thought it could have been. So if you are like me and get scared easily, this book will be fine for you to read!