The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

Title: The Waking Forest
Author: Alyssa Wees
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: March 12th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pan's Labyrinth meets The Hazel Wood in this novel about a girl with terrify-ing visions and a wish-granting witch whose lives collide in the most unex-pected of ways.

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She's desperate to know more--until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysteri-ous visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea's and the Witch's paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than ei-ther could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

The Waking Forest is such an intriguing story. It has that eerie fairytale quality to it that once you pick it up and start reading. It’s hard to stop.

We start off with two different worlds that we are seeing into. Rhea’s world, with her house and family by the beach. Then there is the Witch of Wishes, with her palace of bone in the Woods and foxes that dance. We alternate between these two realities and learn more about each character. We later add in a third perspective in the form a story that someone tells the witch.There are many layers, kind of like photoshop document. At least that is how my brain thinks of it.

I really liked Rhea and her sisters. She is plagued and haunted by visions of things that are not real. Scary visions of people dying or missing parts of flesh and Woods that magically appear and disappear when she tries to enter. I loved the unique characteristics of each sister and how that blends with the other. They also have a very strong bond.

The Witch is intriguing, and the way she goes about her kingdom. The Witches section of the plot also brings us the story or fairytale of a princess in a kingdom where magic is feared. With a King who seeks to contain and destroy it.

I don’t want to give anything away from the plot but it’s interesting how the pieces fit together in the end. Red string of fate that binds them all. I loved the writing, it has the dreamy feel to it. I also found the plot to be fast paced and engaging. I think sometimes a story like this can drag on but this gave you just enough and kept it interesting.

I really enjoyed The Waking Forest and I think it’s something to read if you like stories like The Hazelwood or The Wren Hunt.

In between training in ballet and watching lots of Disney movies, Alyssa grew up writ-ing stories starring her Beanie Babies. She earned a BA in English from Creighton University and an MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Currently she works as an assistant librarian in youth services at an awesome public library. She lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband and their two cats.

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· Prize: 1 copy of THE WAKING FOREST by Alyssa Wees
· US Only
· Starts: 3/10
· Ends: 3/26

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