The Forest of Stolen Girls Book by June Hur Review

Author Information

June Hur was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. When she’s not writing, she can be found journaling at a coffee shop. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020 (Indies Introduce).

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

Book Description

After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing group for the advanced copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Thoughts and Themes: This book has a very slow pace to it and it never really does pick up, that being said the pacing doesn’t take away from the story. I really enjoy the slow pacing of this story because it gives you time to think about all the revelations that occur as you read. This isn’t one that I would’ve picked up normally because of the fact that it is classified as historical but I am so glad that I read it. I really enjoyed a lot about this story.

I really enjoyed the way that the story was built and how you are right there with both of the sisters as they go on this search for the truth. I thought the way that this book was written allowed you to feel the suspense building up and also try and solve the case with them.

As I was reading this I kept forgetting that this was historical and written in a different time period. I thought that the time period was captured well in all the small aspects that were included as well as the back story of different people. I really liked learning about the different people involved in the case and the people that the two girls were interrogating.

I think it is very important to read the Historical note portion of this book because that lets you know that the story is based in real events. I thought it was interesting to learn about things that had happened in Korea in the past as I didn’t know about any of this. I really thought this book was a good way to learn about those things and liked the way facts were introduced to this novel.

Characters: This story is a lot more plot driven than character driven so I feel that we don’t get to know much about our characters. What I did like about this book is the relationships that we see between Maewol and Hwani, along with the relationship they each had with their father. I really liked watching as they learned about each other and reading as Hwani learned about her father. I thought it was good to see those relationships change and also watch the relationships that Maewol has developed with others as a result of the absence of her family.

Writing Style: This story is told through the perspective of Hwani which I thought was great. I think if the story had included any other perspectives things may have been muddied. I liked that we were watching everything unfold through Hwani’s viewpoint as she was a visitor to this place. I thought it was good that she didn’t have close ties to anyone there besides her father, and even her relationship with her sister was estranged.

City of Ghosts Book Review

Summary: Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself. 

Thoughts: I’ve been listening to a lot of young adult books on audio since they are easy to get through and I can go through them faster this way. I thought that since young adult on audio was good I might as well also listen to middle grade since I enjoy reading those as well. I’m glad that I listened to this one on audio as it was nice to hear.

I really enjoy getting a chance to read stories with ghosts that are friendly and have a human like personality. I liked hearing about the adventures that Jacob and Cass are going on and the trouble that they get themselves into. I really enjoy the friendship that they have with each other and how that friendship continues even if Jacob is a ghost.

Something else that I enjoy in this book is how the adults support Cass in her friendship with Jacob and in her pursuit of ghosts. I think it was nice to see how her parent’s were so fascinated by the supernatural while Cass was the only one who could communicate with ghosts and they had no idea. I enjoyed all of the adults that Cass comes into contact with both in the veil and in the real world.

I also really enjoy the way that the truth unravels and how as the reader you are also learning along with Cass. I liked hearing about Cass being in the veil and her feelings while she’s in there. I think you get a good glimpse into what a teenager would feel like being in this world and how it changes her perspective on life.

I recommend this to those of you who like paranormal books and those who are ages 10+. You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or IndieBound or look for it at your local library.

Queens of Geeks Book Review

Summary: Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Thoughts: This one was recommended by a fellow bibliophile on twitter and the recommendation came just in time. I love to read books about pandemics, epidemics, outbreaks, and more but right now not even those can make me happy. I feel like my anxiety has gone up and just won’t come down and my depression went right along with it but this book has made my days a little brighter. This book has made me feel like I’m not alone.

I like how this book goes back and forth between two characters and really love how different the characters are from each other. It gives two distinct perspectives even if some of their lives are combined. Since I listened to it on audio each of the girls had a distinct voice.

Often times I forgot that this book took place over the span of a convention because so much was packed in. I really liked the pace of the book and didn’t think that too much was going on even if there were several plots happening at once. I think the stories came together nicely and each character that was introduced complemented the others.

Something else that really made me love this book is the LGBTQ+ representation along with the fact that they have an autistic character. I love that both of the characters bring up the challenges that they face because of their identity, it makes them so much more relatable. I think that they tackled some of the important issues regarding sexuality with one of the characters being bisexual and how her ex feels about it. I also think that the autistic representation was done well and I really enjoyed when Taylor meets another autistic girl and is overwhelmed with emotions.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy reading LGBTQ+ books and those of you who really enjoy the concept of fandom. You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or IndieBound or look for it at your local library.

Pet Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

Pet is here to hunt a monster.
Are you brave enough to look?

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question-How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Thoughts: I picked this one up since I was looking for a good short read and it did not disappoint. I wanted to make sure that I read books by black people or that featured black people this month.

I loved all of the characters involved in this story and how their relationships developed. I liked how much you got to know these characters in a short amount of time. I really enjoyed that Jam was selectively non verbal and how that was shown throughout the story. I also enjoy how there was brief mention that she is transgender but that wasnt the focus of the story, it was nice to have a trans protagonist but have the story be about something other than her gender.

I really like the idea of Angels and monsters in this book. I thought it was such a nice change from what were used to. I also really like how it was the children who were able to see the monsters for what they were. I think it was great to have them play such a large role in the rescue.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy reading middle grade or young adult, and those of you who are looking for good lgbtq+ representation.

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

Five Feet Apart Book Review

Goodreads Summary: Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Thoughts: I know that a movie is never better than a book and they ever hardly come close so since I saw the movie before this book I made sure to try and read with no expectations. Even though I knew what was coming the story still had the same impact as if I hadn’t already seen the movie.

I love each of the characters in this book. You get a chance to really get emotionally attached to Will, Stella, and Poe. I love getting to know everyone’s personal story and their lives outside of each other. I liked that we got to even see some of Poes life through Stella’s eyes.

Something else I enjoy in this book was that it switched between two different perspectives. A voice was given to both Stella and Will, and I loved that the voices were distinct. I love that while both characters develop and grow they still are themselves throughout the whole story. The changes they go through dont make them completely new people.

I recommend this to those of you looking for a cute yet sad love story and those of you who enjoy reading YA fiction. If you’ve enjoyed the movie then I’m sure you’ll love this book.

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

The Tenth Girl Book Review

Goodreads Summary: Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Thoughts: I’m so conflicted with my feelings about this book. I listened to it on audio and feel that I should’ve done this with a ebook or physical book. I’m so confused with the last hours of this book. The twists is confusing and I dont know if I like it or hate it but what I know is it confuses me. This one is hard to review without spoiling anything so pardon me if I sound vague.

I enjoy having two different perspectives throughout the whole book because it makes me more invested in the ghost story. It makes me wonder what was happening throughout the story and how things played out. I liked hearing what happened when Dominico was involved and when he no longer was involved.

The ending reminds me of some of the movies I’ve seen recently. I hate trying to figure out if something in a book is real or not especially if the book didn’t tell you that was going to happen. I think the ending just confused me more than explained this book. I might just reread this one in physical form so that I can fully enjoy it. It definitely is one that each reader will get something different from.

I recommend this to you if you like mystery and twists at the end of the book. Twists that may or make not make sense to you.

If you’ve read this book let me know what you think. Also talk to me about the twist ending, how did you take it?

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight Book Review

Summary: Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night. 

Thoughts: I got this book because it’s the library’s big read and they had it available on audiobook. I also have been seeing others read it and wanted to give it a try so this was the perfect excuse for that.

The audiobook is really good because they use two different people to read each characters chapters. I always have a difficult time with fiction audiobooks because it can be so monotone but not this one. This one the voices change as the characters feel different emotions and even the description is read in the tone of specific characters.

I really enjoyed how there was a clear distinction between which character was speaking. I loved that even other characters who were introduced had a different tone of voice and way of speaking. It makes me wonder if I would’ve seen the story any differently if I read it rather than listened to it. I wonder if I would’ve understood the perspectives as much as I did or if I wouldn’t have paid much attention to the differences between the two girls.

I liked having this story told in both of the girls perspectives. I enjoyed that this was such a big event that has been occurring recently and that you got both sides of this story. I liked that Lena iss black and Campbell is white, I think that their raqcial dynamic added a whole new layer to their story.

I liked watching Lena be one way towards Campbell but be so frustrated with her. I also loved the revelation that Campbell comes to at the end and how she sees everything as she’s told off. And I love how things aren’t resolved at the end and it leaves you thinking.

I also really enjoyed how quick paced everything was. I liked that everything happened in the span of a few hours. I think that things had to happen that quickly for anything to have an impact.

You can get this book at Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.