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de Becerra, Katya. What the Woods Keep.

de Becerra, Katya. What the Woods Keep. Imprint/Macmillan, September 2018. 384p. $17.99. 978-1-250-12425-8.

3Q * 4P * M * J * S

Eighteen-year-old Hayden enjoys her urban life in Brooklyn but has spent a lifetime being haunted by mysterious dreams, images of rituals in the woods, and ancient runic symbols. Her unhappy childhood in a small Colorado town included many episodes of her being responsible for injuring or scaring classmates, though she has no recollection of actually causing any of these events. After the disappearance of her mother and her father's obsessive descent into fringe science, Hayden puts her past behind her. Now, she and a friend must visit her hometown as she learns she has inherited the old family mansion, the townspeople none too happy to see her return. Hayden begins investigating the woods around her property, searching for clues to her mothers disappearance. As her dreams intensify and certain powers begin to manifest, she learns that she may possess the DNA of a mythical Nibelung, a race of warriors described by Wagner in his famous opera cycle. Many confrontations and twists involving her parents, neighbors, an old boyfriend, and mythical beings from another dimension eventually result in a satisfying conclusion.

The ambiguous outcome of the final fight may lead to a sequel. The characters in this debut novel are interesting and modern, particularly Haydens humorous, vibrant roommate, and this particular piece of science fiction adds a new angle to the "small town with a secret" genre. Recommend this title to readers who enjoy science fiction or paranormal fiction.--Kevin Beach.

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Author:Beach, Kevin
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2018
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