#ATBR2020 – The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thanks to Berkley Publishing for the free early copies in exchange for our honest reviews

THE GHOST TREE – Christina Henry (Released September 8th, 2020)

You can see our thoughts on her other books: LOST BOY (here) and THE GIRL IN RED (here)

Book Description:

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.

Chandra’s Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars

I’m a huge fan of this author! This is my first work by her that’s not a dark retelling.  For me, this was a  bit of coming-of-age mixed with ominous small town curse vibes.  And with small towns, we get the annoying old woman of a bigot, layers of secrets that span generations, teenagers coming into their own and, of course, the town fair!

As a city girl, I always imagine I’ll somehow end up in the country one day married to a strapping man in a small town where everyone knows each other, for better or worse and just happily sitting on the porch of my little house just content as can be…. and then I read a lot of horror and thriller novels and I’m pretty sure I’m just not safe living anywhere – and most definitely not in a small town. 😉 Smiths Hollow already sounds like it could be a creepy town…. and it most certainly is.  

While what is happening to the girls of Smiths Hollow is pretty gruesome, I never found any part of the book to be scary in the least.  Now, there are definite foreboding and ominous moments, but overall I felt like this was much tamer than I had expected it to be.  That being said, I absolutely LOVE this type of story.  You can’t help but fall in love with David.  Never have I ever met such a calm and patient kid.  And I truly loved the backstory that we get in Part II which is where we as readers start to understand what the hell is going on in town.  Blessed be.  

Definitely a fun read for Spooky season so grab this one as your aperitif for Halloween.  If you like stories/movies like The Lottery and Population 436 or the Scarecrow episode of  Supernatural, this should satiate your creepy needs.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

I’ve loved Christina Henry since I picked up LOST BOY a few years ago and each retelling since then has been great. THE GHOST TREE isn’t a dark retelling like her other books, but more of a lighter horror or suspense read. While there were some creepy and ominous moments, I wouldn’t categorize this as straight horror.

Smith’s Hollow is a small town with a gruesome history of death and disappearances. When the bodies of two young girls are found, Lauren is less than hopeful that the police will find their killer. A year before, her father’s body was found in the woods with his heart missing. There’s something wrong with the town and Lauren is determined to figure out what is happening while the rest of Smith’s Hollow seems to forget. Lauren starts getting visions and after visiting with her grandma one day, certain things come to light that have her questioning everything.

As if living in the middle of 20 acres of woods wasn’t creepy enough at night, this book made it even more so. I mean, its unnerving enough hearing the leaves crunch but then you start getting into this story and it gave me a big chill down my spine. Let the dogs do what they need to do alone, I’ll stay inside. If you’re looking for a great read for the October TBR, then I would definitely recommend this one. Henry creates a great small town spooky read and I’ll continue to pick up whatever she releases.

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