Book Review: Dread Wood

By Jennifer Killick

When Angelo has to spend Saturday morning in detention with class mates Naira, Hallie and Gus, he has no idea that what lies ahead is no ordinary detention session. Until Mr Canton, the teacher and detention supervisor, confiscates all their phones only to disappear shortly afterwards, and the four kids have to get over their animosity towards each other and work together to survive because something very sinister is afoot in the school.

I found the start of this book extremely creepy and tense. My twelve-year old self would have been terrified (but in a good way, of course) so it’s not for every child but those who enjoy scary stories will love it. I was, however, slightly disappointed with the cause of the terror and the villains motivation seemed a little contrived, but I don’t think the target audience will feel the same way. The action is well-paced, with lots of humour sprinkled throughout to break up the tenser moments. I really liked the drip-feeding of why the kids thought they were in detention and why they really were

Favourite character: Mr Canton, the enthusiastic detention supervisor with his Back on Track, consequence not punishment approach.

Favourite thing about the book: The school keeps pigs and chickens, and yes, this makes for some tense scenes!

However I couldn’t engage with the story as much as I wanted to because I found the characters of the kids to be fairly one dimensional and stereotyped. I was also surprised by the language in the book. From memory, each of the kids blaspheme. While this may be true to life, I was disappointed to see its appearance in middle grade fiction.

Overall, the creepy start, the well-paced story and the monsters are sure to please kids interested in horror. However TOTP and I felt let down by the plot and characterisation so for us it’s a disappointed 6 out of 10 Diamonds.

TOTP suitably fearful among the trees!

13 responses to “Book Review: Dread Wood”

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