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The Drowned Forest

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  94 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Losing Holly is the hardest thing Jane has ever had to endure ... until Holly comes back.

Best friends Jane and Holly have jumped off the bluff over their Alabama reservoir hundreds of times. But one day, Holly’s jump goes wrong. Her body never comes up, yet something else does—a sad creature of mud, full of confusion and sorrow. It’s Holly, somehow, trapped and mixed up wi
Paperback, 229 pages
Published February 8th 2014 by Flux
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DNF at 18%

I don't even know anymore. Seriously, what the flip was this? The whole time I read this, I was thinking: no No NO NOOOO. A complete disaster? Pretty much, seeing that I DNFed it and cannot think of one major likeable aspect. Not even a minor one. I'll say you're wasting your time if you try this. Though please, if you think you'll be satisfied in the end or are curious, go ahead. But I totally, totally warned you.

My first quibble with The Drown
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Actual Rating 1.5

Are you religious? Do you think you’re better than everyone else because you have ‘faith’? Do you like preaching to other people? Do you like shoving your religious opinions down someone’s throat? Do you like forcing your religion on to other people?

If that sounds like you, you’ll probably enjoy this book. If those things get on your nerves like they get on mine. Run. Run for your lives.

This book is publicized all wrong. It
Initial reaction: I think I'm going to note almost verbatim what I said in my last status update. This ended up being a quick read, but for execution - this did not sit well with me. The premise promised one thing, but the delivery was off to another. It wasn't just the over religious focus, but the presentation of the story itself felt choppy and just not living up to the potential of what the book provided. I'll explain more in the full review, but I may be a minority opinion in saying that th ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Jul 01, 2016 Dark Faerie Tales rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed-by-zed
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: The worst ‘scary’ story ever.

Opening Sentence: But it’s a beautiful day, Holly.

The Review:

Possibly the worst book I’ve read all year. Usually, by the time I’ve read about a third of any book I know how well I’ll like the rest of the story. With The Drowned Forest, it started off incredibly boring with a whiny main character and unfortunately that impression remained until the last page!

Steve is wearing the same clothes he had on yesterday mo
Aug 11, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg-ya, horror
This is a lightning-fast read, and a damn good thing it is, else I might not have been able to tolerate our narrator, who begins the novel as a prissy, holier-than-thou southern Baptist. But when her best friend's ghost sends her a plea for help, she quickly realizes that her church is unequipped and her own spirituality too one-note to deal with the haunting. Over the course of the novel, she becomes friends with people she once scorned. Her faith broadens to recognize the immense power of the ...more
Kirsty-Marie Jones
Right, I am just going to say it and get it out of the way.

I'm not religious.

When requesting The Drowned Forest, from the blurb I had no idea that it was even A) Religious and B) Focused on religion.

And it did, focus on religion, a lot.

Personally, if I'd have known I wouldn't have requested it, since I'm not really into reading that type of thing, and I was expecting this creepy thriller and ended up feeling like I was being preached at.
I would've avoided it and I wouldn't be sorry for it, and b
Alexia Purdy
This is so different from anything paranormal that I’ve read lately. It’s hauntingly beautiful in descriptions and weaves the backstory into the plot easily so that you get a sense of the superstitions and a time long forgotten where not only is the land a living entity with a very real life of its own, but it pulls at the people with its restless call.

Jane isn’t dealing well with losing her best friend. Holly drowned after jumping off a bridge they’d jumped off a thousand times. In a place know
Aug 08, 2014 Muchandquick rated it it was amazing
The Drowned Forest is a book that has stuck with me over the last few days. I highly enjoyed it and hope that many others will as well.

The story follows Jane, a teenage girl who is trying and failing to deal with the loss of her best friend, Holly. Jane is in the center of a very religious community and holds God in every aspect of her life. However, the faith that she so heavily relies on offers little comfort in light of the fact that Holly's spirit remains trapped in the waters she drowned in
Orrin Grey
Feb 22, 2015 Orrin Grey rated it really liked it
I'm an unabashed fan of the writing of Kris Reisz and have been since his first book, Tripping to Somewhere. I bought a story from him for Fungi. I think The Drowned Forest is almost certainly his most personal book to date, though I don't know that I'd call it his best. (That might still be the aforementioned Tripping to Somewhere.)

Just glancing down the Goodreads reviews, it looks like a lot of people had problems with the "religious" aspects of this book. Or rather, with the religion of the b
3.5 stars

This is a very difficult book to rate, because although I enjoyed it very much and thought it was incredibly original, I had some problems with it, mostly the preachy tone and religious edge to the book, and also the pacing. Still, this book turned out to be more than I thought it would be. I expected a simple horror story, but it ended up being a sort of coming-of-age type of story that had Jane, the protagonist, grow up quite a lot, and it also had a pretty nice cast of secondary char
Jan 27, 2014 Angie rated it it was amazing
This story beautifully captures a young southern girl growing up and experiencing a life-altering change in perspective. Keisz employs the drowing of her best friend to be the motovating force behind her change, in a most poignant and heart-breaking manner.
His writing style is perfectly fitted to the story, and I look forward to reading more of his work.
ps- i tend to forget the musical part when telling about what ive read. music of different kinds features prominently in this book, so how coul
Mar 22, 2014 Murray rated it it was amazing
I gave this book 5 stars not because I know the author and wanted to stay on his good side, but because it really was amazing. I grew up in the area that the book is set, as well as a church community similar to the one in the book. I have been to a Rivercall just like that before. I have driven over Wilson Dam, but never will again without being creeped out! I also found the way that the main character narrated the story to Holly instead of the reader intriguing.
Mar 24, 2014 Kat rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
(I'm going to apologize in advance for how harsh I'm going to be. You guys should at east pick up a copy before banning it from your To-Read list forever. This is just my opinion on a book I didn't like very much)

Jane and Holly are- sorry, were- the best of friends, until that one faithful day. When Holly jumped off the Alabama reservoir and into the water below, an act she and Jane have done a thousand times, everything seemed fine. That is, until Holly never came back up. A funeral, some tears
Leigh Collazo
Jan 31, 2015 Leigh Collazo rated it did not like it

More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.

WHAT I LIKED: Honestly, not much. The setting is nice and creepy, with well-written descriptions of the small town and its deep, dark river with no-telling-what lying in wait at the murky bottom. I like that it is only 240 pages; at least my misery was short-lived.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The narration. Jane narrates the story as though she is speaking to Holly. It's a weird kind of second person narrative that is unique, but for me it was just awkward. I kept forget
Dec 16, 2014 Angie rated it liked it
I received an ARC through NetGalley.

The Drowned Forest started off so fantastically! I seriously thought this was going to be the first 5 star book of 2014. But then it just kind of died somewhere in the middle and never picked back up. It was totally different than anything I had ever read before, and I was hooked from the very first paragraph. I read it straight through in one afternoon, hoping that the awesomeness of the beginning would return. Well, it started to pick up, but ultimately falt
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
I'm not sure where to start with The Drowned Forest! Parts of it were really interesting, but I also found parts of it confusing.

So Jane's friend Holly dies, but it's a while before you even figure it out. You know something happened to Holly, but it honestly took me awhile to figure out what happened to her. The book definitely felt a little confusing at first, because Jane kept thinking about Holly and what happened to her, but I had no clue who Holly was or what happened to her. Granted, I di
Contrary to what a lot of the reviews here say, I think that the synopsis is fine, and that the author doesn't need to warn readers that the protagonist is religious. I think people misunderstand that this is all written from Jane's POV so if Jane is particularly religious, that's going to come out. And that's okay, that's good character development. You don't have to be religious to read about a religious character.

(view spoiler)
Jan 02, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: age-ya, paranormal, arcs, 2014
I read this advanced reader copy via Netgalley.

Last spring, Jane's best friend Holly died in the river. During a baptism in the river several months later, a giant catfish coughs up Holly's ring... now engraved with the words "Help." Jane wants to help her friend, but her religious family thinks she's crazy and only her friend Tyler seems to believe her.

The writing style here is very poetic. There were some amazing descriptions that truly captured the feel of a small southern town in summer, whe
A Book Vacation
Jan 25, 2014 A Book Vacation rated it did not like it
To see my full review:

While this novel tells readers that Holly is indeed trapped and needs help from her best friend, Jane, it’s main focus seemed to be on religion and obsession. And, with the extremely zealous religious outpour within the novel, it was hard for me to focus on much else. Jane and her family—her entire town really—seem to be a bit over the top in their views. I don’t think this was meant to be intentional, but how the pastor and the people within the town
Tessa Novak
Jan 07, 2014 Tessa Novak rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
You know that thing, where your best friend dies and then comes back as a bundle of mud and sticks that starts murdering people?

...No? (Read on for mild spoilers. I mean, more minor spoilers.)

The Drowned Forest is a horror story that feels like a fairy tale, set in a contemporary small town. In an interesting twist, the protagonist, Jane, is a religious fundie, and her knee-jerk faith is one of the main focuses of the book. Normally I'd find that pretty off-putting, but it's presented as part of
Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks)
Apr 04, 2014 Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I made a mistake before reading this book. I wanted to know why it had such a low rating so I read some of the negative reviews. I am so glad I decided to ignore them and read this book anyway.
As you can tell by the fact that I read this in one day, I really enjoyed this book. I am not a super religious person and this story is filled with religion. This didn't bother me though. Some of you couldn't finish the book because of it. Don't we read to experience new things and walk in someone else's
May 03, 2015 Davey rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this--I'm confused by all of the reviewers who found Jane irredeemably preachy. She definitely starts out that way, but she grows and changes throughout the course of the book, the way any good character does.

Also, it was pretty spooky. Holly's ghost was a nasty piece of work, but also managed to be tragic. Which is my favorite sort of ghost.

Three stars instead of four because in the end the plot was more focused on the narrator's new aspiring rock-star friends than on the spo
Jun 24, 2015 Karen rated it did not like it
Um... What?!

Yup, this book is about religion. Every single line harps on it. Every. Single. Line. I'm not opposed to religious fiction -- some of it is done very well -- but like this it was really hard to take. Oh, and I am a Christian.

Also, the pace was sooooooo slooooooooooooooooow. I'm pretty sure that anyone who has attempted to read this book has felt like he/she is drowning.

And, finally, there really isn't a point to this book. It offers nothing new but a whole slew of annoyance.
Ornella (Nyx)
Feb 12, 2014 Ornella (Nyx) marked it as never-finished
Shelves: arcs
I think I only got like 3 or 4 chapters in? I could not stand the religious and preachy tone it was utterly off putting to me. No one warned me it would have such a heavy presence. Readers should be warned! No where is it even slightly mentioned and I just feel cheated. At one point I really thought they were actually in a cult, but it turns out they weren't and it was just very uncomfortable to read, so I stopped.
Alma  Ramos-McDermott
Jane misses her best friend Holly, who drowned while they were horsing around on the tire swing by the river. They’d played with the swing thousands of times, but no one expected Holly to drown doing an easy back flip. Unable to contain her grief, Jane talks to Holly in her mind and spends all her time praying. Read the rest of the review on my blog: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.c...
Feb 23, 2014 Kelly added it
Shelves: could-not-finish
I gave this 50 solid pages before giving up. I didn't realize how much it was steeped in religious story and metaphor, and while the small town southern setting was itself haunting, the story didn't do anything for those first fifty pages. It's a short book -- just over 200 pages -- and since I had no investment in the characters and the plot wasn't capturing me, it was time to move on.

Oct 02, 2013 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This was such a strange book. It was definitely a good book, just strange. I'm not a very religious person so there were times where I was confused when there were quotes from the Bible. I do understand the importance though, of the main character being so religious. I liked the way the book was written by the main character to her best friend. It was different.
Mar 16, 2014 Sandra rated it really liked it
Yes, the main character is very religious but I did not feel preached at at all. I felt for Jane and Holly and loved the creepy suspense, especially towards the end of the book. Jane went through a lot of growth by the end of the book but never lost herself. I'd recommend this one if you enjoy creepy dead girl novels.
Mary Thompson
Feb 26, 2014 Mary Thompson rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. Even though Jane is completely different from me in that she is deeply religious, I immediately connected and was drawn into her worldview. The integration of the supernatural and religious elements was really well done. The characters were great and the whole story was unique in the best way.
Sep 04, 2014 Pam rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, never-again, 2014
If you can get through the first, idk, 16 chapters of her talking to her "dead friend" as though she's still there, recounting memories.

"Remember when we went to the docks, Holly?"

Oh and 16 chapters of fanatical prayer and Jesus-geeking...

The ending is like the only thing saving this book.
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Kristopher Reisz writes books about witches' carnivals, heart-broken werewolves, and mushroom gods.

He fancies himself a gentleman of leisure, just minus the 'gentleman' part.
More about Kristopher Reisz...

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“This river is so old. When the Nephilim walked the land and men were like grasshoppers at their feet, it was flashing as thin and quick as a minnow.” 0 likes
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