Into the Forest
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Into the Forest

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,666 ratings  ·  707 reviews
Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single even...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1996)
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Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
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Community Reviews

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this is definitely a novel.

i mean, i never thought it was a true story, but i just want to emphasize that decisions characters make in this book are very much suitable for literary purposes; they provide dramatic tension and character development and a story arc, but as far as practical decision-making goes, these sisters fall a little short.

and there was a period when i thought, "hey - these girls finally have it together and are taking real steps towards their own survival," only to modify th...more
Lisa Vegan
May 12, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys fiction
Recommended to Lisa by: Michele
This became one of my favorite books as soon as I read it; I was totally immersed while reading and continue to dwell on this book. I almost gave it 4 vs. 5 stars though, because I “didn’t like” the end. But, I realize, it’s not that I thought the end was poorly done; it was just difficult for me to agree with aspects of the decisions made. The fact that certain happenings were so painful for me, shows how powerful this book seemed to me. This is a beautifully told story about 2 sisters who must...more
Apr 04, 2011 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: figures 8 hate ate
Recommended to Mariel by: Me recommending it to Lauren who recommended it to me
Into the Forest was a random book find. I picked it off the shelves and decided it sounded like something my sister would like. Two young sisters hiding from the rest of their post apocolyptic world that is rapidly become further rings of apocolyptic mess, learning to survive and make a new world out of the old. I, um, pretty much talked her into buying a book that I kinda wanted to read. (I'm sneaky that way.)

Lauren devoured it in one sitting. I did the same, but in my case it turned into more...more
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Allison (The Allure of Books)
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Ginny Messina
In this haunting and thought-provoking book, a series of natural disasters and man-made events conspire to bring the U.S. to its knees as the infrastructure gradually begins to falter. Eventually all utilities shut down completely, and without electricity and gas, there is no real news—-just rumors. Stores quickly empty, and desperation and fear set in.

The story focuses on two teenage girls who live about 30 miles from the nearest town in the northern redwood forest of CA. The deaths of their p...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else.
From beauty no road leads to reality.
~Hannah Arendt

I waited for over a year to read Into the Forest. In that frame of time, I had imagined this idea in my head of a book filled with controversy and chaos. The reality of what this book was never crossed paths with what I had imagined. It was far better.

This story takes place in a post-apocalyptic time but it is not a post-apocalyptic book. This story features an act of incest (...more
Apr 09, 2008 Carrie rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am a fan of apocalyptic fiction, and this one started out ok; unfortunately, it ended really poorly. I liked the fact that the sisters were isolated. And I actually think there reactions to the end of the world as they know it is probably how a lot of people would react - with a bit a denial and an unreasonable hope that things will get better soon.

I found the characters pretty unlikeable however. Both Eve and Nell were naive and ignorant in their own ways. This made them fairly true to life b...more
Oct 08, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Michael
Shelves: post-apocalyptic, ya
Nell and Eve are precocious teenagers living with their anti-establishment parents in the middle of a redwood forest. Their contact with the outside world is sporadic, so it takes them a while to realize that civilization is crumbling around them. Hegland is vague about the reasons--a far-off war, new strains of disease, terrorist attacks on US soil. (She wrote this in 1996, when all of this was less hackneyed.) But after a few seasons of this, the family is left without electricity, internet, t...more
Aug 02, 2007 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who imagine running away from it all
When 9/11 hit, I was reading this book. It was frightening and exciting all at once. It is about a sickness that causes everyone to either die or hide. Two sisters go into the forest with their family and later must learn to survive on their own. I learned some interesting survival techniques and think that if we ever have to go survive in our cabin in some type of disaster situation, I just might have some skills.
i had some difficulty relating to the main characters, but the story of the slowly crumbling infrastructure of the united states is incredibly compelling, and i found myself thinking, "oh my gosh, that could really happen ... and jeez, that already is!" i was suddenly lured into the premise and the "what if" feeling it inspired, which made me a little paranoid ... especially when the narrator states, "It's amazing how quickly everyone adapted to the changes. I suppose it's like the way people ha...more
Oct 05, 2009 Lee rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lee by: Lisa Vegan
This is a beautifully written book about two teenaged sisters who are left to fend for themselves after surviving the death of both parents.
The older sister Nell paints a lovely portrait of a family who live by their own rules, on a large plot of land 30 miles from the nearest town. The girls have a free range education at home, roaming the forest, following their own interests until slowly things begin to change. A series of events leaves the girls stranded on their homestead, surviving on dwi...more
There's a lot to like in Hegland's end-of-the-world story. For the first half, at least, it's the most hopeful apocalypse I've come across. Hegland dwells far more on the two teenage-sister main characters than on the means of the world's end (in fact, the precise reason is never fully explained). The end result is a family story and a survival story. An interesting angle on a notion that has been worked over many times.
Jul 12, 2009 Addie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Addie by: Aerin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A poignant, sensual and carefully written book that will remain quietly in my mind for a long time to come. What strikes me, why I gave it a fifth star, is how it has remained relevant, fresh, shocking and provoking fifteen years after it was written. The United States in 2010 is closer to the brink than Ms Hegland envisioned in 1995; it is not much of a stretch to imagine a country that simply can't afford to pay its bills, where civil war erupts between political parties, where disease cannot...more
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This book was often bleak and even disturbing, and I frequently disagreed with decisions the characters made. That said, this is a compelling, beautifully written book that is very hard to put down. What is at first a story about two sisters trying to hold on to the life they have always known swiftly becomes the tale of Eva and Nell learning to fend for themselves, how to work with the forest around them instead of depending on modern conveniences. Set in an American undergoing a sort of econom...more
Jun 11, 2009 Melody rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Melody by: Lisa Vegan, Erin Brewster, Ginny
Shelves: dystopia
This haunting and exquisite dystopian story grabbed me by the throat and took over my day. I was powerless to do anything but read until I ran out of pages. The writing is excellent. I've got a soft spot for dystopian fiction, and there is very little in the genre that feels sweet, save this. Two sisters, alone in the middle of nowhere, figuring out how to survive on nothing after the collapse of civilization- yeah, yeah, you think, I've read THIS before. But it's so raw, and so real, and so......more
An interesting novel, this book was. I don't remember marking this one to-read but, lo and behold, it was there on my to-read list. I read for a number of reasons: fun, intellectual stimulation, to experience something other than the monotony of Sesame Street and Super Why day-in-day-out and to escape. This was a quick and easy read. It was interesting, endearing, and pleasantly simple, and a nice little temporary escape from reality for me (despite the gloomy subject matter). It would have serv...more
I JUST finished this (yes, this is how i spend my friday nights) and I should probably wait until morning to write about it. I feel like I need to let it steep into me. I want to give it 5 stars because it was such a moving combination of beautiful and terrible. Okay never mind, I'll give it 5 stars. This is not the post-poc survival story I was expecting. The emotional side of the tough experiences and growth that the well developed characters go through *cliche alert* taught me something about...more
This is a fantastically well written novel whose plot is hauntingly plausible. It vary starkly sets up the contrast between the comforts of civilization and the serenity of forsaking it. It makes one wonder, do we really need all this "stuff"? The knee jerk response is yes, but by the end of the novel you are not so sure. And we're not talking about some Beatles notion of "all you need is love," although that is a component of it. The idea more of a "all you need is nature and your wit." After a...more
Oct 28, 2010 Ariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: hovel
I had some vague back-cover hope: this would be about incestuous sister after the apocalypse. Well. Don't you want to relish the degeneration of a ballet dancer and an Ivy League would-be? I must say they needed to suffer. By the end it's all herbal taxonomy and survival and flat-out gorgeous. And ends awfully appropriately for any reading dancer who had their house burn down. Recommend for women, Oregonians, sisters in rivalry, naturalists, apolcalypsisists, lyricists, people who don't like to...more
This was a beautifully told story of two sisters left alone to fend for themselves in a world that has somehow fallen flat. I was surprised at how deeply this story touched me. At first I was frustrated with these girls and their attitude and lethargy. But as time passed and experience began to change them, I saw the women they could be, how they could help themselves, and how they just might make it. This was a good read. Thanks to all who reviewed and recommended it!
This is probably my favorite fiction book, It's one I recomend freqently to friends. I think I read this right around the y2k scare and I love the survival element to the book. I think I've always wondered "what if" and although this book is dark, and a bit depressing, it's one I think about constantly even years after reading it. I think that is the sign of a great book!
So far I find it riveting! Such an interesting story of two girls that live in the forest in present day times, and something happens to the country's infrastructure and there is no power, food, gas, etc. You don't really know what is going on in the world since they are completely isolated.

ETA: The end was a bit weird, but still a good book. A quick read for me.
A heart breaking story about two girls holding on to the last vestiges of their lives after human civilization falls apart, leaving them stranded at their house in the middle of nowhere. This book will force you to ask questions about what is truly important in your life, and about what parts of yourself you would be willing to leave behind in order to survive.
This is one of those books where it took me to page 100 before I really started to enjoy the story. And after that, it was hard to put down. I read this book before I even knew what dystopian was. Some parts of it was scary, disturbing, taboo, but always entertaining. It left a powerful impression on me, and it's been over a decade since I read it.
Dec 16, 2012 Rayna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
In a world that often feels apocalyptic, I can totally understand the urge to walk away from it all, "Into the Forest."
Sarah Menezes
Okay so for the first 1/2 or 3/4 of the book I'd say was closer to 4 stars for me, but as a whole it just doesn't quite add up. Into the Forest even just for it's premise is something that I'm all about; two sisters living off in the world in a incredibly realistic Apocalypse kind-of situation? Very much my thing. Actually, this book made me think if only I had read this back when I was still in high school I probably would have liked it a lot more and been able to ignore some of the annoying...more
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Naiveté lasted too long 2 13 Jan 18, 2014 05:55PM  
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predicting disasters? (contains spoliers from page 16.) 2 30 Aug 02, 2008 03:43AM  
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“This body is yours. No one can ever take it from you, if only you will accept yourself, claim it again--your arms, your spine, your ribs, the small of your back. It's all yours. All this bounty, all this beauty, all this strength and grace is yours. This garden is yours. Take it back. Take it back.” 35 likes
“i never knew how much we consumed. it seems as if we are all appetite, as if a human being is simply a bundle of needs to drain the world. it's no wonder there are wars, no wonder the earth and water and air are polluted. it's no wonder the economy collapsed, if eva and i use so much merely to stay alive.” 6 likes
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