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The Drowned Forest

3.11  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Holly and Jane have jumped off the bridge over their Alabama reservoir hundreds of times. But one day, Holly's jump goes wrong. Her body never comes up, but something else does—a sad creature of mud, full of confusion and sorrow. Jane knows it's Holly, somehow, trapped and mixed up with the river. But Holly doesn't know she’s dead, and that anything she touches will die, ...more
240 pages
Published February 8th 2014 by Flux
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Average rating 3.11  · 
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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
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.
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 ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Jul 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Orrin Grey
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, horror, 2017
I picked this book up kinda randomly and it took me a couple years to get around to it, but it was both better and not at all what I thought, but I thought I would give a review, and try to be completely honest because I feel like this book gets judged pretty harshly. Is the book kinda preachy, yes, yes it it. Is it very much focused on religion? No. It's very much focused on how the world looks from the viewpoint of a very sheltered fifteen year old girl in Alabama who was home schooled and ...more
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
1.5 Stars

This was one of those books that pretty much twisted what the book was about when it came to the synopsis on the back of the book. Yeah okay, that was in the book but that sure wasn't the focus of this book. Or at least not the focus I found the book to be about. This wasn't a Gothic horror story as much as it was a preachy book shoving religion down your throat. Normally when a book starts in heavy with religion I stop reading but I was intrigued by the synopsis. Shame on me for
marisa king
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i’m a huge fan of southern gothic with a flare of paranormal. this book delivered exactly that. recently, i have come to terms with my faith, strengthening my relationship with god because i had pretty much abandoned christianity. this book follows the journey of two girls and their faith is tested in more ways than one, both in life and in death. i highlight passages in every book i read, so i can flip through and read my favorite quotations or sentiments. i don’t think i’ve ever highlighted a ...more
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the books i picked up because of the cover. Look at it! Doesn’t it give you a creepy vibe? I really thought it is going to give me the scares. I didn’t bother reading the synopsis. And so what i read is not what i expected.

Around 40% when it became a little interesting to me. But then there are parts where i just rolled my eyes. Somebody was killed and they didn’t even do anything?! Moved on with their lives like nothing happened! Like, wth?! The main character runaway from home but her
Jan 11, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
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
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
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
A Book Vacation
Jan 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
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 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Ornella (Nyx)
Jan 07, 2014 marked it as never-finished  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
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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.
“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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