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The Creeper Man

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When Silla and her little sister, Nori, escape London and their abusive father, Aunt Cath's country house feels like a safe haven. Leaving the smog and fear behind, the girls have the love and freedom they never had in their violent home. But slowly, ever so slowly, things begin to unravel.

Aunt Cath locks herself in the attic and spends day and night pacing; every day the surrounding forest inches slowly towards the house; a mysterious boy appears from the enclosing wood offering friendship, and Nori claims that a man watches them from the dark forest. A man with no eyes who creeps ever closer. . .

320 pages, Paperback

First published September 6, 2016

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About the author

Dawn Kurtagich

9 books1,348 followers
Dawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, THE DEAD HOUSE, was called "an evil and original story" by bestselling author R.L Stine and ""...a haunting new thriller..." by Entertainment Weekly. Her second novel, AND THE TREES CREPT IN (US) / THE CREEPER MAN (UK) received two starred reviews and was called "A must-read for horror fans everywhere!” by bestselling author, Susan Dennard, while Kirkus called it "frightening and compelling".

By the time she was eighteen, Dawn had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city and in the desert.

She has been lucky enough to see an elephant stampede at close range, a giraffe tongue at very close range, and she once witnessed the stealing of her (and her friends’) underwear by very large, angry baboons. (This will most definitely end up in a book . . . ) While she has quite a few tales to tell about the jumping African baboon spider, she tends to save these for Halloween!

Her life reads like a YA novel.

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5 stars
1,381 (22%)
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3 stars
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286 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,532 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
October 25, 2016
"He's out there," I say, turning back to the window. "Always watching. Getting stronger."

And the Trees Crept In is a chilling read perfect for Halloween, or just anytime you want to not sleep.

I, of course, started reading this book at night. Being the fearless reader that I am, I shrugged my shoulders and went to bed afterwards with only one glance inside the closet just to be sure it was empty. Okay, maybe two glances. The real challenge came in the middle of the night when I needed a glass of water. I must have turned on every single light in the house on my trip downstairs. It was almost as if I could hear the same creaking in the walls. Almost as if the tree branches outside the window had taken on a humanoid shape.

This book is one of the few truly scary books I have read. It has a lot of classic horror elements - woods, old houses, dolls, the occasional mirror - but the story turned out to be far better than I expected. It kept me guessing right up until the very end.

It opens with a short prologue, followed by Silla and Nori's arrival at their aunt Cath's manor house - a house that has been in the family for generations. Gradually, we will learn why they are there and what they have come from, as well as what happened to Cath and their mother all those years ago. This unfolds in torn journal entries and notes alongside the present story of their time inside the house - Cath's insanity, the girls' hunger, the creeping woods, and the strange boy who seemingly appears from nowhere. Silla must work out what is happening and protect her mute sister from the house's many demons.

There is an increasing feeling of hysteria and panic as we try to pull apart the weirdness and work out whether the woods really are moving towards the house, or whether Silla's unreliable narrative is becoming increasingly influenced by madness. Is the Creeper Man real? Or is he the invention of children's minds?

I'll be honest: the book gets very strange before it eventually makes sense. But I promise that it does make sense in the end. The frightening, confusing sequence of events leading up to the final revelation will probably disorientate you and have you thinking "what the hell is going on?" but it somehow works.

The author creates a claustrophobic world where horror is impossible to escape because it exists at every turn. In the woods outside the house, in the dark corners of the house itself, even in Silla and Nori.

Creepy, compelling and sad.

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Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,615 followers
October 25, 2016

I feel like I just got off the crazy train with this book. I feel like my brain could be related to this book. This book is utter madness and I loved it!

Silla steals away in the night with her little sister Nori. They are running from their father who abused them, not that way, like punching out teeth and stuff. Their mother had told them about their aunt Cathy that lived in a mansion in the woods. It was all good at first, but then . . .


I love how this book is written and the pages laid out. I will show a few at the end of the review.

The story is told in the now and back years ago when three sisters made a little no no in the woods

Anne. Youngest. Most precious.
Pamela. The middle sister. Wildest.
Catherine. Eldest. Most Sensible.

The Jewel.
The Adventurer.
The Protector.
Three little girls did a very bad thing.

The girls aunt Cath told them to never go into the Python Woods. There lives the Creeper Man!


A tree. It's a tree. I convince myself of this, almost fully. Until the thing steps forward, his head turning a fraction in my direction. I can almost hear the tiny creeeeeeeeeeak as his head rotates. It is a tall, long-limbed, bulbous-headed shadow.
I blink again.
And again.
Closer each time. Like the trees. Tall, thin. Eerily silent. Still and watchful. A man. Something like a man.
But he has no eyes.
I notice this right away. He has no face. Wait . . . is that. . . is that-
There's a mouth.
A long gash of a mouth, thin and smiling. A jagged line. Until it falls open, revealing teeth and an endless blackness.
And then it falls forward on all fours, long and thin and impossible, scuttling back into the woods, head cocked up to me, until he is nothing but a tree shadow and I don't know if I've seen it at all.
The Creeper Man.

I mean that right there should tell you how creepy this book is, although, when the girls first get there, everything is fine. They have a wonderful garden and time with their aunt. And then things just go south from there. I can't even people!

If you want a creepy book to read for Halloween or just to read then this is one of them!


Bloody Brilliant!




MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,275 followers
September 20, 2017
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Silla and Nori arrive at their aunt's home, a decrepit manor the color of blood. Even though Silla knows there's something wrong with the house, it's better than the terrifying circumstances she and her sister left behind. But food is running low, and the forest around the manor seems to be creeping closer. Silla knows she and Nori must go, but something lurks in the woods, something that won't let them leave.

There's a rhythm to the text in And the Trees Crept In. It's poetic at times, asking the reader to discern meaning from few words:

Circling, circling, circling the loom . . .
"Stop it. Please . . . Stop it."
From beyond the door, I hear a faint

like something dragging itself closer. I hear the
of something meaty and heavy, like the sound of an object
down the stairs. One at a time.
The sound changes.
And then I hear a giggle.

This strange tale is peppered throughout with journal entries written by various characters. These entries - presented as journal pages or handwritten notes - add a visual richness to the book. Going one step further, letter placement and font size are sometimes manipulated to infuse additional meaning. It's a technique not often used in print, one that makes this book unique.

The story itself has dark undertones and the creep factor occasionally hits a high note:

There is a flash of a different monster in her eyes and I shrink back. I don't like it when she looks like Daddy. I look over at the tall, smiling man in the corner but [she] doesn't seem to mind him staring at us, even though he has no eyes, so I go back to being very, very still.

The book's only flaw is its cryptic approach to storytelling. Much of the time it's easy to follow, but there are moments when what transpires on the page is baffling. It's the author's use of language - both sensory and haunting - that holds the reader hostage to this unnerving story.

The farther I travel through Python, the trees of which thrash and move around me in the wind like dancing voodoo priests, the deeper the mud gets.
Before I know it, I'm wading through icy mud that clings and sticks and squelches as I go.

And the Trees Crept In is a chilling tale with unexpected twists where fantasy elements creep into the real world and readers are escorted to shadowy places where nightmares roam.
Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,572 followers
August 1, 2022
3 stars to Dawn Kurtagich's And the Trees Crept In, a suspense and horror novel that at points I wanted to give a 5, but at others, a 1. It was insanity wrapped up in a bowl of champagne (pure delight which I love) spoiled by mushrooms (the devil's lurid food which I hate) and so forth. I settled on a 3... but not convinced of it.

Silla and Nori show up on their aunt's doorstep far away from their parents' home, claiming their mother sent them for a visit. Aunt Cath finds it strange and worries that "he'll never let them leave," thus beginning the horror and suspense. As time progresses, Cath begins to go crazy and the trees that surround the house (initially hundreds of feet away) start creeping closer day by day. They hear voices. They see ghosts. They fear World War 3 has begun. The mail stops. And then it gets even crazier... Cath tells them the "Creeper Man" has come back, but then she disappears to the attic where she paces the floor nightly. Suffice to say... nothing is what it seems, and the crazy continues until the last twenty pages when it all comes together. But the path there is quite confounding and elaborate. <>

The story is compelling. Two little girls frightened by either their imagination or something dark and real. But it happens every generation, just as it did to the girls' mother and aunts. With each page, you feel the drama exploding and you are very intensely interested in what's real and what's blurry. You will definitely be drawn in by the characters and the plot.

Too little is left out. Until the end, you really don't know the time frame of the story. Once you realize they are talking about World War 3, you realize it's in the future, but uncertain how far. You know it's in England, as they reference London a few times, but no real knowledge other than that. I believe it's intentional, but I think it could have been done in a more clear way.

The formatting alters too frequently. Sometimes you are reading journal entries, sometimes you are reading narrative. The voice changes as character views change. I understand it's intentional, and necessary in order to keep some of the story's secrets, but I feel like it could have been done in a stronger way. For example (without giving away any secrets), more about what happened to the original young sisters should have been more dramatic, scary and eventful. We knew something happened, but not exactly what it was. If it had been more intense, the impact on the newer generation could have been more dramatic instead of erratic. Drama and suspense coming from reality is far more scary than something you know will end up being "made up."

Final Thoughts
I found myself skimming the middle section a bit. It got repetitive. The editor should have cut about 25% of the middle to make room for true action and scare, instead of the over-use of the same words and dreams. It would have propelled the story much more, and likely created even more of a fear-factor. That said, it is still an interesting read, worth a gander for those who are fan of a mega twist, fear and the past-come-back-to-haunt-you. But go in with open eyes as you will read the same words over and over again until the point you need to word-vomit. I think that's a new term... :)
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
March 8, 2023
While the positive reviews for And the Trees Crept In have been rolling in for the past few months, I'm left wondering, What did I miss? What a totally random, poorly written book.

The cover is unbelievably stunning and the premise sounds so intriguing: It follows Silla and Nori, two sisters who move into their aunt Cath's spooky old manor. But Silla can't help feeling like the woods outside the house are creeping closer—and then there's the story about the Creeper Man in the woods.

The beginning actually wasn't that bad, but after a few chapters I started to realize what a bunch of nonsense this book consisted of. I think the author was going for an artsy writing style, but it seriously made me feel dizzy to read.

It was full of bold text, diary entries,
• the main character
• loved to make
• random lists
sudden font changes,
and random words were in italics for no apparent reason.

^If you got a headache trying to read that sentence, then imagine a whole book written like that. I know the artsy style appeals to a lot of people, but it felt like a painful, rambling mess to me. It seems like authors who want to appear "different" these days will just change their book's format, when it doesn't actually do anything to enhance the story. Oh, I'll just add some bold text there—voilà! Instant originality!

The plot was confusing and unintelligible. One minute Silla was worried about her sister, the next a random boy showed up in the garden, her aunt Cath was nowhere to be found, and Silla couldn't seem to eat food. Plus, it seems kind of logical that if you're living in a haunted house near some cursed woods, you should just, like, leave the house. Instead, there was a whole lot of drama when the characters could have taken the easy way out.

And then there's the romance. Ugh, it was so cringy and cliché between two starry eyed teens. I felt nothing between them. After barely knowing each other Gowan was telling Silla "I love you." I just couldn't bring myself to care about their instalove relationship.

The summary sells this book as "achingly beautiful" with "chilling language that delivers haunting scenes." I disagree. I thought the writing was nonsensical, inexperienced, and unenjoyable. The "suspense" was laughable. This was a weak mystery at best; not a horror novel.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews894 followers
October 30, 2019
I really loved this until the story started to come to an end. I passionately hate the ending.
It was such a lazy, uncreative conclusion to this otherwise very unique story!! I'm so upset lol.


Seriously, she was dead all along?? This is so old and overused aaah. That's the same shit as the "it was all just a dream" ending! Hell no. That takes away all of the horror of the book. It's stupid.
Profile Image for ♛ may.
806 reviews3,792 followers
August 17, 2017
Full review posted:

Do you like creepy?
Do you like horror?
Do you enjoy not being able to sleep without the lights being on?

If you answered yes or no to either of these questions then…..YOU NEED TO PICK UP THIS BOOK !!!!!

You’re probably thinking ‘omg may that’s a teRRIBLE idea’ and im here to tell you that it is but you love to make horrible decisions anyways so why not.

And besides, if I, the person who literally reblogs those ‘pass-this-on-or-you-will-die’ images on tumblr can handle this book, then you most definitely can – I hope just like don’t blame me if you have any traumatic experiences, im not paying for any therapy bills


So this book is freaky as hell and the ominous black pages and the creepy scrawls and the Creeper Man (aka Slender Man) really don’t help the cause. 11/10 would recommend to read it on a bright, sunny, happy day with lots of lights and surrounded by glitter and ponies and marshmallows

Anyways, silla and nori are such incredible characters, even though you aren’t trapped in a haunted mansion you somehow relate to their situation and feel pain on their behalf. Gowan’s a little cutie and I wanna protect him from everything, poor baby. The aunt creeped the hell out of me and still does to this day, bye bye auntie

And the writing, DAMN, it was so addictive and it like makes your body thrum with nerves, absolutely amazing.

I swear guys, I was reading it late at night and early in the morning even though I knew I was making one of the most regrettable decisions of my life but I just COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN

The ending kinda threw it off for me. Like I LOVED the buildup and honestly the book warns you that the ending might be bleak (bc that just makes it more //realistic//) but idk I just DIDN’T SEE THE ENDING COMING even though it was //kinda// anticlimactic

NOT TO SAY THAT IT WASN’T GREAT, BUT IT WAS. So don’t be persuaded against the book. Go buy a cute stuffed teddy bear and this book and curl up in bed and freak yourself out with the book (or maybe skip the teddy bear, stuffed animals always creeped me out)


i think i found my new favourite genre.

“Things can stay safe for long
they can pretend to fit
but then you hear Discord's song
and things crack bit by bit.”

4.5 stars!!!


dont worry @ everyone not that anyone was worried but i got my big sister buddy reading to protect me from the terrors that are this book

if this book shook sana, then you best be scared. i have one hour until bed time and my brain is saying this is a bad idea but my heart is also saying this is a bad idea wants this

pray for me 😐
Profile Image for Hilly.
701 reviews1,261 followers
February 8, 2017
I'm so glad it's over.
And you call this scary??

I was so excited to read this book. Everyone says it's scary as hell and I was expecting a book that could make me cry from fear. I know I'm not easy to scare, but this one wasn't even creepy. Like AT ALL.
There was maybe some weird imagery (mam sewing hair in her leg, teeth falling etc.) that kind of stuck to my mind, but it didn't give me the creeps.
Everything else was boring. Silla keeps repeating the whole book how something is wrong and that the trees are coming closer.
Every single page till three quarters in, when something begins to get explained. And might I say, what a stupid conclusion.
The love story was cheesy as hell, it made me gag. Now that I think about it, perhaps that was the most disgusting and horror-ish detail in this novel.
What I liked was the creativity of the format and the increasing size of words on the page in moments of climax (if you want to call them that) that gave a lot of expressiveness to the book.
757 reviews2,346 followers
October 3, 2016
3 3/4 stars.

Holy fuckballs (don't even ask me what fuckballs are) this book destroyed me. This was one creepy and brilliant masterpiece. My eyeballs were glued to the page. I actually shivered from the chills and I could not stop reading this.

The plot, the characters, the creepiness was so perfect. I haven't read this much of a good horror book in ages. This book made me want to crawl under the covers and cry.

When Silla and Nora escape their abusive father and arrive to the blood manor everything is cupcake and rainbows. Good things don't last forever.

●This book is a huge mindfuck. I thought I was going to go boopers. Since I was reading at night alone on the couch, I constantly found myself looking back because I swear I thought shadows were behind me. I shivered at least three times while reading this.

●The writing was bloody brilliant. It was vivid and detailed and I actually could find myself imagining the whole story as I read. I loved how the author described and wrote everything out. I loved how the creepy shit unfolded and how I just couldn't stop reading. It's like this book took over my brain.

●I loved the characters. I loved Silla. I loved Nora. I loved Gowan. I loved Cath. I connected so much with Silla and Gowan. I was able to feel her maddness, fear and anger. (I don't know if thats a good thing. ;-;) Gowans desperation for Silla to escape the manor and trying to help her and love her.

I would have given this book 5 stars, but the ending ruined it. I was quite confused at the end and all that information was hard to absorb. I feel like the author ruined the book because of the ending.

Overall, I loved this creepy book. If you need something that will make you uncomfortable in your own skin, then read this.

P.S did The Creeper Man remind anyone of Slenderman?
Profile Image for Jiana.
296 reviews817 followers
August 20, 2017
Buddy read with my little sister because she was too scared to read it alone. 💖

Result: Annoying little sister and I were not scared, but creeped out.

I don't really know how to write reviews for horror novels (personally, I think this book is more of a thriller, but anyway) this is the first "horror" novel I've read. I'll try. I also don't read too much thriller because they rarely succeed in keeping me one edge. But I'm so excited this one did! I kinda fully judge a thriller by that (in addition to the usual writing... bla bla).

So this book is creepy. Like really creepy. The writing is so addictive, it makes you want to keep on reading because you're 100% confused the entire time and also on edge because you want to know what the hell!! is!! going!! on!! It's such a page turner, despite it dragging near the end, but yes. Go read that book! The writing makes you feel with the characters. Makes you feel their pain and their tragedy and ugh, just wow. And the writing's anything but simplistic. Dawn Kurtagich is a pro!

The characters were so well developed. Silla, Nori and Gowan are my precious babies. They have so much depth and I got so emotionally attached to them within a very short period of time.

Now, the ending. How do I feel about it? I still don't know honestly. It was definitely unexpected, but I'm not sure I 100% like it. It's a weird ending.

Definitely recommended!
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
858 reviews3,756 followers
November 21, 2018
Started to feel drawn out and repetitive around the middle, but pulled itself together in the end. The end is a little strange but I appreciate that Kurtagich actually provided answers and reasons.

If you liked 'The Haunting of Hill House' on Netflix, I think you would definitely enjoy this creepy house.

Audio review: 5 stars. Narrated by Polly Lee. Character voicing was good. The audio production utlizes background music, sound effects, voice distortion, and overlaid background whispering to up the creep factor. In short, the audiobook was PURE NIGHTMARE FUEL. I could only listen during the day and I STILL had freaky dreams. EVEN MY CAT WAS FREAKED OUT by some of the voice effects.

Do I recommend Print or Audio?: The audiobook was such a production that I grabbed a copy of the print book to see if it had special formatting. There are some letters and diary entries "photocopied" into some pages, but overall I think the audiobook offers a more chilling experience. It built the tension in a way I don't think the print could capture. Definitely go the audio route if you can.

tw: this REALLY spiked my anxiety while reading. Child abuse, bugs, starvation, hanging, hauntings.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
274 reviews722 followers
November 8, 2018
I think the on screen adaption of And the Trees Crept In would be delightfully creepy. As a novel it's messy, repetitive, and not remotely scary.

Also - I cannot STAND when extra, unnecessary formats are used in a book. They RARELY help move the story along and I think in this instance they were used more as a distraction than anything.

Like, ooh, here's a creepy poem at the beginning of each chapter to make you think this book is scarier than it actually is and LET ME JUST THROW IN SOME SIZE 46

Yeah, this is called filler and I am not falling for it.
Profile Image for Dawn Kurtagich.
Author 9 books1,348 followers
August 20, 2016
Update: The final pass pages (and final read) has been done for the book (both US and UK editions) and I'm so so so proud of this little book.

Trees sinisterly closing in, family legacy of pain, boy who she wants to love but can't = my book!

This book is a surreal little book full of weird. I quite like it!

It's the story of Silla Daniels, a girl who is trying to save her little sister, and inadvertently puts her in more danger than ever. But also, it's about a girl trying to find herself, her path, and trying to figure out which way is the right way when everything is melting away all around her. This is a love story, and a love story between sisters.

It is also a little bit creepy, because that's how I roll.

UPDATE: I'm so excited to welcome this book to the UK today, officially! It's 02:01 am and that means, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY WEIRD, ODD LITTLE BOOK!!!
Profile Image for Molly.
456 reviews128 followers
October 29, 2016
I picked this book up because I wanted a creepy, atmospheric Halloween read. I’d seen a lot of good things about this book, and I generally enjoyed the author’s previous novel, THE DEAD HOUSE.
Turns out this book was basically the same premise as THE DEAD HOUSE. Two sisters, a haunted house, one of them thinking that they’re crazy.

AS THE TREES CREPT IN starts off with Silla and her little sister Nori showing up at their “crazy” Aunt Cath’s manor house in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the woods. This book is set in the UK, about four-some hours outside of London. Silla’s appearance is and isn’t shocking to Cath. We get the sense that Sill and Nori fled and abusive father. Nori is mute, she can’t make ANY sound, and she has a deformed arm.

At the beginning of Silla and Nori’s time with their Aunt things are good. They eat delicious food, tend the garden and play around. But Cath starts to slowly lose her mind, and when Nori almost goes into the surrounding woods, Cath snaps. Apparently Cath and her younger sisters know that something sinister is in the woods, waiting for them, watching them…

Sounds freaky right? Well… it wasn’t. There was NOTHING scary about this book. I did enjoy the creepiness: the house was rotting, sinking into the earth, the girls were growing mold on their bodies, the food was falling to pieces, the trees were DEF creeping in… but then the “villain” in the book was… get ready… named… The CREEPER MAN. What. The Fuck. That name is NOT scary at all. Like. Idk. Every time I would read that name I would just roll my eyes. I get it, the names of our terrors aren’t that frightening: Slender Man, The Boogey Man, etc. But for me, “creeper” isn’t really a scary thing, just a weird or kinda off thing. People that are described as creepers are usually gross or perverted, not really terrifying.

So Aunt Cath loses her mind after Nori almost goes into the woods and locks herself in the attick… FOR THREE YEARS. Like at this point of the book I was starting to really lose interest. It wasn’t scary, nothing was happening, the writing IS AWUFL, and then the Aunt leaves these two girls (ages 14 and 4) ALONE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WOODS FOR THREE YEARS. Like how is that even POSSIBLE?! And she left them with a warning to NOT go into the woods because ~The Creeper Man~ will get them.

At this point Nori and Silla are starving and there’s only a little food left and the garden is dying and there’s no rain (despite it raining and storming almost EVERY OTHER PAGE) and the village across the way (through the woods) is abandoned (because apparently world war III is coming??? This was another super random thing that was tossed in here and there that had NOTHING to do with the story) and Silla went a few times (even though she was told not to go into the woods and later on REFUSES to leave because she can’t go into the woods… uh, okay…) and then this boy who used to live at the manor (when it was an orphanage) just shows up out of nowhere and Nori loves him and Silla hates him and then they have this brief love-hate relationship where Silla doesn’t want him around but does and then she FORCES him to leave and they run out of food and Silla’s teeth and hair start to fall out and then she GETS MAD at the boy (Gowan) for leaving. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON AT THIS POINT.
Gowen FINALLY comes back and is so sorry that he left (even though Silla had forced him to) and Gowan declares his love for Silla even though they’ve never shared ANYTHING significant, and they spend a lot of time in the library while Nori is off playing games in the basement with The Creeper Man. When Silla finally realizes that Nori has been playing with the Creeper Man she freaks out and then Nori LEAVES with the Creeper man. At this point the trees have SUPER crept in and the house is not only surrounded but the trees are INSIDE the house. Crazy Cath is still in the attic and the trees basically eat her and then Silla and Gowen have to go find Nori, which means going into the woods which is THE WORST THING EVER (even though Silla has gone into them a few times and Gowen had to have come from somewhere). So Silla and Gowen are running around searching for Nori and in the middle of it all, in the middle of this haunted wood, THEY DECIDE TO HAVE SEX. I kid you not. They are so in love that they have to pause their hunt for Nori WHO COULD BE IN SUPER DANGER and have sex.

They finally find Nori and she’s dead and Silla loses her mind and then she FINALLY realizes that… THEY ARE ALL DEAD AND THE PAST 300 PAGES OF BOOK HAVE BEEN ABOUT SILLA BEING IN HER OWN PURGATORY. I was SO MAD when I got to that point. Apparently all of the suffering that they had been through had been “clues” that the book was throwing at me to lead me to knowing that they were all dead. Only nope, those clues only made sense if they were REVELED IN THAT CONTEXT. Other than that Silla being hungry all of the time (because she was starving to death next to her dead sister’s body) Cath’s creaking sounds in the attic (because she had hung herself, not because she was pacing), Gowan’s disappearance (because he went to find supplies for them before Silla died) and reappearance (because he had finally died as an old man and was able to find Silla again in ~the afterlife~) none of this was pointing to the fact that they were DEAD.


Oh and this book is weirdly dated. It takes place in 2013 apparently and they live in the woods for three years without any TV or internet, and yet Silla is throwing around phrases like “first world problems” and apparently watched a lot of Japanese and Korean horror movies… when she was a kid? At age 14 and younger? While living in this horrific abusive household with a father that was super controlling and wouldn’t let them do anything? Just some of the very “current” things that Silla would say really hit me as weird because… where did she learn that?! HOW?!

And my BIGGEST MOST RAGE-IEST issue with this book was when Silla couldn’t eat (because she was malnourished, had no food, was trying to save food for her sister, was taking care of her sister, was only 17 and living in an abandoned haunted house, had none to care for her ect) at one point thought that the reason she wasn’t able to eat was because she “was anorexic or had a stomach bug”. At the end after she found out that the reason she was always starving in her purgatory was due to starving to death she even commented again that she “thought she was anorexic”.

PEOPLE. FUCKING HELL. WHAT EVEN IS THIS. Anorexia isn’t just “I can’t eat”. It is a fucking EATING DISORDER WHERE YOU DON’T EAT BECAUSE YOU HAVE A FEAR OF GAINING WEIGHT AND WANT TO BE THIN. IT IS AN ACTUAL DISEASE THAT IS SERIOUS AND NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU JUST “GET”. IT IS NOT JUST “I CAN’T EAT AND I DON’T KNOW WHY”. OH MY GOD. This part of the book made me RAGEFUL and at the point that I had read it I was thinking about DNFing but then I just kept on rage reading because I knew that I had to write this rage review.

DO NOT BOTHER WITH THIS BOOK. The characters are one dimensional, it’s not scary at all. Nothing makes sense until you get to the stupid ‘big reveal” and then you’ll just be angry because ~it was all a dream~. Just no with this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tom Lewis.
Author 8 books182 followers
December 27, 2017
Ho-ly fracking crap! I have never read such a mind frack (Battlestar Gallactica fans will get the expletive). This book was terrifying, in a “don’t read before bed” way, bizarre, twisting, and… wait for it… emotional. I can almost guarantee you will not predict the ending; and it packs such an emotional punch, it’ll leave you staring into space replaying it over and over in your head. 5 stars!
Profile Image for Krystin | TheF**kingTwist.
465 reviews1,731 followers
August 23, 2022
Book Blog | Bookstagram

“Rotting in your skin, rotting in your mind. You are rotting in this house. In this house you'll die.”

This book is a love story between sisters. It's a love story about a boy who can't love. It's a story about a teenage girl trying to decide what decisions are best, while carrying guilt and confusion and stumbling through her reality, unsure and uneasy.

But, mostly it's creepy AF.

"He's out there," I say, turning back to the window. "Always watching. Getting stronger."

I listened to this book on audio, and I have to say it's probably the most interesting, engaging, well-done audiobook I've ever listened to. I almost felt like I was back in the days where there was no TV. Where families gathered around the radio to listen to shows. The narration was beautiful and bold.

So, I recommend it if you can.

This story was haunting in a way that was both tangible and abstract, leaving me feeling sometimes lost and uncomfortable, but in a visceral way. This story was always moving, always changing direction, so I never truly knew which way was up or down or sideways or under. The descriptions and setting were on another level, creating a feeling of claustrophobia, and even a little dread. And the feeling of hysteria and panic that was constantly building through misdirection was truly unnerving.

My rating boils down to a couple of things that irked me. One, the overall cryptic approach to the storytelling. While the atmosphere was A+, a lot of other description was missing.

And then there was the ending. It felt bulky and lacked the finesse that the rest of the story had mastered. Too much information was jammed together in order to explain the otherwise unexplainable.

I wouldn't call this a "scary" story. But I would call it haunting and compelling, and in the end, sad. And those aspects, if nothing else, were *chef's kiss*

⭐⭐⭐⭐ | 4 stars
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,722 reviews670 followers
December 31, 2018
This is a difficult book to review because it was a difficult book to read. Much of the story was repetitive, confusing and dreamlike and honestly I think I was too distracted at this moment in time to allow myself to fall into its world. I also had difficulty connecting to the characters. It felt like reading a pitch black fable of yore.

Here's what it's sort of about: two young girls and their aunt are trapped in a house infected by madness. They cannot leave as the woods won’t allow it and they are slowly starving to death. There is a love interest that bravely makes his way into the house who may or may not be a nefarious character. I admit I groaned when he entered the scene because I was not in the mood for any teen angsty romance but I quickly grew to appreciate his character and it didn’t go the way I feared it might.

This book has some truly haunting images within and a reveal that makes sense of the confusion that I suffered through for most of the story. This is why I'm so afraid to DNF a book. Once in a while a book will turn around and prove me all kinds of wrong. This one did that.

If you enjoy dreamy writing and ghastly images and can go with the confusing flow, you might enjoy this as much as most of the other reviewers here did. Me? I’ll have to try again when I’m less distracted by life.
Profile Image for Jennifer Gruenke.
Author 1 book132 followers
January 6, 2019
This. Book. Was. Insane. Bonkers. Madness until the end. My eyes were glued to the pages and my thoughts ran something like this: "What the hell is happening? What is going on? What just happened? This is so effed up. What even is this? Holy shit. Oh my God. What?"


Because it takes a lot for a book to freak me out, this one gets high points for giving me the actual creeps. Fuck La Baume. I'm never staying in a big house in the woods, ever.

The writing is exceptional. I felt like I was in Silla's head. When she was upset or in pain, spaces disappeared and sentences ran on and on. When she was frightened or confused or horrified, there were line breaks and individual words. The whole book has this poetic, almost lyrical, feel to it. Which is probably why it was so unsettling.

The unsettling atmosphere makes And the Trees Crept In worth a read. Perfect for October.

But don't blame me if you have to sleep with the lights on.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
September 4, 2016
3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2016/09/04/...

After chilling readers with her debut YA novel The Dead House last year, Dawn Kurtagich is back with another horror tale about two sisters trapped in a house surrounded by a haunted wood…and is it just their imagination or are the trees slowly closing in? Since I had such a good time with The Dead House, when the publisher sent me an ARC of And the Trees Crept In, I just knew I had to give this one a try.

As a girl growing up in London, Silla Daniels had always heard stories about La Baume, the blood red manor that was her mother’s childhood home. It sounded like the perfect place, like a peaceful haven nestled safely in an enchanted forest. So one night, after their abusive and alcoholic father goes a step too far, Silla decides to pack up and escape with her younger sister Nori. Their destination: La Baume, where Silla knows that Aunt Cath, Mam’s older sister, still lives.

When the two girls arrive, Cath welcomes them in with open arms. And for a while, things are wonderful. Things are safe. But then they hear whisperings that a war is coming. The women hunker down at La Baume, where the surrounding woods keep them pretty isolated so they’re used to living off the grid. Not too long afterwards though, a madness seems to come over Cath. One day, the older woman retreats to the attic and never comes down again. Even though Silla still leaves plates of food at the attic door and can hear the constant creaking of Cath’s footsteps overhead, she knows she has lost her beloved aunt forever. Three years pass with only Silla taking care of Nori and Cath, all alone and struggling to survive. La Baume is not the magical place Silla imagined; now she knows it’s cursed. The woods won’t let them leave, and she thinks she can sense someone (or something?) out there, just waiting to take Nori the moment she lets her guard down.

Honestly, I thought The Dead House was pretty weird when I read it last year, but I have to say this one is even weirder. And it’s not just the story; it’s the entire structure and style of the novel. Whereas The Dead House was written entirely in the epistolary format, And the Trees Crept In only has random sections where it tries to include snippets of notes and journal entries, and sad as I am to admit this, it didn’t work nearly as well here. I was frequently bothered by the “creative” formatting and use of font sizes and styles, and together with the disjointed prose, at times it almost felt like reading bad poetry. The only positive I can think to this is the way it shows Silla’s state of mind her slow journey to becoming completely unhinged (unreliable narrator alert!) but on the whole I thought it was needlessly showy and a little gimmicky.

Not gonna lie, but that had an extremely negative impact on my overall experience. As a character, Silla was…problematic. The writing made it very hard for me to understand her, and that also made it very hard to like her. It’s one thing to be unable to connect with your main protagonist, but because most of the book is written in Silla’s rambling narrative, it was impossible to get a good sense of any of the characters either—Nori, Cath, or Gowan, the mysterious handsome boy who just appears out of the woods one day. And speaking of Gowan, there’s also a romance arc that will feel very strange at first. Not long after he and Silla meet, the word “love” gets tossed around like candy, and it just made me want to scream because not once did this book make me feel there was anything between them.

This could have gone very badly indeed, but ultimately I think what saved this book for me was the ending. I admit that for most of the story I was confused, frustrated, and I didn’t even feel it was all that creepy. But the final reveal at the end made everything make sense! In fact, I’m still a little shocked at how well everything tied together. I can’t go into any more detail without revealing spoilers, so I’ll just say that pretty much everything I had an issue with had some sort of resolution and that went a long way in salvaging the overall experience. So much so that I thought this book deserved three stars rather than the two I was prepared to give. I still have major issues with the writing style, and my feelings about that haven’t changed. Story-wise, however, things actually turned out really interesting.

So would I recommend this book? That would depend on a few factors, I guess. Personally, the choppy writing and the style of the novel made my head hurt, but if you’re okay with the wonky use of font design, font size, “sliding text”, and other such formatting devices to portray a character’s descent into madness (after a few chapters of this, I felt pretty insane myself) it probably wouldn’t be an issue. Otherwise, choosing the audio version could be a good alternative, and I can’t help thinking I might have enjoyed this book a lot more had I done the same. In the end, I thought the story outcome made everything worth it though, even if it does take a bit of patience to see it all come together. I think readers who are fans of YA and horror will get a kick out of this, so go ahead and give And the Trees Crept In a shot if you think it sounds like something you’ll enjoy.
Profile Image for Nicay.
258 reviews92 followers
February 7, 2017

Review also posted on The Nerdy Side of a Queen

Cause: Memories are suppressed so the girl can survive.

Effect: A girl grows a granite heart.


I can’t believe I finished reading it without any symptoms of heart attack. The story was just so very creepy and mind-blowing.

Two sisters escaped from their father after they beaten without any reason. They escape and went to their Aunt Cathy at La Baume mansion.

Prisilla Daniels or Silla was the elder sister and she really loves her younger sister Eleanor or Nori for short. They taught they would end up happy and safe with her aunt.

But as her aunt told about The Creeper Man, the crazy things has been started.

Their aunt went crazy, the roots were closer and a mysterious guy keeps coming at the mansion.

Well, I wouldn’t tell all the details in the story because you need to see for yourself because it was incredibly beautiful in a scary way.

The effect of this story for me was really a headache, not bad but a good headache. It was not only a goosebumps-worthy, but the twists and turns were really intriguing.

If the characters were real, they will be really good actors and actresses. I was watching not in the 3D cinema, but in an actual on-stage play.

Silla, her grief, range anger and hopelessness – I really felt it.

There was really a moment that I want to shout her that she needs to forgive herself. But, as usual, I need to wait for the ending part.

And I was really shocked at myself that all the missing pieces in the first half have been united in the last few chapters. And I was like...


And the last few chapter, it was so...

This story, it not only gives a mind blowing experiences but also a lesson that may apply to all of us.

5/5 star goosebumps for this book!

Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
509 reviews365 followers
February 12, 2018
“We have no right to children if despair is all we bring with us.”

Trigger Warning: Mental illness, suicide, child abuse.

If you are looking for horror this is probably not the book for you but if you want a psychological thriller that will make you question your own sanity than look no further!

Honestly, this is why I don't trust Goodreads for ratings on YA thrillers/horror. It's just like horror films, anything different gets a very low rating from the mainstream audience. In my opinion, this book deserves a higher rating than a 3.5 but since I'm a horror movie watcher - I'm pretty used to seeing these types of ratings. This story actually reminds me of the film The Babadook,it was marketed as a monster type book and was really a psychological thriller and therefore people weren't really in the mindset to get into it. I can totally understand and I think this book suffers from the same thing. Do not enter this book thinking it's going to center around "The Creeper Man" chasing these girls around, you will be sorely disappointed.

This is a hard book to review because it's honestly best to go into this one completely blind. I'm scared if I say too much that I might give away little parts of the story. I will say that story has to do with madness, grief and fear. It's done in a very haunting way and though I had my suspicions very early on about a couple of the reveals, I couldn't have guessed the full scope of what was going on. I literally felt like I was losing it with this characters at some points. And the Trees Crept In is a VERY slow burn but I never found myself even remotely bored - I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on with these young girls and the house that they were living in. Every time I thought I had something figured out, it threw me for another loop and I was confused again. "The Creeper Man" is obviously inspired by probably the most known internet Boogeyman - "The Slender Man." The description was pretty much dead on and it was effective. I don't know about you but "The Slender Man" scares the shit out of me.

Is this story scary? I don't really answer that type of question due to the fact that I'm a hardcore horror movie lover - so I'm fairly desensitized. I think it's like anything else, it just depends what scares you. I found the topic of madness in this story to be really disturbing and scary in its own right. I think there would be a lot of people that will find this book on the very creepy side.

The writing is hauntingly beautiful, the characters are well-developed and the mystery is a complete mind-fuck. I recommend this book if you like a slow burn. This is my second book by Dawn Kurtagich and she is now an auto-buy author for me.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
August 2, 2016
3.5 Stars

I had high expectations going into this, maybe a little too high because while I did like this, I didn't fall in love with it like I wanted to.

Don't get me wrong, it was good and definitely creepy at times but the writing also felt convoluted and the beginning was, not necessary slow but it did have a build up that took awhile to get there. To really get the feel of what was going on. We learn little by little exactly what the manor house is all about, what the creeper man is and of course what the story is of not only the aunts, but the girls themselves. It was however cleverly done with diary entries along the way that were as much nonsense as they were intriguing, it made me wonder more than once what exactly was happening and how much of it was real and how much of it was all in the mind of a very damaged and confused and maybe even crazy girl.

The setting however was fantastic and was everything I was hoping it would be. From the snakes in the toilets (eek!), to the creepy shifting noises at night to the trees that seemed to move while you weren't looking, it definitely added to the atmosphere of the story and made it worth reading. Not to mention the ending that completely through me for a loop and made me wonder what in the world I had missed. In fact, I think the twisty ending more than made up for the slower parts and the slightly off balance feel to the story.

While this wasn't a favorite of mine, it was by no means a bad read and for many, will even be a fantastic one.

*ARC copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Cameron Chaney.
Author 6 books1,837 followers
September 21, 2016
Three little girls
knelt by an alder

to summon a man
to be their protector.

the little girls found
their game hard to bear

when their protector turned
and gave them a scare!

Those three little girls were sisters living in a bright, beautiful manor. Fast-forwarding many years later, only one sister named Cath still lives in the house. A house that is now the color of blood...

One day, Cath's two nieces show up on her doorstep seeking shelter from their abusive father. Little do they know that they are walking from one bad situation into another, for there's a dark presence in the forest bordering the manor... a dark presence called The Creeper Man.

The rest of the story unfolds like a strange nightmare with twisting corridors that only lead deeper into a place you may not want to go... but I couldn't stop reading! What we get with Dawn's new book is a story of grief and the affects it has on a body physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yes, its psychoanalytical but it is not a boring yarn in the least bit. It is sure to haunt my thoughts when I'm alone on those dark, rainy nights. Highly recommended!

If you'd like to see my creepy video review, click HERE.
Profile Image for Julie Zantopoulos.
Author 4 books2,239 followers
March 23, 2020
It's impossible not to see that House of Leaves was an inspiration when it comes to this novel. The vibes are so similar, the growing tension, the evil spell the house casts on the inhabitants, the eerie sensory experiences inside. It's another super freaky Dawn Kurtagich novel and one that I thought was really well done.

CW: Domestic abuse, murder, permanent disfigurement, suicide, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, starvation, death of animals, body gore (a lot of teeth rotting/falling out), and death of family members (immediate).
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