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What the Woods Keep

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  859 ratings  ·  258 reviews
On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She's getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it's all catching up with her: her mother's mysterious disappearance a decade
352 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Imprint Macmillan
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Katya de Becerra Love this question – thanks so much for asking! As you rightly noticed, this book brings together several genres, namely dark (urban) fantasy, thrille…moreLove this question – thanks so much for asking! As you rightly noticed, this book brings together several genres, namely dark (urban) fantasy, thriller, mystery and science fiction. Without being spoilery, I can say that with this book I wanted to explore that murky area in our subconscious where logic meets belief – and where primal instincts kick in despite our best rational explanations. And blending several established genres together seemed like a perfect way to go! As for other examples of stories that mix genres… I really think genres are like rules that meant to be broken, though with caution (wouldn’t want to create a strange Frankenstein’s monster where the bits don’t fit!). Some examples where I think genre-blending worked really well are: Neil Gaiman’s American gods (adventure, mythology, fantasy), Libba Bray’s The Diviners (historical fiction, mystery and paranormal motifs), Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (horror, romance), and pretty much ANYTHING by Murakami (that man is a genius!). (less)
Elizabeth Capell Hi I am 13 and I read this book three to four going on five times in a row! So yeah, it's a YA book.…moreHi I am 13 and I read this book three to four going on five times in a row! So yeah, it's a YA book.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  859 ratings  ·  258 reviews

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Candace Robinson
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just knew I had to read this book when I saw the cover and read the blurb. Plus tress... trees... and trees!! 

Right off the bat, the writing draws the reader in with its alluring words. Hayden is an interesting character, and you really never know what's going on exactly with her. She's well developed and as the story goes on you find out more! There's present stuff, some past stuff, and a whole lot of I need to find out what's going on.

The book pretty much had everything—friendship, mystery,
Katya de Becerra
Note from the author: I’m beyond excited to share this book with you all! I'm obviously biased but I love this book, and hope you will too:)

A bit more about What the Woods Keep: It is first person POV; it is spooky; and it deals with topics very dear to me, namely unbreakable female friendships, complicated inter-generational relationships, and different ways people perceive the world. This book is also my love letter to urban/contemporary fantasy and its "tropes": a girl coming into her powers
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I liked that each chapter started with an explanation of theoretical physics in relation to the events in the book and the theme of female friendship. That's about it. I found the story to be pretty boring with forgettable characters and a generic romance in which the love interest's attitude towards the MC didn't make sense. I started to speed-read through the second half of the book just so that I could get it over with faster. Definitely a miss for me, and a book I'll soon forget. ...more
Kate (beautifulbookland)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
Holy crap, this book is good. Before I read it, I thought it sounded similar to The Hazel Wood (which I loved!) but once I started, I couldn’t really see any similarities apart from the creepy house (and the fact that I enjoyed both books immensely, of course).

Because, for me, The Hazel Wood had quite a whimsical, behind-a-pane-of-glass feel to it, where I knew what was going on but I wasn’t quite sure all the time.

But What the Woods Keep is written in a way that makes the story easy to follow
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The author of What the Woods Keep, Katya de Becerra, caught my attention by the fact that she is a Russian native, now an Australian, who learnt English by translating Queen songs with the aid of a Russian-English Dictionary. This is a great claim to fame and the fact that Katya de Becerra has published her first book in English is a noteworthy accomplishment. What the Woods Keep is a dark and swirling young adult novel that draws on themes of fantasy and my
Katherine Moore
Now that you have hopefully read the synopsis, which really doesn’t come close to explaining how thrilling and complex this book is, let me get into the deep, dark woods of Promise, Colorado. Don’t enter without being prepared to read something that will test your belief in the supernatural, at the same time as serve up facts about physics and give you a story steeped in myth and old blood rites.

This book feels like it blurs the lines between science-fiction, fantasy, and mystery, targeting a yo
Eliza ☽
Aug 20, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Look at this cover. I want to lick it.
Caryn Lix
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing, creepy, spooktacular book! What the Woods Keep is a unique blend of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror story all rolled into one. It gave me shivers down my spine and kept me awake at night, both because of the chill factor and just because I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

This book is everything you could want, from a spooky cabin in the woods to a massive conspiracy to a fantasy romance. Definitely check it out. It's so much fun in so many ways that you won't want to stop r
Dana L. Davis
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you like howling winds, ominous birds, dark woods, clouds casting shadows over a perfectly creepy town, blood (okay you don’t have to like blood) cryptic messages, mystery and intensely likeable heroines in the midst of it all…you will LOVE this book as much as I did. It was the perfect blend of sci-fi, mystery and fantasy. But this is not your average fantasy. It’s the kind of fantasy that makes you double bolt the door before you go to bed and maybe even leave on a light or two to ward off ...more
Wow! What The Woods Keep was unlike anything I've ever read!!!

A delicious slow-burn mystery that darkens and spirals as it progresses, becoming more complex and fleshed out the deeper into the eponymous woods it ventures.

Exquisitely researched and doing a seamless job blending contemporary fantasy with theoretical physics and suspenseful psychological horror, this book sucks you in slowly but surely.

An immersive, claustrophobic, cerebral read that will imprint itself on your mind long after y
andrea caro
I am not entirely sure what to rate this or how to explain it. RTC. Weird book.
Derek Milman
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a pulse-pounding, nail-biting thriller.

Hayden lives in her Brooklyn apartment with her roommate and best friend Del. They're an unlikely odd couple; Del who is fashion and makeover obsessed, and Hayden who would like nothing more than to exist with a wardrobe of Doc Martens and hoodies, but something about their friendship works.

When Hayden has to go back to the Manor, the house she grew up in, and where her life was changed traumatically, Del decides to tag along for sp
T.M. Hall
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What the Woods Keep is a real high-tension page turner with a dash of humor to give relief from holding your breath from time to time. The setting of the woods adds to the mysterious and creepy feel of every page, and the aha moments are superbly satisfying. If you’re a thriller/mystery lover, this is a great new debut author to get hooked on.
Jess ✩
I am definitely going to have an in-depth review on my blog soon, but this was amazing. I can't even express or fully form words to tell you how good this was, only that you need to put it on your radar.

Definitely one of my favorites of the year and that ending!! How am i supposed to survive
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Honestly, this novel wasn't too bad, although the beginning was difficult to get through. The beautiful cover did help me read through the entire book. ...more
Lucia DiStefano
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a stellar debut from a stellar author. The minute I started it, I felt like I was in capable authorial hands as I read, because I actually got lost in the story and forgot there was an author at all! I loved walking alongside Hayden in the journey to find out the truth about what happened to her mother that fateful night a decade ago, and, in the process, find out the truth about herself. I loved walking alongside her even when I had to proverbially cover my eyes because I ...more
Stephanie Makin
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might be the first YA novel I've ever read, and I really enjoyed it! It had everything i'd expected from a novel of this genre: best friends, young love, coming-of-age drama, and a lot more too. It was impressively researched, mixing fantasy with science; deep-diving into various scientific/philosophical concepts throughout which added depth to the story. The writing was very clever, including witty dialogue and quirky one-liners and I enjoyed the film references throughout. The plot includ ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really think the author has tried doing something UNIQUE here. Now, this book may not be for everyone, but I hope a lot of readers give this a chance. I, for one, really enjoyed it! Hayden's first POV narration is immersive, and the way her strange mind works goes so great together with the menacing darkening atmosphere of this eerie world. I had genuine goosebumps and hair standing on ends when reading some of the creepiest moments in this debut. And can I say how much I freaking loved all th ...more
Tara Gilboy
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WHAT THE WOODS KEEP was the perfect way to start off my summer reading list. Part fairy tale, part science fiction, part horror, this novel takes the best parts of these genres and blends them into something completely unique, satisfying, and new. One of my favorite parts of this novel was the way it unfolded in layers, mixing Hayden’s narrative with other documents -- letters, medical notes, scientific journal entries, and transcripts -- each element offering a piece of the puzzle and leaving m ...more
Maxine Kaplan
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was so. damn. good. Lush and creepy, with a totally unique yet totally relatable heroine. I LOVED the way this book pinned logic and science against fantasy and primal fear--and managed to find the common ground between them in a deeply incisive way. A fast, frantic, fascinating read. Very highly recommended for anyone interested in mythology, psychology, or just some good scares.
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Hayden Holland has lived an extraordinary life. The daughter of a renowned physicist, Hayden vividly remembers the wilderness of Promise Colorado, an adventure beside her vivacious mother into the neighbouring forest surrounding the Holland Manor residence. Until her mother disappeared, Thomas Holland impetuously relocating his daughter to New York.

Hayden has inherited the Holland Manor, her mother declared deceased in absentia and bequeathing the now abandoned estate upon rigorous conditions. D
Jan 29, 2020 added it
Shelves: unfinished, ya
I only made it to page 30 on this one. Since I don't like either the characters or the writing I don't see much point in forcing myself on just to see if the woods/house/mystery part is interesting.

De Becerra's writing especially suffers from wanting to be better than it is -- too many unneeded similes and words used improperly. Some readers will not be bothered, but it distracted me too much.

These were all within a couple pages:

-"Schrödinger's cat" is not "elusive". (Oddly, this would have made
Vicky Again
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist
4.5 stars

I spent a really long time debating whether I wanted to give this 4 or 4.5 stars, and eventually I gave up and just decided I wanted to round up because I ultimately enjoyed this, hence the 4.5.

What the Woods Keep is a dark, genre-bending novel which twists science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, contemporary, and paranormal themes all together into one explosion of a book. And de Becerra does a fantastic job of putting it all together without making it feel like a mess.

The premise and plot
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dearly beloved today we mourn the result of a book with a perfect beginning that was quickly unraveled and left with so many loose ends you almost wish you could disappear into the forest yourself.

“What the Woods Keep” opens with so much promise giving us young woman who is trying to put the past behind her when she discovers that she has inherited her childhood home that she and her father fled after her mother’s strange disappearance. Upon her return she finds that things are just as strange
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read this book genre, but I found WTWK to be a very enjoyable and fascinating read. Combining theoretical physics and sci-fi/thriller elements with Nordic mythology and family/friendship human aspects, it was a perfect blend of fast-paced action, teen charm and a dash of spooky. ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, 2018
4/5 STARS. This review can also be found on my BLOG!

While I don't celebrate Halloween, What The Woods Keep fits the theme perfectly and this novel was delightfully spooky!

After reading the blurb to this book, I was immediately intrigued because I'm really loving mysteries and thrillers. Complete shock and utter surprise though, when this book turns out to become an urban fantasy/sci-fi novel as well.

Firstly, thank you so much to Allen & Unwin Australia for kindly sending me this review copy at
Karlita | Tale Out Loud
Actual rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you were like me who thought to watch Supernatural, starting from its pilot episode, and reading this book was the perfect combo, please do me a favor to do it in daylight. Because the moment I picked this book, I quickly sense that eerie atmosphere within the story.

Katya de Becerra lures the readers in with the mystery behind Hayden’s character who has this weird and odd personality. Not only the way how she has different colored eyes because that’s basic
Lucy Resnik
A fantastic new voice in YA lit! This book is indescribable and totally new and unique! If you're into atmospheric, smart, unusual books, What The Woods Keep is for totally you.

(Also, I've read an advanced copy and it wasn't yet finalized for internal design, but I'm sure for the actual final book, the design is going to be mind-blowing - because it's a meta book, so it's got documents in it as part of the plot, and.... it's difficult to explain - it's gotta be read/seen - it'll be awesome!)
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't wait to read this book - a retelling of the Nibelungenlied? Yes please. And the book didn't disappoint. One of my favorite reads of the year so far! You can tell that the author's professional background shines through, and the book was the perfect mix of modern, ancient, myth and magic. It was creepy and spooky by turns, but I found it skated the edge of horror in just the right way (for me) and the reveal at the end didn't disappoint. Katya's prose is poetic and literary, but approa ...more
Adriann Fincher
This book is something truly different and unique.
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Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Ke ...more

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