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Where the Woods End

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  72 reviews
In a forest filled with treacherous beasts, the thing to be most afraid of is closer than you think in this middle grade horror fantasy.

Kestrel, a young huntress, lives in a seemingly endless forest crawling with dangerous beasts. But the most dangerous beasts of all are the Grabbers—beings that are born when you are and stalk you throughout your life, waiting for the perf
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 14th 2018 by Dial
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nothing to fear but everything here . . .

Dark, scary forests are a staple of most fairy tales, but the woods in this book are horrifying beyond belief: basically everything from the forest floor to the tree tops can KILL you.

The endless forest was dark as the back of a wolf's throat, and it was filled with countless horrors.

Twelve-year-old Kestrel knows the ways of the forest, and the terrors that lurk behind every tree. She is a huntress, forever on the lookout for grabbers - nightmarish monst
Armina Salemi
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hashtag if Tim burton wrote a book. :))
Enjoyable. Very!
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, middle-grade
I picked up Where the Woods End after my friend Steve Stred sent me a picture and asked if I'd read it yet. We were pretty excited by the sound of it and decided to do a buddy read.

First of all, this book encompasses a lot of what I love about MG. It was so imaginative, and I was captivated by it from the start. Second of all, Where the Woods End is the creepiest middle grade horror I've ever read! For some kids it may be a little too creepy. For me, it was awesome.

I spent the majority of the bo
Katrin von Martin
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-reader
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Both my 11 years old son and I absolutely loved this book.
Sci-Fi & Scary
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was on the library waiting list for what felt like ever for ‘Where the Woods End‘. The cover looked amazing, and the synopsis had me wiggling in my chair. I was so happy when it finally came in; so, naturally, I was sure I was going to be disappointed. I mean, how often does a book live up to your expectations, right?

I buddy-read this book with Jess from Storytime in the Stacks. She was dead on about a lot of stuff that happened/was going to happen. I was mostly wrong. I like being mostly wron
Jul 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A really unique story, though I did feel like I was reading the middle section of a much longer story (and not in a book 2 of 3 sort of way). Very spooky and amazing descriptions. I would have loved some more world building, but I suppose that circles back to the first critique. A nice light, spooky read though!
After reading the jacket copy, I thought this book was going to be more quaint than it was. If I’d noticed whether the author was American or not (she’s not), I would’ve been better prepared. Young Readers Writers from other countries tend to be less afraid of frightening their audience.

The “tinge of humor” is less about fart jokes and more for those who appreciate the macabre; which I very much do. The novel also favors those who appreciate gross-out humor: it is definitely gory and gross.

The “
Amanda Kingswell
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Do not show fear, do not say what you fear, for your fear will come alive and kill you. In Kestrel's world the forest is alive and people live in fear of Grabbers. Grabbers are monsters that build themselves to be you greatest fear. Kestrel has seen many people in her village be eaten by them and it is up to her to kill the Grabbers before they attack. Unfortunately, Kestrel's time is going to be cut short because she is noticing items are missing, she knows this is a sign of a Grabber. Will Kes ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My son and I loved this one! Salter is a talented writer with a gift for wordplay and characterization. On the surface, this title comes off as a horror novel, but underneath it is a journey of self-discovery for the main character. Kestrel is a strong character who is trying to escape, not only her village, but her domineering mother and haunted past as well. The theme of confronting your fears runs throughout this book. This is a great choice for middle-grade readers who like strong female cha ...more
Steve Stred
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes, in the book world, you stumble on a gem.
Here in Canada, we have a store called Shoppers Drug Mart. Depending on your location they will have a book section, some larger than others. Most of the locations will also have a discount book bin – where books they want to get rid of go to die. I have had wonderful success with these bins. Most of the books are 80% off, but occasionally they’ll just have a new sticker price on it that is well below the price on the cover. This bin was where
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was awesome! The number of allusions to other things I've read, whether intentional or a product of my own mind-web, was staggering. Gleefully staggering, since that's my favorite reader-y thing: the way stuff connects. In this one middle grade novel I was reminded of Baba Yaga, Harry Potter, the dead hands and gore crows in Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy, Howl's Moving Castle, the daemons in Pullman's "The Golden Compass"... *happy screech*

I found one criticism with the who
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
What in the world did I just read?
This was just not for me. I enjoyed the first third of the book but then it just unraveled into something really strange, and not in a good way imo.
Some scenes dragged on unnecessarily while others (the important, character-revealing ones!) were glossed over. I was left with more questions than answers unfortunately.
In the end, I appreciated the whole message surrounding fear (I’m trying to keep it vague so as to avoid spoilers), but man, this was so dark and p
Melissa O'Brien
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
My husband and I originally bought this book two years ago as a gift for our niece. But we kept forgetting to give it to her, and she has since outgrown books like this. I decided to give it a try before donating it, and I'm so glad I read it! This book is fascinating, the premise of is unique, and the main character is interesting. There are several big plot twists, and it's genuinely scary!
3.5 stars. WOW, was this gruesome and scary for a kids' book! I definitely would not have been able to handle this as a middle-year reader. Yowza! The mother was SO horrifying but Pippit was the cutest dang little friend. I wanted more Pippit. There wasn't anything particularly wrong with this book; I just didn't fall in love with it. SCARY STUFF! I would almost want to classify this as YA based on the scary content, but the story on the whole did feel more middle-years-y. ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a children’s book but it was surprisingly horrifying. I’m not sure what age I’d recommend it to but I know that if I’d read it in elementary school it definitely would have given me nightmares because of my overactive imagination. So if you’re a parent considering reading it to your kid that’s something to think about. It’s really dark and portrays heavy scenes of abuse and manipulation.

But I absolutely loved it. Much more than I thought I would when I first began reading it - and
Rachel Guy
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
I wasn't really sure how to feel about this. I was excited to read it because the plot seemed incredibly interesting, and it started out as I expected, but the end really threw me.

(view spoiler)
vliz Gutierrez
What a precious book. At one point I had to take a break to heal because it managed to really hurt when Kestrel reached the lowest point, reading about her mother's abuse, the ostracization from the village (view spoiler) really got to me. I ugly cried. Hard.

Kestrel is a wonderful protagonist, from page one you can't help but being sucked in by her cleverness, braveness and her love for the very few people who love her back and as the story went
Dec 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Between 3 and 4, but not quite enough to round up.

It's definitely dark and scary - there were some dark and almost gory parts of the story that I'd almost classify as YA. Overall, though, I'd say it still is a mid-grade book, based on the ages of the characters and a bit on the writing style, but for older mid-grade or for those who enjoy the dark and grisly.

While I'm not really a fan of the dark and grisly myself (part of why I didn't round up to 4), I did enjoy her world-building. It was all v
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Nothing to fear but everything here..." This blurb from the back of the book, sums up the content of Where the Woods End pretty nicely. Everything in this woods, from the mundane fungus on the ground, to the witch that lives in the lake, and even the people themselves are dangerous. And yet, the young Kestrel has always navigated this environment with determination. She has to. For the only way to escape is to fulfill the bargain she made with her mother, and to find the exit somewhere in its d ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Where the Woods End sounded like a great book to get me in the mood for October, and it didn't disappoint. I only gave it 3.5 stars, due to some quibbles I'll get to, but this actually really good! I loved how Salter sprinkled in clues without dumbing it down and making it too obvious, and I was pleased that my early theory came true. This was actually surprisingly gruesome, and it made it stand out from other MG books — it knows what kind of book it is and doesn't hold back.

I did hav
C.L. McCollum
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Trigger warnings: child abuse by mother and grandmother, death of supportive but absent/neglectful parent, bullying, torture by magic, discussions of drowning, on the page near drowning, horror genre gore.

Oof I was... not prepared for this one, I gotta be honest. It was really chillingly well done, and I loved the setting with this forest that is alive and hungry and has no mercy for the people trying to live in it whatsoever. The creatures and different parts of the forest were creepy and stran
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a gruesomely creepy tale! Hard for me to believe this is MG, but if I had a MG-er I'd read it to them for sure! Scare the crap out of them! Hahhahahahahaha! Kestrel is a super female character. She is wickedly capable and isn't afraid of anything (OK, well, one thing...). The monsters and beasties in this book were awesome. Quite imaginative and rather dark and really violent. Nice! The world-building wasn't that extensive, but the story happens in a forest, so there wasn't much the reader ...more
Chelsea Best
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I found this book at a Dollar Tree and thought WHY NOT?? And let me say I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised. This story is about a young girl named Kestral who is living within a dark magical terrifying forest with her witch of a mother (not a nice witch) and suffering through life while fighting these creatures known as Grabbers. These Grabbers follow each citizen in the town around their entire life and steal their possessions slowly over time and eventually kill/ ...more
To me this book feels like a blend of Princess Mononoke and Labyrinth with a few other fantasy game and anime elements sprinkled throughout. That is to say its premise, setting and characters (most of them) make up a story that is exactly what I want to read from children's and young adult and even adult fantasy fiction when done well.
Apart from a few niggles with the dialogue and the fact that it wasn't clear in what time period the world was set (the cover art and certain descriptions had me t
Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, rpl, favorites, tween, teen
Whoa! This was good! Super scary and grim. The monsters would of held up in a book for a much older audience but the violence wasn't too gory. Lots of jabbing and swallowing and not a lot of lingering on how the characters were meeting their demise. I didn't expect the awful abuse Kestrels suffers from just about everyone in her village. Those were some of the toughest parts to read because it was pretty brutal at points. I liked the way the book wrestles with caring for people who hurt you. I t ...more
Raven R. (AvalonReadsBooks)
This could have been magical and wonderful and beautiful, and what I got was monsters and terrible people.

I wanted half the book to die.

I'm serious. I liked two characters. That was it. And one of them was a weasel.

The plot twist, I will say, was horrendous, in the sense that I should have seen it coming but hadn't.

The villagers were stupid. Hannah needed a right smack or for her to be eaten by her goddamn grabber. What a horrible person that little bitch was.

Otherwise the book was very wel
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