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The Lying Woods

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees' retirement accounts, Owen's father vanished without a t ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published November 13th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
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Allison From the descriptions and reviews, this is not a sequel or related to "This is Our Story."

Community Reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I went into this book expecting a light, mysterious read, based on Elston's fierce following, but I had no clue it would be THAT good. Seriously, how have I not come across her books before now? I need to immediately scour her backlist and catch up on all her other books that I've missed thus far. When I saw the description for this one pop up on NetGalley, it was one of those moments where I hit the button based on a pretty cover and a vague, angsty synopsis. *bats eyes* Weirdly enough, the tre ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I do wish we had gotten a little bit more of a concrete resolution in the end, this was WILD and I really, really enjoyed it! I think I've come to find that I just really love contemporary books set in the south. Need more nowwwwwww.
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-read
The Lying Woods follows teenage protagonist, Owen Foster, in the aftermath of his Father being exposed as a white-collar criminal. Mr. Foster steals millions of dollars from his company - the largest employer in town - and leaves Owen and his mother behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. People in the town are furious, they believe Owen’s Mom knew what he was doing and they begin threatening her and Owen. Forced to leave his posh private school when they can no longer afford the ...more
may ❀
ashley elston is becoming one of my favourite authors for YA thrillers (is that a thing?? it totally should be)

i read her previous book, This is Our Story (can we just appreciate how the covers match so well?? even though they aren't connected or related, i totally LOVE it) and was so impressed with how she crafted the mystery and created the characters and played with my mind, ugh so good

anyways, so going into this book, my hopes were, very HIGH and let. me. tell. you. it was INCREDIBLE

the stor
November 2018 finished copy read:

I am a huge fan of Ashley’s words, so I was all over the chance to read this story as a beta reader last year and I was especially excited to revisit the finished copy.

Owen is a great MC. He’s confused and rightfully angry and hurt and I enjoyed being in his head while he was navigating a new life. The flashback chapters with Noah are great and I loved seeing the same setting in different times. There’s a small cast of characters, but they pack a mighty punch.
Ashlee » Library In The Country
Guys. I rarely read anything outside of fantasy and science fiction but I loved this book. It was absolutely riveting and had me feeling all sorts of emotional and questioning everything. Despite being a mystery, this was a totally atmospheric book that had me feeling some serious Raven Cycle vibes. You don't want to skip this one!

This story follows Owen Foster, who discovers his father has vanished and embezzled millions from his company and its employees. After Owen is pulled from his boarding
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
I really loved this book. That’s about as eloquent as I’m capable of being after that emotional rollercoaster.
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love a good mystery, especially one that is shrouded in family secrecy and lies.

The Lying Woods was so much fun. Great characters that were hard to resist and a storyline that flashed back and forth from present day to the past that was just as captivating and shrouded in mystery as the present day mystery.

I loved how not only the stories but the characters themselves intertwined and came together. With shocking discoveries and revelations, this one kept me turning the pages and on my toes.
Jay G
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my youtube channel:

3.5/5 Stars

*Thank you to the publishers for the copy in exchange for my honest review*

Owen Foster has everything he's ever wanted but, one day it's all taken away when he discovers that his father skipped town after stealing all of the money from the employees working for the oil company he owns. Now, Owen must face the after math of his father's actions, moving back to the small town
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I’ll be completely transparent with you, friends: the entire reason that I decided to read The Lying Woods was because of my friend Kristin (who constantly champions Elston’s other novel This Is Our Story). She convinced me that it should be my next read on a quiet Friday night, and I’m glad she did because I ended up binge reading the entire novel in one sitting. The Lying Woods is about Owen Foster who discovers that his lifestyle has been funded by stolen money. His father has stolen money fr ...more
Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide/Novelly Yours)
Initial Impressions 9/9/18: This was an interesting read! At first it read a little more realistic fiction than mystery/thriller but the end was really packed with punches! There were some clues and the mystery along the way but it wasn't really about investigating and discovering like a lot of mystery/thrillers are, so when reveals and twists started popping up, it was a huge surprise!

The ending was really interesting and I loved how it all came together. I love those moments where facts are p
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a pleasant surprise! This story took so many turns I wasn’t expecting, and it kept me guessing til the very end. The last 80 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to read more from Ashley Elston in the future!
Wing-yee (bibliomeds)
Jul 05, 2018 marked it as to-read
my body is ready for this one. COME AT ME BRO
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Review also found on my blog here: https://booksonthebookshelf.wordpress...

Thank you to Disney Hyperion and Netgalley for my eARC copy of this book.

Forced to leave the elite boarding school he has attended for the past several years, Owen has no choice but to withdraw from the school and return to the family home with his mother. Owen and his mother are shunned from the members of their community as a result of the crimes his father has committed.

I enjoyed the story overall in the book. The stor
Resch Reads
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf

I immensely enjoyed this book, as my first Ashley Elston book, it blew me out of the water! Ashley truly has a craft for flawlessly combining overlapping story lines, tangled emotions, and complex characters into a cohesive story that hooks the reader and leaves you captivated and wanting more. Once I started the book, I couldn't put it down. I was hypnotized by the endless questions, when one was solved, not only would another pop up but there were at least five others floating around
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I believe this officially makes Ashley Elston my favorite Young Adult Thriller writer. Possibly favorite YA author period. Not only are her mysteries twisted and surprising every time, her teenage characters are so real and it always surprises me.

My number one pet peeve in YA mysteries is teenage characters who act like they’re 35 and totally capable of anything, screw adults and the police. Elston’s characters are not like that. They do they’re best but they do get help when they’re in over th
Jen Ryland
A quick aside: I had no idea what this book was about and don't think I've read Ashley Elston before. So if that also describes you, I want to say that this is NOT a paranormal/ghost story/spooky story. Clearly those of you familiar with the author knew what to expect but I did not...

It's a good story. It's like a "character who returns to a small town and unravels family secrets" story. Which is a kind of story that I really like, but it just took me a bit to shift my expectations to the right
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, mystery
All I can say is the ending saved this book for me.

“The Lying Woods” begins with Owen’s life falling apart after he learns that his dad ran off after stealing millions of dollars leaving him and his mom to pick up the pieces. As they try to rebuild he finds himself working on a farm where his dad once lived and as past and present collide he learns there’s more going on than just the mystery surrounding his father.

So this book was pretty average and really slow with the only parts I really loo
Nicole Hewitt
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

I always think I don’t really like mysteries, but then I read a book like this and it blows me away and I just want MORE! I have no idea how to review this book without giving things away, so I’m actually not going to say much at all except that I read this in one day (practically in one sitting), and I LOVED every minute of the reading experience. Okay, at the very beginning, I wasn’t so sure I was going to like Owen
Lisa Mandina
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The synopsis of this was definitely one that sounded good, but concerned me as one I wasn't quite sure how much I would like it. However my doubts were definitely misguided, because I really enjoyed this one. The author did a great job in throwing in lots of hints and clues throughout the story, including chapters from Owen's father's viewpoint. Obviously those chapters were there to help you figure things out, or to at least add details to the story that would have been just an info dump from c ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Ashley Elston is writing it, I am reading it. I have become such a fan of her unputdownable books with good endings.

What do you do if you’re a rich kid who is suddenly the outcast after your father screws over an entire community?

You suck it up and face it. You try to find your scumbag father and figure out how he could do such a thing. And you find yourself going down the longest rabbit hole, unraveling a decades-old mystery that left me saying O M G what!

Owen is tenacious and lovable. I f
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book was fantastic!

Owen Foster is only worried about the next prank his friend is going to pull on him at the prestigious boarding school he attends when he gets news that will change his life forever. His dad has been accused of embezzling money from his company and flees town, leaving Owen and his mother to take the blame for what he has done. Owen moves back home to a small town in Louisiana where many of the people have been financially devastated by his dad’s actions.

Owen soon dis
Anything Ashley writes gets auto-added to my "must-read" list. Her books are all awesomely suspenseful YA.

UPDATE 5/2/18:

So I just got done reading the ARC...


Go preorder it. Now. I'll wait.

Man, this book was frickin fantastic.
Grace P. (gracefulreads)
3.75-4 Stars


Owen’s story is not the only story in THE LYING WOODS. It is told in alternating chapters of Owen’s present-day high school experience in Lake Cane and two other teens’ experience there before Owen was born. THE LYING WOODS is a not a frightening thriller like I had expected, but a slow, calculated mystery. From the start, readers are left to wonder whether Owen’s father is truly guilty of all that he is accused. The dynamics of the small town are fascinating in of themselves, an
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this book.  I requested it because it was listed as a mystery.  I feel like it was so much more though.  It wasn't a mystery in the same way as some of the books I read.  This one had such a focus on relationships, especially family.

The story is told by Owen, but there are sections after Owen's that go back into the past and are told by his dad.  These start off with his dad meeting and working for Gus and then meeting Owen's mom.  It's how their rel
Pamela Groseclose
Dec 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book, because I thought it was a thriller. This book does have a few twists and turns, but it is more of a romance story then anything. It was reminiscent of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Even though it wasnt what I expected, I really enjoyed this one. It was a fun and exciting read before the holidays.
Kathy Martin
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Owen Foster's life makes a U-turn when his mother comes to his elite boarding school and tells him that his father has embezzled from his company, bankrupting it, and leaving his local investors and employees broke too. His father has disappeared leaving Owen and his mother to take the blame and be the target of many of the people in town who lost their livelihoods when Owen's father disappeared.

Owen has to leave his friends behind and go back home for the rest of his senior year. Naturally, he
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The writer is such a good storyteller because I was absorbed in every single page of this book.

The main character is Owen who was at the boarding school and the biggest thing he had to worry about was what kind of prank his roommate/best friend would pull to get back at him. Until his Mom showed up at the school and broke the news that his father had disappeared along with the millions of dollars from his company. Owen had to come back to his town as they could no longer afford him to be in the
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Owen is yanked out of his boarding school and told about his father's transgressions, he's hurt and confused. It doesn't help that all the kids and even adults of his hometown despise him and his family over what his father did. As if losing your house and belongings isn't enough, Owen finds out that his mom has been getting threatened by someone in town. With no one to trust and no place that's really safe, Owen finds solace in helping a pecan rancher with his farm.

I have to admit, I'm not
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, reviews
Grade: C-
An ARC was provided by Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program in exchange for an honest review.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: After quite enjoying Elston's This Is Our Story, I was excited to see what The Lying Woods would hold. While it's an interesting read, it doesn't have the same drive and thrill that This Is Our Story did.
The story is narrated by Owen in the present day and a guy named Noah back in 1999, both of whom form a working relationship with Gus Trudeau. Noah's sections were
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Ashley Elston lives is North Louisiana with her husband and three sons. She worked as a wedding and portrait photographer for ten years until she decided to pursue writing full time. Ashley is also a certified landscape horticulturist and loves digging in the dirt. Her debut novel, THE RULES FOR DISAPPEARING was published by Disney Hyperion in 2013 and was a finalist in the Best Young Adult catego ...more