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The Waking Forest

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  887 ratings  ·  348 reviews
The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, wai
304 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Delacorte
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  887 ratings  ·  348 reviews

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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“Let’s start with the Witch in the Woods.”

This is going to be such a hard book for me to review. Mostly because this debut novel has some of the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. I was so positive that I was going to five star this leading up to the half way point, but I feel like things just started to fall apart and the story got harder and harder to follow. So, even though I’m not giving this the hig
High Lady of The Night Court
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-read
I can think of nothing more terrifying than a dream like this, which is only in your heart and cannot hurt you, until it suddenly reaches out and touches you.

Favorites List.
Cindy ✩☽♔
I wanted to like this. I tried to like it. But it was truly not for me. I’m sure some people would like this, but the writing did not work for me at all. Why?

Because this book is a poster child for purple prose.

The children were still hours away from arriving, and the first stars were just yawning awake, shaking themselves from dreams of glitter and dancing and dizziness.

◆ Spider-bite midnight: an infected emerald sky strung with clumps of silk-woven stars, a cobweb moon.

◆ The web of the moo
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review!

The Waking Forest is an impressive young adult fantasy debut by Alyssa Wees.

From the description:

"The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
"If Beauty is banished from darkness, then I am the ugliest thing here."  

The Waking Forest is a different sort of novel than many I come across in the YA category and it will not be for everyone, but several reviewers have already said if you love films by director Guillermo Del Toro, then you will likely enjoy this book.  It's exactly the kind of story he'd pick up to direct. 

I've seen a lot of mixed reviews on this novel, but I tried not to read any reviews prior to reading the no
Mar 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees is a young adult fantasy. The chapters in this story alternate back and forth between different characters and situations giving it almost the feel of reading two different books at once.

One side of this book features a young girl named Rhea who lives with her parents and sisters and has battled having nightmares whether sleeping or awake. The other side of the story centers around the witch in the woods that grants wishes to those that come find her.

The first ha
Hannah Greendale
DNF at page 73.

Two ideas attempting to commingle, but they’re not quite coming together.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Waking Forest is a paper matryoshka. It's made of stories inside of stories, interlocked, the lines between them blurred until you can't tell which side is before and which side is after. It's a book about mysterious witches, curses whispered in the dark, and the power of wishes.

Sounds like an interesting concept, right? It was. The execution, sadly, wasn't at all.

The first half didn't deserve two stars. It was a story about a witch and a haunted girl, it was interesting to read and beautifu
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Waking Forest is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Kind of. It’s creepy, melancholy, atmospheric, and I loved every page.

There are two stories in this book. In the first, eighteen-year-old Rhea Ravenna lives in a small town with her mom, dad, four sisters, and Gabrielle, her pet fox (!). Rhea is plagued by visions and nightmares – she sees a dark and menacing forest in their backyard, even though there’s nothing there, and she sees images of death in the attic. The nightmares are getting worse
Patty (IheartYA311)
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was high on my list of 2019 reads. It is well written, but it's a confusing mess. There is a story within a story but the plot lacks direction and meaning. The characters are shallow, flat and unappealing. There are atmospheric details which do a great job of setting the scene but add no detail to the evolution of the story bordering purple prose. Quite disappointed and still very confused. I can't figure out what the point was and I'm going to stop thinking about it because my head hu ...more
Nov 18, 2017 marked it as desperately-waiting-for
if this ain't good and gay I will be severely disappointed ...more
Oct 19, 2018 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for a fair review
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

You can find this review and others like it on the blog here:

It took me until about 60% of this book to finally just sit back and read it for enjoyment rather than trying to understand what it was exactly that I was reading. The Waking Forest is written in a poetic way, with descriptions that are above and beyond, and metaphors and similes galore. You don't simply just read this book, you
Allison Parker
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Rhea is plagued by visions. Strange, dark visions. She sees her own death, her body bleeding out on the floor. She sees a forest, black tree limbs knotted together tightly, save a path that seems to beckon her. Then she sees a boy. Not a vision, but a young man made of darkness, who asks her to guess his name. But this game has devastating consequences for Rhea if she cannot succeed.

Meanwhile, in the forest of Rhea's visions, the Witch of Wishes reigns over beast, bone and blood, dealing out th
Ardent Reader
Jun 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
I so badly wanted to like this story. But what I felt while reading was that this story doesn't has a clear direction for an ending.

The whole plot didn't make any sense.
Just some words and thoughts put together in a formation of a story where nothing interesting things happen.
Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)
~*Check out all my reviews over at The Bent Bookworm!*~
I sort of do know what she means, sitting here in the semi-dark and the semi-silence. I have a scratchy, restless feeling, as if my soul were grinding against my skin, my bones, not necessarily wanting to get out but urging my body to go to impossible places, convinced I can touch the stars and not burn.

The Waking Forest is a story that is a true journey. I wasn’t EXACTLY sure what to expect going into it, and I was almost halfway through b
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
THIS REVIEW & MORE → The Waking Forest

3.5 stars ✨

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

“And so she cast a glamour over herself and snuck out of the castle at night, fleeing to the forest where the monsters lived. Where she could be a monster too.”

First of all, that cover is extremely alluring and fits the book perfectly. The Waking Forest has such an interesting premise and a really well constructed novel. It’s atmospheric, eerie, and spellbinding.

The writing is something that read
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fairy story that is no fairy story. Fans of fantasy with just the slightest touch of romance will want to read this one as soon as it is released. Make sure to savor the prose as you won't want to miss a single detail. ...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
Apr 27, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
This is a debut novel, and unfortunately it shows. I DNFed around page 40.

This had too many YA fantasy pet peeves of mine: first-person/present-tense writing, wayyyyyy too much overwriting, poor pacing (yes, even in only 40 pages), and silly names.

The main character's name is Rhea Ravenna, and she has three sisters named Rose, Raisa, and Renata. Oh, also a pet fox named Gabrielle. I feel like these names should be enough to make anyone wince (especially since this seems to be set in contemporar
I can't tell if I liked this book or hated it, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

Big thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an eARC.

Soooo... this book. I was pretty excited for it. Not gonna lie. The cover drew me in. The synopsis is super intriguing and I thought for sure that I would love this book. That obviously did not happen, proving once again that I am not a psychic. Darn.

The writing was GORGEOUS at times, super lyrical and velvety. Then at other times, it was just straight up weird,
julia ♥
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
💖💖💖 blog 💖💖💖

Another short and sweet review incoming. I was excited to read this novel, and the writing was absolutely gorgeous. The premise had me in its grasps right from the start. However, this book wasn't entirely what I imagined it would be, despite this being a work of art.

What is this book about?
This book settles around Rhea, who has visions of disturbing occurrences: her death, people dying, a dark forest. In the forest, a witch rules, and gives out wishes to children who are courageous
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
2.5 stars. Beautiful writing but the plot made no sense??
Caidyn (he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

DNF at 65% – 1/5

Here we are. The first week of the readathon and I’m already using one of the cheats since I didn’t like this book.

I’m having to use the Corrupt Cop on this one to move ahead to the next prompt.

I just couldn’t get into this book. At all. I don’t know what it was about it, but I was lost from the first page and it never got better. The characters didn’t stand out at all. They just felt flat and boring. The plot was dull. Things were happeni
Kate (beautifulbookland)
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
This is the kind of book that needs to be experienced, because no amount of reviews will do it justice; the writing is gorgeous, the story is vivid and intricate, and the whole book just seeps magic.

The Waking Forest alternates between Rhea and the Witch of Wishes. Rhea, who has disturbing visions, and who can see a forest at the bottom of her back garden that nobody else can see, and that disappears whenever Rhea tries to enter. And a boy made of darkness, who challenges Rhea to an ominous gam
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
This book was so magical and dreamy. I especially liked the first half and how mysterious it was. There were some parts and quotes in this book that really spoke to me and the characters were really easy to fall in love with. I also really liked the sibling relationships, they were so sweet.

“And so she cast a glamour over herself and snuck out of the castle at night, fleeing to the forest where the monsters lived. Where she could be a monster too.”
The Nerd Daily
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice

There is an undeniable allure in this story of something mystic, otherworldly…offering glimmers of dreams that are hiding sharpened shards of nightmares that will cut you when you least expect it. Alyssa Wees has written a novel that draws the reader into a world full of wonders and terrors; I was completely engrossed in this story from beginning to end, locked in the waking nightmare our protagonist was experiencing and loving
Mar 31, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnfed
I began this book with a lot of expectation and found it mesmerising. Until I realised the language was always overdone and not only when it would have suited the story, story that began losing sense as it advanced as it would have been helpful to have a lot more worldbuilding before getting thrown into it all. The characters fell flat and I began losing connection with the book, which broke when I began the second part, near the very end, when I decided to stop reading.
A pity, because it was a
Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

While this book sounded amazing, the purple prose was a nightmare to get through.

The thing is, I'm not even that bad at dealing with purple prose - I read bodice rippers, for God's sake! But the number of atrocities I was subjected to within THE FIRST 2% was too much to bear.


The Witch smiled, her maw growing wider, so no one would ever guess how her atoms were held together by an unheard how
First of all, this illustration is gorgeous! I was drawn to it before I even read the synopsis. After reading this novel, I'm still drawn to the cover of this book.

Where do I start? How do I begin? This story is unique and original. I want to say it's some form of a fairy tale retelling. In a way it is, but in a way it isn't. I haven't read any review on this novel yet. I have a feeling there will be a lot of mixed reviews on this. But you know, that's okay. Why? Because it will be one of the mo
Kelly Brigid ♡
Oct 19, 2018 marked it as to-read
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Story about Witch from the forest. [s] 5 42 Jan 23, 2020 12:52AM  

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Alyssa Wees's debut novel is The Waking Forest. She lives and writes in Chicago. To learn more about Alyssa and her writing, go to her website, and follow @AlyssaWees on Twitter. ...more

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