Welcome to the decrepit Woodmoor Manor…where something in the woods is always watching. From the author of Scritch Scratch comes a chilling middle grade story about a creepy mansion and sinister creatures in the woods
All Ginny Anderson wants from her summer is to relax. But when Ginny's father—a respected restoration expert in Chicago—surprises the family with a month-long trip to Michigan, everything changes. They aren't staying in a hotel like most families would. No, they're staying in a mansion. A twenty-six room, century-old building surrounded by dense forest. Woodmoor Manor.
Locals claim the surrounding woods are inhabited by mutated creatures that escaped a mad scientist over a hundred years ago. And some say campers routinely disappear never to be seen again.
When the creaky floors and shadowy corners of the mansion seem to take on a life of their own, Ginny uncovers the wildest mystery of all: there's more than one legend roaming Saugatuck, Michigan, and they definitely aren't after campers.
Lindsay Currie is the author of spooky middle grade novels. While she's never experienced anything truly paranormal, Lindsay enjoys researching her city's forgotten history and learning about the events that shaped the many ghost legends in Chicago. When she's not reading or writing a mystery novel of her own, Lindsay can generally be found taking long walks with her family, chilling with one of her three dogs, or searching the graveyard for her next antagonist.
Lindsay has four middle-grade novels out currently - THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET, SCRITCH SCRATCH, WHAT LIVES IN THE WOODS and THE GIRL IN WHITE. Coming soon: IT FOUND US!
Main character Ginny Anderson is a Chicago tween obsessed with Agatha Christie novels, and she dreams of publishing her own mysteries someday. She feels her summer has been ruined when her dad gets a job renovating a spooky old mansion in Michigan. Instead of attending a fun summer writing class with her bestie, she has to spend a month stuck at Woodmoor Manor. When some creepy unexplained occurrences start happening in the house, Ginny finds herself immersed in her own mystery to solve.
What lives in the woods? I'm not sure, because the title & blurb of this book are a bit misleading. I enjoyed the mystery and the creepy atmosphere of Woodmoor Manor. If I were Ginny, I would've loved to spend the summer exploring an old mansion with Agatha Christie vibes, but she was focused on a way to get back to Chicago. She's a clever and brave character who wouldn't let ghosts get in her way. This book is a great pick for fans of middle grade horror.
Ginny Anderson has big plans for her summer break, which includes attending a mystery writer's course and following in the footsteps of her favourite author, Agatha Christie, by beginning to pen her first novel. Her parents have other ideas, however. Her father's career is in historical restoration and he can't part with the chance to work on the decrepit but still grand Woodmoor Manor, a thirty-room building isolated in the forest and which the owners have hopes of one day returning to its former glory and opening as a hotel. Ginny is sad to have her summer ruined but her disappointment soon turns to fear when she discovers an unknown something lurking the shadowed hallways of her temporary, new home.
This proved a tense and atmospheric middle grade horror, which managed to induce chills and provide thriller for this adult reader. I honestly did not expect to feel so unnerved whilst reading this but the horrors that Ginny confronts and the chilling manner in which Currie penned them had me very glad I chose to read this in the daytime. I also appreciated how this novel concluded, as well as the path that interwove with the past and that the author chose to get there.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Lindsay Currie, and the publisher, Sourcebooks Young Readers, for this opportunity.
There is seriously no better subgenre than middle grade horror stories. The hauntings the characters experience are set at an age where anything is believable and possible thus giving you just the right amount of frights and spooky atmosphere. I love it!
I've come to appreciate Lindsay Currie as an author and the stories she gives us. Scritch Scratch is still my favorite of hers, but she is definitely a go-to author now for me when I need a good ghost story. What Lives in the Woods tells the story of Ginny Anderson and what she experiences when she comes to stay at Woodmoor Manor for the summer. A lot of creepy sounds, unexplained events, a mysterious typewriter, and a real haunting make up this fun story.
Thank you Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.
This is the second book I’ve read by Lindsay Currie and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint. I love her writing style and how easy the words flow together. I was never once confused or bored. The pacing of this book was on point. Since it is a mystery/suspense book it has to continually keep moving so the interest of the reader doesn’t get lost. Currie does a great job of building the suspense starting out with a little bit of eeriness then moving onto bigger and creepier scares. I chose to read this book only at night before bed and what a mistake that was! Even though I’m an adult and this book is marketed for middle grade I definitely got creeped out at certain points. But that only added to the fun of reading this book. Reading this book reminded me of reading “Goosebumps” as a kid. It gave me that same satisfaction and had the same type of creepy tone/feeling.
The main character Ginny Anderson is obsessed with Agatha Christie novels and plans on attending a writing workshop over summer vacation. Unfortunately, the dad gets a job to remodel Woodmoor Manor which means Ginny has to miss her writing workshop and stay at the Manor for a month. Before going Ginny finds out some local tales about the Manor being haunted and while staying there she witnesses some encounters herself. Ginny is forced to solve the mystery behind the Manor and find out if it is truly haunted or all in her imagination. I absolutely adored Ginny’s character. She had such a huge personality and I loved that she was into reading and writing. She is a quiet reserved person but she knows when and how to go after what she wants. She managed to keep her courage and strength no matter what the Manor threw her way. She was smart for her age and would use reason when faced with a problem and I liked that. I can see a lot of preteens learning from her or being able to relate to her. I enjoyed the side characters in the book. Her relationship with her brother was typical but nice to see. Her parents were loving and supportive. Her friendship with Will was cute and helped bring her out of her shell. I loved that they shared a mutual interest in books. Overall, this story was fantastic and I’m so glad I read it.
Should you read “What Lives in the Woods”? Yes, Yes, Yes! I challenge you to read this book at night. It is such a great spooky/creepy/eerie read that will not disappoint you. Younger kids will find this story creepy as will adults. If you're looking for a scary haunted house story with heartwarming characters then this book is for you.
**Received an advanced copy through NetGalley in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. **
I was so excited for this and it… left a lot to be desired 😂 the MC is a huge Agatha Christie fan but spent most of the time convincing her parent she wanted to leave the haunted manor instead of solving the mystery, and then when she DID start trying to figure it out, it was 3/4 of the way in. The entire thing was so anticlimactic. ALSO THIS ISNT ABOUT THE WOODS AT ALL
Lindsay Currie has done it again, this time taking readers out of Chicago and into the spooky woods of Saugatuck, Michigan.
Ginny and her older brother Leo are ready to enjoy their summer. Ginny’s excited about attended a summer Mystery Writing workshop with her best friend, and Leo’s got summer basketball camp and pick-up games on the brain. But that all changes when their dad, a restoration expert, agrees for the family to spend a month at the Woodmore Manor, a creepy century-old mansion with lots of history and spooky legends.
Upon arrival, Ginny is immediately on edge and can’t shake the feeling that something is not quite right. Throw in a strange ticking sound only she can hear, shadowy figures, and a mannequin that moves, and Ginny’s summer “vacation” becomes terrifying!
But Ginny’s no stranger to mysteries. A huge fan of Agatha Christie novels, she’s determined to figure out what, or who, is haunting Woodmore Manor.
Like Currie’s other books, this has just the right amount of spookiness for a middle grade novel. I loved the friendships and sibling dynamics woven throughout this story. Lots of book nerd love too, including the smells of bookstores and books!
The gist: Little tweenage girl Ginny Anderson is forced against her will to live in a historic mansion in a quaint little Michigan tourist town—the horror! Wait…let me go find the world’s smallest violin. OK, I’m back. The struggle is real when she must give up her summer writing course to spend a whole month with her perfect family in a spooky manor surrounded by even spookier woods. Paranormal happenings commence, and it’s up to Ginny and her brother to prove the ghosts are real so they can convince their parents to return the whole fam back to their boring city lives in Chicago.
What I like: As I’m sure you can tell by my snarky tone, I’m not a big fan of this story. However, I must give credit where credit is due. I was drawn in by the overall storyline involving a haunted manor and enchanted woods. There was also an element of mystery behind the hauntings, which I always enjoy in a haunted house story. So hats off to the author for coming up with a winning premise that pulls readers like me in like catnip!
What irked me: I admit, I’m much, much, MUCH older than the intended target audience, here, so I should note that I’m rather detached from modern-day tweenage life. I do, however, remember what it was like to be a kiddo, so that should give me some merit, no? Either way, I could not relate to Ginny and her incessant whining about having to live in a haunted mansion for the summer. I mean, really? How cool would that be for a murder mystery buff who devours every novel by the Queen of Mystery? This girl claims to be obsessed with Agatha Christie books, but yet she couldn’t find it within herself to be the slightest bit intrigued by a century-old mansion shrouded in mystery? For me, an actual lifelong murder mystery fan, that would be THE DREAM! I mean, really? She’d rather be spending her summer months in a classroom learning about writing mysteries rather than actually solving one? This isn’t congruent with her self-proclaimed love for Agatha Christie, and I had a really hard time buying it.
Thoughts on the setting: I really enjoyed the spooky Woodmoor Manor with all its hidden mysteries—and the haunted bedroom with the creepy mannequin. The ghostly manifestations were about as scary as a Scooby Doo special, so it’s perfect for little readers who scare easily. I also love, love, love vacationing in Mackinac Island, so this touristy Michigan setting really took me back to those carefree days of eating fudge on Main Street and riding bikes around the entire village.
Overall: As far as middle-grade thrillers go, this one is mediocre to say the least. If you’re looking for a good spooky mystery in this genre, I recommend anything by Mary Downing Hahn. Start with Closed for the Season—that’s my favorite!
One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is misleading blurbs and/or titles. This book has both. It is a haunted house story. Not one character goes into the woods or even ponders going into the woods. As a haunted house story it's pretty good, creepy even at times (probably would have been 4 stars if I was in the mood for a haunted house story), but I didn't want to read a haunted house story. I wanted to read about weird creatures in the woods dragging campers away never to be seen again. I know authors have no control over the blurb, but I'm pretty sure they can name a book whatever they want and so I just don't understand why the title would mention something that has literally, absolutely, definitely nothing to do with the story.
Ok, so with that out of the way. I did enjoy the book once I calmed down a bit after realizing the bait and switch. I still think Scritch Scratch is this author's best book and I did chuckle at the ghost tour connection during the epilogue. I like that the common theme in all her books (that I've read) is that these ghosts aren't malevolent. They just want to move on and are trying to communicate the best they can.
My 11yo gives What Lives in the Woods five stars. The tension throughout was solid, making us want to turn pages together and solve the mystery. The scary parts were scary-but-not-too-scary (the mirror scene, yikes!). When I asked my son if it was freaky, he said "Yes!" with a big smile on his face.
It also introduced my young reader to concepts like the "red herring." We're still dying to learn more about the Hitchhikers, but maybe Lindsay has that in store for her next book. ;)
This is a creepy story. It wasn't scary, though. I like that about this author's books. The story involves a rundown mansion, shadows, ghosts, music, and books. It takes a few interesting turns along the way. I had somethings figured out before the characters did, but some were a surprise to me.
Ginny is very disappointed as her parents drag her and her brother on a summer vacation with nearly no warning ahead, which means a cancellation for all the plans they had. Little does she know that the manor they'll be living is hiding a secret.
Ginny is into Agatha Christie. Not only does she devour every book by this author she can get her hands on, she aspires to be a writer of mystery novels herself, one day, and is prepared to work for that goal. Her cancelled summer plans include a creative writing workshop she'll now miss. When something happens, she tries to think how Hercule Poirot or the Queen of Crime herself would, and draws comparisons to the novels. You don't need to know what she's talking about, but it's fun if you do. What I found kind of disappointing is that she goes for the more showy style of our Belgian friend and doesn't talk about Miss Marple at all. Should this get a sequel, that would be a thing I wish for: Her discovering the underestimated female sleuth.
Of course, there is some opportunity for romance. But it doesn't feel forced, and could still develop into a deep friendship instead of a romantic relationship.
But the main thing: The horror aspects of this book are genuinely creepy, and this is one of the best horror books I've ever read. See, I love brooding manors, haunted houses, stories with a limited cast. Also, I don't go for much of romance or sex in my books, and am annoyed when the horror parts boil down to gore. I want atmosphere, and this book has it. The only fault I can find that it's over so quickly, but the length feels appropiate for the plot, the characters and the target audience. So I guess I'll just look into other works by the same author, and hope that this might get a follow up.
And I think that yes, it is a middlegrade novel, but it doesn't feel that way. A main part of this might be due to the fact that the characters are developing even in this short timespan. For example, Ginny realises that the whole time, she wanted to go by what she thinks other people would do, and that maybe she doesn't want to be the new Agatha Christie, but the new herself. That she has to work with what she has, her abilities and circumstances, instead of constantly copying what other people have done. It sounds simple, but this is a huge realisation which feels very mature, because I know a lot of adults who still need to reach this conclusion.
I am sure that some day, I'll come back to this story. Full recommendations.
I adore reading spooky middle-grade books and loved the author’s previous novel “Scritch Scratch.” Hence, I started this reading as soon as I got the copy, and I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one sitting, and it exceeded my expectations!
The story has the perfect vibes and all the elements for a good haunted house story. Even though this is a middle-grade novel, some scenes gave me chills even as an adult. As soon as Ginny sets foot in Woodmoor Manor, she starts to experience strange things. Some of my favorite scenes were when she is in her room and hears scratching noises in the window. The mannequin also creeped me out a lot! I get goosebumps just thinking of it. Similarly, the typewriter also gave me shivers and the strange things that Ginny experiences with it.
Moreover, Ginny is a fantastic protagonist and fits perfectly in the story! I LOVED her references to Agatha Christie novels, and this book inspired me to re-read some of the classics. Not only was the story creepy, I thought the author played wonderful homage to Agatha Christie and her novels, especially about the red-herrings. I also enjoyed her interactions with Will and wanted to know more about the ballroom. Ginny, Will, and even Leo turn out to be a fantastic duo as they investigate if the hauntings are genuine or if someone is behind them. The author has a beautiful talent for writing middle-grade horror, and I think this is her best one yet!
Overall, do check out “What Lives in the Woods” if you love middle-grade horror like “Goosebumps,” particularly if you love haunted house stories, because this book will not disappoint!
You know what’s super underrated? Middle grade horror. And yes, middle grade horror can be genuinely scary, unsettling, even more so than adult horror and books like Coraline, The Thickety (honestly some of the most memorable and unsettling books I’ve read in GENERAL let alone in middle grade) and Small Spaces are proof of that. Excessive gore, violence, and sex are not needed to make a book scary and middle grade horror strips horror down to its purest form: just pure, well written scares. Lindsay Currie is one of my newest spooky discoveries, and she writes spooky cute books with a touch of childlike innocence to them. I read Scritch Scratch prior to this one while it could’ve been scarier in my opinion, it was exciting to find another middle grade horror author who I instantly saw has the potential to write genuinely unsettling horror novels geared towards a younger audience.
This book sets the stage perfectly, giving me instant Haunting of Hill House vibes from the minute they arrive. Perfect backdrop: a centuries old reputable haunted house surrounded by equally haunted woods. How fun!
It was a bit predictable and not exactly scary tbh, but I enjoyed it. I can see this spooking a younger audience, but as an adult, I’ve read far scarier middle grade novels before. I liked it well enough but was it on the level of Small Spaces or Coraline? Not really. Enjoyable, but for older readers, not exactly scary. Still a fun Halloween read though, especially for younger readers!
Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for sending me and advanced copy in return for my honest review.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I am not entirely sure what made me request this one as I don't usually read middle grade fiction anymore but I really liked this one...When Ginny Anderson finds out her summer vacation is going to be spent in Michigan instead of at home with her friends, she is not happy at all. And when she finds out that they aren't staying in a hotel like most families would but rather in a mansion believed to be haunted, she is even less happy. There are many rumors going around about what exactly happens at that house and none of them are very good and they are all scary to think of...when unexplained things start happening, of course in HER room mostly, she has to channel Agatha Christie and start trying to figure things out...she gets the help of a cute boy for much of it. This was a cute and not entirely cliche book and I found myself really getting into it at times.
What Lives in the Woods kept me up reading long past my bedtime! Like any good suspenseful mystery will do, it kept me turning the pages to figure out what was happening in the 100 year old Michigan mansion called Woodmoor Manor. The spooky scenes were just right for middle grade readers-- enough to make your heart race and check over your shoulder more than once while reading, while still allowing you to fall asleep without needing to leave the lights on. (Leaving the TV on to the familiar tune of reruns, however, was definitely needed. Haha.)
The main character Ginny, a middle schooler who aspires to be a mystery writer, would rather be home in Chicago with her best friend attending the writing workshop they were supposed to spend their summer loving, than dragged to this mansion that needs renovating and has barely any cell service. This becomes even more true when strange things start happening around the mansion. With her vivid imagination, her habit of overthinking/asking lots and lots of questions, and her extensive knowledge of Agatha Christie, Ginny is well suited to investigate these spooky happenings no matter how scared she may be. This book features an endearing budding friendship (maybe more) with Will, a boy whose family spends summers in town, an authentic brother-sister relationship between Ginny and Leo, and an emphasis on helping your family when they need it most. Like with The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street and Scritch Scratch, Lindsay Currie delivers spooky at its finest, while also filling her stories with masterfully crafted heart, demonstrating an understanding of what it means to be a tween/teen, and keeping relationships and connectedness between souls at the core.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Young Readers and Lindsay for providing an advanced copy to #LitReviewCrew.
Ginny Anderson was looking forward to a mystery writing class with her best friend Erica the summer between 7th and 8th grades. What she got instead was a month-long “vacation” in Woodmoor Manner, her father’s latest work project. So Ginny, her parents, and her brother, Leo pack up to head to Michigan. Upon arrival, Ginny discovers that not only does she have to give up her writing class, but she will also be staying in a dark, musty, hot, creepy 27 room mansion that does not seem happy with the family’s being there. Ginny, with the help of Leo and new friend, Will, hatches a plan to return home in time for the class.
Author, Lindsay Curry, does it again with this middle grades mystery/horror novel, What Lives In The Woods. She artfully weaves together setting, mood, and just enough doubt about the reliability of the narrator (Ginny) to keep readers turning pages and wanting to read beneath the covers with flashlights--unless they scare easily, like this reviewer. I would recommend this novel for 5th-8th graders. The possibility of “young love” between Ginny and Will coupled with the honest portrayal of many sibling relationships between Ginny and older brother Leo offer human drama which adds layers to the ghost/creepy aspects of the novel.
I really could not wait to get to the “scary” part of the novel. And “BAM!” When I thought that, I received the payoff in the next couple of pages. It was high intensity from then on. This the second of Curry’s novels that I’ve read, and I can honestly say--I am a fan!
This is a voluntary review in exchange for a free E-ARC. Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley.
If you love atmospheric, spooky and creepy manors this book is the perfect October read.
As soon as I saw and read the premise of this book, I knew I had to have it. What lives in the woods is categorized as a middle grade read, but this book had some amazing spooky moments. From an old manor surrounded by an eerie forest that seems alive and its mysterious urban legends.
Absolutely loved our main character Ginny Anderson, not only her dad has the coolest job by restoring old buildings, Ginny loves Agatha Christie's novels. She doesn't know it now, but her knowledge of mystery, character development and detective skills will come in handy for what she'll encounter in Woodmoor Manor. Ginny's brother Leo and her we're looking forward to their summer vacation, Ginny with her summer writing class and Leo with basketball camp, but that all came crashing down when they had to stay in the mysterious Woodmoor hotel.
A place shrouded with legend and history, they didn't have a choice, but they would definitely would try to make the best of it. That is until, weird and unexplainable things start to happened. Weird noises, light bulbs breaking and don't get me started with what is inside Ginny's room. The book has a fantastic pace and absolutely loved the characters, the spooky vibes were phenomenal and will have you reading it with the lights on.
Ever just wanted to enjoy your summer? That’s all Ginny Anderson wanted to do. She wanted to go to writing camp with her best friend and live her best life. But sometimes our best plans are changed, and Ginny’s changed because of her dad’s work. Upon arriving at Woodmoor, Ginny is immediately spooked and the longer she’s there, the more uneasy she feels. What is the cause? You’ll have to preorder or purchase once it comes out. It’s an excellent read, one that will have you grappling for answers almost from the very beginning.
Side note: I couldn’t go to sleep until I finished this book tonight. I have to say there were times I had goosebumps, but this seriously spooky story was great. It literally had me tense and trying to figure out the mystery from the edge of my seat. I cannot wait to put this in my classroom. My students will love it! Thanks for sharing with #BookPosse This one comes out on September 14. Go ahead and pre-order. If you like spooky, you won’t regret it!
*I was able to read an ARC of this book as a member of #BookPosse, and as hesitant as I was...I don’t do spooky, I really enjoyed this book!
What a fun creepy story! Perfect for Halloween season, or anytime!
The Basics: Ginny Anderson wants to spend her summer relaxing, maybe writing a book and just being a kid. But her dad has other ideas. Her father restores houses....so he drags them all to Michigan for a month. Sight seeing? Nice hotels? A woodsy campground by a lake maybe?
They get to stay in a run-down old mansion in the middle of nowhere. Woodmoor Manor. The house is 30 rooms of creepy shadows. Local lore tells tales of weird creatures in the woods around the house. It isn't the summer vacation she wanted, but Ginny decides to do some sleuthing into the creepy goings-on in and around Woodmoor!
What a spooky-fun middle grade story! Very entertaining! The story is scary, but age appropriate scary. Nothing too bad.
I wish I had gotten to spend a month in a creepy old house in the woods when I was young! Ginny is my kind of main character! She's an Agatha Christie fan so she goes at the mystery like Christie herself! :)
**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Sourcebooks Kids. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
This is my second book from her after Scritch Scratch and I LOVED it. Lindsay Currie never disappoints. She knows how to write a good creepy atmosphere. Both of the books I've read by her so far, flows really well and unfolds well too. Well thought stories, both of this one and Scritch Scratch. Also, Currie's books seems to always drawn me in right from the very first page. I mean I read it in one sitting and I just couldn't stop reading.
The story sets in summer. However, with the gloomy and stormy atmosphere, it makes this book a perfect read for autumn too. It is creepy, spooky, and haunting. Everything that I would ever want in a spooky book is all in here. There are scenes that made the silence and quietness I am in, in my own home became way too silence and it made me feel a bit queasy. If you love a good small town mystery, a haunted old manor kind of story with lots creepy things too discover. You will love this book!
One thing that is special to me is that our main character, Ginny is a huge Agatha Christie fan and the first book she read was And Then There Were None (same Ginny, same!).
Anyway, just pick this one up. Really. You'll love it!
Ginny's summer is ruined thanks to her dads new project. Her dad restores old buildings and this summer they're headed to Michigan to the Woodmoor Manor. Ginny quickly finds out that Woodmoor Manor is spooky and haunted. Ginny researched the town before arriving and found different folklores about the Manor. From ghosts to creepy creatures called the hitchhikers what is haunting Woodmoor Manor?
Thanks to Edelweiss for a kindle arc of this book!!
Another winner from Lindsay Currie! Great creepy story with memorable characters. I loved this one as much as I did Peculiar Incident and Scritch Scratch. Students and teachers alike will be anxious to get their hands on this. Both previous books have been read aloud by upper elementary teachers in my school and the students beg them for one more chapter. This will be no different.
Another favorite by Lindsay Currie! She has become one of my new favorite middle grade authors. This book was super spooky in parts, to the point that I scared myself when something tapped on my window!😂 But I still think it’s a great read for middle school kiddos and I’ll be recommending it to students!