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Into the Forest

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  10,215 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews
Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single even
Paperback, 243 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1996)
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Elizabeth I kind of got this impression as well. I think by the end, they realized that the world would never come back to what it was and they had to adapt to…moreI kind of got this impression as well. I think by the end, they realized that the world would never come back to what it was and they had to adapt to it. I guess that meant becoming wild forest women. (less)

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3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,215 ratings  ·  1,343 reviews

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Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
this is definitely a novel.

i mean, i never thought it was a true story, but i just want to emphasize that decisions characters make in this book are very much suitable for literary purposes; they provide dramatic tension and character development and a story arc, but as far as practical decision-making goes, these sisters fall a little short.

and there was a period when i thought, "hey - these girls finally have it together and are taking real steps towards their own survival," only to modify th
Lisa Vegan
May 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys fiction
Recommended to Lisa by: Michele
This became one of my favorite books as soon as I read it; I was totally immersed while reading and continue to dwell on this book. I almost gave it 4 vs. 5 stars though, because I “didn’t like” the end. But, I realize, it’s not that I thought the end was poorly done; it was just difficult for me to agree with aspects of the decisions made. The fact that certain happenings were so painful for me, shows how powerful this book seemed to me. This is a beautifully told story about 2 sisters who must ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raeleen Lemay
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, adult-fiction

THIS BOOK WAS SO GREAT. The writing was so beautiful and the descriptions were gorgeous and haunting and made the characters and images leap off the page. My only issue was the way the story was told: through journal entries that Nell wrote. I feel like if the story had been told in third person it would have given a more complete picture of what the two sisters went through, and would be more realistic than Nell constantly writing in a journal despite all of the other things keeping her
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: figures 8 hate ate
Recommended to Mariel by: Me recommending it to Lauren who recommended it to me
Into the Forest was a random book find. I picked it off the shelves and decided it sounded like something my sister would like. Two young sisters hiding from the rest of their post apocolyptic world that is rapidly become further rings of apocolyptic mess, learning to survive and make a new world out of the old. I, um, pretty much talked her into buying a book that I kinda wanted to read. (I'm sneaky that way.)

Lauren devoured it in one sitting. I did the same, but in my case it turned into more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Michael
Shelves: post-apocalyptic, ya
Nell and Eve are precocious teenagers living with their anti-establishment parents in the middle of a redwood forest. Their contact with the outside world is sporadic, so it takes them a while to realize that civilization is crumbling around them. Hegland is vague about the reasons--a far-off war, new strains of disease, terrorist attacks on US soil. (She wrote this in 1996, when all of this was less hackneyed.) But after a few seasons of this, the family is left without electricity, internet, t ...more
Ginny Messina
Nov 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopia
In this haunting and thought-provoking book, a series of natural disasters and man-made events conspire to bring the U.S. to its knees as the infrastructure gradually begins to falter. Eventually all utilities shut down completely, and without electricity and gas, there is no real news—-just rumors. Stores quickly empty, and desperation and fear set in.

The story focuses on two teenage girls who live about 30 miles from the nearest town in the northern redwood forest of CA. The deaths of their p
Dec 04, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Dystopian or "end of the world" novels.
Review edited for content and spelling. Written awhile ago.

Book club read.


I so wish I had been able to enjoy this book and I do feel elements of it were lovely. I actually changed my rating from a two to a three. This is one that just did not work for me at that time.

In fact, I stopped about a quarter of the way in. It is a Dystopian book about two sisters basically facing the end of the world..or at least the end of the world as they in fact know it.

There are some rather strange happenings
Stacia (the 2010 club)
By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else.
From beauty no road leads to reality.
~Hannah Arendt

I waited for over a year to read Into the Forest. In that frame of time, I had imagined this idea in my head of a book filled with controversy and chaos. The reality of what this book was never crossed paths with what I had imagined. It was far better.

This story takes place in a post-apocalyptic time but it is not a post-apocalyptic book. This story features an act of incest
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I am a fan of apocalyptic fiction, and this one started out ok; unfortunately, it ended really poorly. I liked the fact that the sisters were isolated. And I actually think there reactions to the end of the world as they know it is probably how a lot of people would react - with a bit a denial and an unreasonable hope that things will get better soon.

I found the characters pretty unlikeable however. Both Eve and Nell were naive and ignorant in their own ways. This made them fairly true to life b
Karen’s Library
I had to think about this book overnight before figuring out what I thought about it. I had just watched the movie and liked it so thought I'd try reading the book.

In this case, I thought the movie was much better than the book!

I liked the book well enough and read the last 75% in one sitting which usually tells me I'm really vested and enjoying it. But a couple of things happened near the end that were disturbing which ruined the book for me. Those parts were NOT in the movie, thank goodness! (
4.25/5 This was so beautifully written. It felt so real and harsh but also hopeful. I cried hard two times. I honestly don’t know how to properly organize my thoughts about this book. It’s just really really good. The only reason it’s not 5 stars is because the format this story is told is like writing in a journal and so there are no chapters and I was thrown off at first because I didn’t know when to pause.

Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
i had some difficulty relating to the main characters, but the story of the slowly crumbling infrastructure of the united states is incredibly compelling, and i found myself thinking, "oh my gosh, that could really happen ... and jeez, that already is!" i was suddenly lured into the premise and the "what if" feeling it inspired, which made me a little paranoid ... especially when the narrator states, "It's amazing how quickly everyone adapted to the changes. I suppose it's like the way people ha ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This will be a hard one to review. I actually met Jean Hegland. She doesn't live too far away outside of Sebastopol, in northern California. The fictional town of Redwood reminds me of Sebastopol.
So first you have to wrap your mind around a society which is falling apart: natural disasters, disease, government infrastructure collapsing, etc.
There is a family who lives about 30 miles from the town of Redwood, as as things start to collapse they learn to cope in their individual ways. As time goes
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
Set in the near future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home. Over 30 miles from the nearest town, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society's fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity turns off and gas is nowhere to be found ...more
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Addie by: Aerin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who imagine running away from it all
When 9/11 hit, I was reading this book. It was frightening and exciting all at once. It is about a sickness that causes everyone to either die or hide. Two sisters go into the forest with their family and later must learn to survive on their own. I learned some interesting survival techniques and think that if we ever have to go survive in our cabin in some type of disaster situation, I just might have some skills.
Lala BooksandLala
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
My final rating is a 4.5/5, only a few slight things took away from this being a perfect novel for me. It 100% appealed to my earth mama senses and while slower on action and dialogue than I was expecting, I didn't get bored once.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How and when ‘Into the Forest’ came to be on my to-read list, I can no longer recall. It must have taken little convincing, though, as I do like novels in which society has collapsed and the main characters are women. The tone is an interesting mix of gentle and vicious; the narrative follows two sisters living in the middle of nowhere. The electricity and phone have stopped working and they have no petrol left, so must survive as best they can on their own. Hegland certainly evokes a distinctiv ...more
Sandra Heinzman
I read this book in two sittings, and I couldn't put it down. First, I could relate to the homeschooling/ unschooling in the story, as my family homeschooled for 12 years. Everything the girls (mainly Nell) learned, she learned on her own, through her own interests, from books, from trial and error, from invention. I found it all fascinating and believable, and often enviable. It is the first fiction book I've read about unschooling and it delivered! Also, I felt that the way the world was crumb ...more
Julie Christine
A poignant, sensual and carefully written book that will remain quietly in my mind for a long time to come. What strikes me, why I gave it a fifth star, is how it has remained relevant, fresh, shocking and provoking fifteen years after it was written. The United States in 2010 is closer to the brink than Ms Hegland envisioned in 1995; it is not much of a stretch to imagine a country that simply can't afford to pay its bills, where civil war erupts between political parties, where disease cannot ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lee by: Lisa Vegan
This is a beautifully written book about two teenaged sisters who are left to fend for themselves after surviving the death of both parents.
The older sister Nell paints a lovely portrait of a family who live by their own rules, on a large plot of land 30 miles from the nearest town. The girls have a free range education at home, roaming the forest, following their own interests until slowly things begin to change. A series of events leaves the girls stranded on their homestead, surviving on dwi
“Maybe it’s true that the people who live through the times that become history’s pivotal points are those least likely to understand them.”

This is the end of the world. Although it's hard to really know that's what's going on. Eva and Nell, two sisters, live in a house that is 10 miles from their nearest neighbor, many more miles from the nearest town. They back up to a national forest, they are homeschooled and rarely leave home. It isn't until their mother dies that they start to leave the ho
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was SO good until about halfway when the author made it get extremely weird. Besides the very disturbing parts, the ending was terrible as well.

Really great book about 2 young women at the end of "life as we know it" in the California redwood forest. It's a coming of age book, but not necessarily young adult. The writing was well done, BUT WHY WHY WHY DID THEY DO WHAT THEY DID AT THE END??? I guess that is what part of makes a book good, is the shock value and how things don't always end the way you think they should. Oh, and also that part in the middle that made me squirmy uncomfortable and that I can't get out
Margarita (margaritathedrink)
This book was written so beautifully. I just ate every word up. I connected with the characters and just loved the slow pace instead of the fast paced apocalypse/end of the world books I normally read. This is definitely my new favorite book.
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Apocalypse Whenever: Into the Forest adaptation 11 71 Aug 08, 2019 12:23PM  
Screen & Page: Into the Forest 1 4 Feb 23, 2017 11:00AM  
Contemporary YA: Into the Forest Book vs. Movie 5 74 Jul 16, 2016 10:07AM  
Into the Forest: Into the Forest adaptation 9 19 Jun 02, 2016 07:54PM  
Naiveté lasted too long 5 47 Oct 20, 2014 07:16AM  

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Jean Hegland's first novel, INTO THE FOREST, has been translated into eleven languages and is a frequent choice for campus- and community-wide reading programs. A film version starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood is scheduled for release in spring 2015. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY promises her second novel, WINDFALLS, is “a good prospect for reading groups.” Excerpts from her non-fiction work, THE LIFE ...more
“This body is yours. No one can ever take it from you, if only you will accept yourself, claim it again--your arms, your spine, your ribs, the small of your back. It's all yours. All this bounty, all this beauty, all this strength and grace is yours. This garden is yours. Take it back. Take it back.” 54 likes
“I never knew how much we consumed. It seems as if we are all appetite, as if a human being is simply a bundle of needs to drain the world. It's no wonder there are wars, no wonder the earth and water and air are polluted. It's no wonder the economy collapsed, if Eva and I use so much merely to stay alive.” 8 likes
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