Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick

Published by Farshore, 2022.

Jennifer Killick is the undisputed queen of MG horror. I absolutely loved Crater Lake, her 2020 high school thriller and, now, with Dread Wood she’s created another tension-filled, unnerving school-based adventure.

It’s basically the worst detention ever. When classmates Angelo, Hallie, Gus and Naira are forced to come to school on a Saturday they think things can’t get much worse, but they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

Who or what has dragged their teacher underground? And what exactly is the creepy caretaker and his wife up to? Cut off from help and trapped at school, in danger every time their feet touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention; someone has been watching them and they’re out for revenge…

Dread Wood has all the ingredients of a classic horror story: an unseen foe, darkness and isolation, mysterious disappearances and creepy characters. There are some real stand-out moments when the hairs on the back of my neck stood up or I gasped out loud, and I’m certainly not in any rush to go peeking through a hole in a fence anytime soon.

The four kids are a bunch of misfits and none of them get along. However, being thrust into untold danger brings them together and they soon discover friendship and solidarity. I loved how their relationships developed as they shared secrets and opened up to one another.

There’s plenty of humour to break the tension and lighten the mood and, as ever, Jennifer’s witty dialogue is spot-on. The lawnmower scene was excellent and Gus is comedy gold.

The book is genuinely scary and a real page-turner. Prepare to face your arachnophobia and be warned – you’ll never think of Incy Wincy Spider in the same way again…

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Farshore for sending me this book to review and to The Write Reads for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

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