The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date:
08/09/2020
Length: 507 pages
Genre:
Gothic | Horror | Young Adult

CW: graphic descriptions of death

Blackwells.co.uk

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will. 

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Review

A couple of years ago I was introduced to Henry’s work by a friend’s recommendation of Lost Boy. I adored that novel and it’s something I want to go back and reread as it was so wonderful. Earlier this year I read The Mermaid, which I enjoyed but it didn’t hit me as hard as Lost Boy did. The Ghost Tree, however, had me gripped and staring in disbelief at the final page. 

Although Lauren is the protagonist of the novel, each chapter changes to a different character’s perspective so you do get to know many different people in the community. I thought all of the characters were great, even the ones that you’re not supposed to like, you couldn’t help be excited when it came to their chapters again. I thought Lauren was a brilliant protagonist and it was great seeing her question everything. I also think Henry did an excellent job of showing the dilemmas and changes that teenage girls go through with Lauren’s friendship with Miranda. However, I think my favourite character has to be David – he was such a sweetie and surprisingly… insightful. 

This novel kept me hooked right until the very end. I loved the way you would slowly learn more about the town and it’s residents. Whilst the novel is set in 1980s America, it still very much had a classic fairytale like quality to it, especially with how dark it was. I loved how all of the stories effortlessly entwined and how each of them were vital in moving the plot forward – there wasn’t any part of the novel that I didn’t understand why it was there. I also loved how there were times where certain chapters were only a paragraph or so long – I thought this was a brilliant way to build the tension and caused one scene to pack a bigger punch than I was expecting it to. The final line of the novel also had a huge impact which left me gutted when I turned the page and realised that was the end. 

Before I start completely rambling, I will just end this by saying that I totally adored this novel: it was dark, mysterious and gripping – perfect for this time of year. If you like the fairytale mixed with horror, then this is the book for you. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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