What She Found in the Woods

What She Found in the Woods

Running from a scandal at her New York private school, Magdalena heads to her family home to recover under the radar.Over-medicated and under-confident, she's fearful she'll never escape her past.Until she meets Bo out hiking. Wild, gorgeous and free, he makes her believe she might finally be able to move on.But when a mutilated body is discovered in the woods, Magdalena...

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Title:What She Found in the Woods
Author:Josephine Angelini
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Edition Language:English

What She Found in the Woods Reviews

  • Danni (_forbookssake)

    Following a major scandal at her New York private school, which lead to a psychotic break, Magda has been shipped off to live with her grandparents in a quiet Pacific Northwest town, to regain control, and cut herself off from the world she’s used to.

    Rendered emotionless, and unable to feel, by her extremely high dosage of medication, Magda spends her days in a fog. The only solace she finds is in the beautiful hiking trails behind her grandparents’ cottage. All of this changes during one of her

    Following a major scandal at her New York private school, which lead to a psychotic break, Magda has been shipped off to live with her grandparents in a quiet Pacific Northwest town, to regain control, and cut herself off from the world she’s used to.

    Rendered emotionless, and unable to feel, by her extremely high dosage of medication, Magda spends her days in a fog. The only solace she finds is in the beautiful hiking trails behind her grandparents’ cottage. All of this changes during one of her afternoon hikes, when a mystery boy quite literally fall in to her life. Magda’s curious wildboy, Bo, is steadfast and strong, but living in the woods means he has no idea of the normal world, how to socialise, or anything that Magda is accustomed to. Could Bo be exactly what Magda needs to start the next chapter of her life?

    Meanwhile, a series of crimes start to break out in the area. Drugs are flowing freely around the town, and are said to be supplied by a man known as Dr. Goodnight, who everyone refuses to speak of. It’s not long until a body is found in the woods, very near to Bo’s encampment. Magda seems to be stuck in her own nightmare, and it’s only just beginning. She no longer knows who she can trust, or whether her mental health can cope with everything that is happening around her.

    I have to admit, one of the main reasons why I was initially interested in What She Found in the Woods when I came across it on NetGalley, was that it was marketed to fans of Riverdale, which I am a fan of. But then I read the synopsis and was interested in it for what it was itself. As a YA mystery/thriller, I expected a slightly lighter version of the thrillers I am used to reading, but this story really packed a punch. I was not disappointed!

    The way Josephine Angelini portrayed the issue of mental illness, and the stigma that comes along with it, honestly deserves a round of applause. She showed just how unpleasant it can be, and how insensitive others can be towards someone with mental health problems, including their own family and friends. Angelini also made it clear that even if you haven’t completely overcome your illness, that’s okay, and you shouldn’t feel bad, or be hard on yourself about it. It’s an on-going battle, and you will get there eventually, which I’m sure is something a lot of people really need to hear, and will find some comfort in.

    Although the story isn’t full on from the beginning, watching the relationship between Magda and Bo grow completely makes up for the lack of thrilling excitement early on. I’m not usually a huge fan of romance in thrillers, or in books in general if I’m completely honest, but in this book it really worked. Their love for each other was so pure, and perfect, even though they were polar opposites. I found myself invested in their relationship, willing it to succeed, and honestly it was a joy to read.

    There are so many aspects to What She Found in the Woods that there is never a dull moment. Moving on from the romance, let’s talk about the more exciting parts. There is the mystery surrounding the events leading to Magda’s breakdown, the mystery of why Bo and his family fled to the woods, and then the mystery of the murders and the illusive Dr. Goodnight. Each mystery individually gripped you, and had you begging for more information. There were twists and turns that I never saw coming, especially when I thought I had the whole story worked out. It was so frustrating, but in the brilliant way that mystery/thrillers are supposed to be.

    The last half an hour of reading is so intense, that it will have you on the edge of your seat. I had gotten so attached to the characters, that I was actually nervous to find out how it would unfold, but I couldn’t stop reading! The ending of this book was so exciting, and was finished off perfectly, leaving no question unanswered.

    As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this reading experienced. I really didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did! This was the first book by Josephine Angelini that I’ve read, but I will certainly be checking out her other work. A massive thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for my copy. I give What She Found in the Woods a 5/5 rating!

  • Museofnyxmares

    *I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.

    I don’t tend to read thrillers for some reason, but I always seem to enjoy them when I do and it was no different with this book. There’s just something about thrillers that pulls you in and makes your heart beat faster. Having said that, this was definitely in a class of its own, it was intricately woven and there were so many different layers to the story that left me so impressed. There were also so

    *I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion.

    I don’t tend to read thrillers for some reason, but I always seem to enjoy them when I do and it was no different with this book. There’s just something about thrillers that pulls you in and makes your heart beat faster. Having said that, this was definitely in a class of its own, it was intricately woven and there were so many different layers to the story that left me so impressed. There were also so many different twists and turns that it took, that it really shined in the mystery and tension elements that the thriller genre is known for. And it wasn’t just nervous anticipation that something bad was going to happen. There was tension in almost every area of the novel, from who Magda can trust in her present life, the looming threat of the deaths in the woods, whether Magda herself will be able to stay on the straight and narrow, then lastly the uncertainty of just what exactly happened in Magda’s past to land her in her current situation. Bearing all this in mind, this book feels like your walking on thin ice and you’re not sure which places are going to surprise you by breaking.

    The structure of this worked flawlessly to heighten all the most loved aspects of a thriller. Thrillers like to feed the reader only bits and pieces, to create suspense and intrigue. And What She Found In The Woods, used time to give the reader bits and pieces, scrambling to put all the pieces together, until it was ready for the big reveals. The novel shifts between past and present many times throughout. The present is documenting Magda’s current situation after being released from a mental hospital, sent to live with her grandparents, where we see her essentially trying to piece her life back together away from the bright city lights. Then we have Magda recounting memories from her past, which are all highlighted by italics. These sections are focused on Magda reflecting on her life before, when she was in the most popular, beautiful and rich group of girls at her school. She tells of everything that led to her eventual downfall and then her stint in the mental hospital. I enjoyed these different viewpoints from one character so much, as the more I read about the Magda from the past, the more I understand the Magda of the present. I also always had a deep anticipation for these italicized sections, because I was eager to learn more about Magda. Both of the viewpoints were very strong, both in the writing and I was engaged in both, but I think I just preferred the sections focused on the past that little bit more, because they revealed so much and were just a bit more ‘entertaining’ if you will.

    It’s weird, because Magda was one of the most blunt and straight forward protagonists that I’ve read about, but there still seemed to be this air of mystery about her, that I couldn’t fully grasp her, even with her being quite a candid first person narrator. I didn’t mind this though, I actually found it quite fascinating and it didn’t stop me from liking her, I genuinely thought that she was a brilliant protagonist. It just made me more excited to peak into the past in the sections in italics, to learn more about her. It was particularly interesting to have a protagonist that is so convinced that they are some sort of monster and yet you can see both the frightening and also the good parts of them. Magda was by far one of the most complex characters I’ve encountered and I enjoyed trying to figure her out and how I felt about her past actions as they came to light. With Magda being in this kind of negative mental state, whilst trying to find her feet outside of hospital, it was beautiful to see her open up to Bo. To have a character like Magda who is secure in herself and yet sees herself so negatively because of her past behaviour, it was magnificent to see her paired with someone as pure and optimistic as Bo. They honestly brought out the best in each other and I really adored reading all of their interactions. There was just something so mesmerisingly raw and innocent about it, compared to the anxiety and foreboding that stuck to the rest of the story. Bo was the best, and he was exactly what Magda deserved and it was so gorgeous to see someone who is struggling with their mental health, emotionally/physically neglected by everyone else in their life find a home in someone who’s known nothing but love. I’m a little bit in love with their relationship and the stunning sentences that the author weaved to describe their most tender and heartfelt feelings for one another.

    This was definitely one of those guessing games where you think that you’ve got something or somebody figured out, but then there’s another twist and your left blindsided. There were some characters that I completely overlooked that turned out to be ‘heroes’ or ‘villians’ and I was honestly shocked. However, there were some things that I was completely right about and it was extremely gratifying to see that my suspicions were warranted. And that’s one of my favourite things about books like this and thrillers in general, that you as a reader are made to think, whether you’re actively or subconsciously trying to figure everything out and it’s rewarding if you’re right and generally just fun/entertaining even if you’re wrong. I had a great time with this one and think it was extremely cleverly crafted and impressive how everything slotted into place to make a smooth and clear bigger picture at the end. This was one of the best thrillers that I’ve read, in terms of writing, general structure, characterisation and storyline. I was engaged and fully had Magda’s back, even if she proved herself to be an unreliable narrator at times. I highly recommend this, especially if you are wanting to try out a YA thriller, but don’t know where to start.

  • MariaWitBook

    I hope a lot of people will hear about this book! Because is the definition of a good thriller! Definitely a lot of research involved in writing such a book but the amazing twists and surprises?!?! Just awesome!!

  • Karen Barber

    'Be like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't' - the advice given to Macbeth by his wife before he commits the murder of King Duncan definitely sprang to mind as I was reading this. Everyone is hiding something, and it's not clear who to trust.

    What She Found in the Woods is a pacy thriller, focusing on the story of a young girl with mental health issues who finds herself caught up in events beyond your worst imaginings.

    Magda has - we know - done some awful stuff. She's heavily

    'Be like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't' - the advice given to Macbeth by his wife before he commits the murder of King Duncan definitely sprang to mind as I was reading this. Everyone is hiding something, and it's not clear who to trust.

    What She Found in the Woods is a pacy thriller, focusing on the story of a young girl with mental health issues who finds herself caught up in events beyond your worst imaginings.

    Magda has - we know - done some awful stuff. She's heavily medicated and comes from a life of privilege. When she is forced to live with her grandparents she finds herself drawn to the woods, where she spends her time hiking. There she meets Bo, a young man whose family live in the woods.

    There's a bit of everything in here, and yet it works. We quickly become invested in Magda's story and curious to see how the strands come together. Some of the reveals were quite heavily hinted at, but there was plenty to leave us doubting the reliability of our narrator.

  • Aoife

    CW: Violence, gun-use, violence against animals (hunting), drug use - recreational and medicinal, mental health downward spiral.

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publishers/author via Netgalley.

    Magdalena is running away from a glamorous NYC life that has turned sour and is staying with her grandparents for the summer. It doesn't take long for Magda to fall in with the old crown of rich kids she knew as a child, but she also meets a stranger in the woods one day while

    CW: Violence, gun-use, violence against animals (hunting), drug use - recreational and medicinal, mental health downward spiral.

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publishers/author via Netgalley.

    Magdalena is running away from a glamorous NYC life that has turned sour and is staying with her grandparents for the summer. It doesn't take long for Magda to fall in with the old crown of rich kids she knew as a child, but she also meets a stranger in the woods one day while out hiking. As Magda begins to learn about Bo and his strange upbringing in the forest, bodies begin to be found in the wilderness.

    This book did end up surprising me, and really hooked me in from the get go. I actually wasn't too sure of the plot of the book going into it and this worked out well for me because as soon as Magda met Bo, and we found out he was from some sort of bohemian, survivalist family living in the wild, all those buzz receptors went off in my brain. I love stories that focus on survival (particularly surviving in the woods) and love anything to do with survivalist gangs/cults/families so I knew this was going to be a book for me!

    Magda/Lena is a strange character and not a character I can wholeheartedly say I liked. She was definitely intriguing and I really liked the mystery of her and why she had to leave her old life behind and come stay with her grandparents (also this book suffers HEAVILY from absentee parents/family - laughably so). It was intense to see the downward spiral Magda takes when she stops taking her meds properly, and I'm not sure if this would be triggering for some people so just a warning for those that might find it hard. I did like that though Magda did come off her meds against a (hospital) doctor's orders, she does stress in the book that this wasn't a healthy thing to do and it did go against all the medical knowledge she knew.

    Magda's journal was a really great addition to this story - to the point where it almost became its own character due to its omnipresence and the hidden danger/secrets it always seemed to hold.

    The reveals in the end didn't really shock me too much as I had put some stuff together in my head but I still think it was all really well done, and did leave me on the edge reading it as fast as I could so I knew everything that happened.

    I think this was a strong YA thriller that will leave people feeling gripped. Definitely different to other Josephine Angelini books I've read in the end, but I loved it.

  • Nikol Popovics

    When I was little, I always did the things I wasn’t supposed to do. I would sneak ice cream before dinner, steal my sister’s clothes and stay up way past my bed time. Okay, none of these were that bad, but I still fancied myself a rebel. Perhaps the most rebellious thing I did was watch TV shows I wasn’t supposed to, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and true crime documentaries.

    I know I was a weird kid because I was obsessed with true crime (I still am). If this book had been published while I was

    When I was little, I always did the things I wasn’t supposed to do. I would sneak ice cream before dinner, steal my sister’s clothes and stay up way past my bed time. Okay, none of these were that bad, but I still fancied myself a rebel. Perhaps the most rebellious thing I did was watch TV shows I wasn’t supposed to, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and true crime documentaries.

    I know I was a weird kid because I was obsessed with true crime (I still am). If this book had been published while I was still in junior high or even high school, it would totally be one of those books I wasn’t really supposed to be reading.

    What She Found in the Woods is the story of Magdalena, a girl who is shipped off to live with her grandparents after causing a scandal at an elite private school in New York City. She takes up hiking and meets a “wild boy” in the woods named Bo, who she instantly connects with. But, a string of murders breaks out in the woods and Magda isn’t sure who she can trust… even herself.

    This books starts out a little slowly. Josephine Angelini builds the scenes brick by brick, carefully setting things up with a large helping of romance. The first half is all about Magda and her relationship with Bo, but it’s counteracted with a crazy thrill ride of the last third. The mystery, once it’s finally set in motion, is pretty intriguing. Some of the twists are a little obvious, but with an unreliable narrator, I didn’t mind it so much. The book touches on issues of mental health, drugs, violence (particularly against women) and how out of touch the elite of society can be. It’s a dark read that will perfectly satisfy your dark soul.

    Recommended if: you’ve watched every episode of Riverdale and need a fix, are thinking about going hiking but need a reason not to

  • Donna {Book Passion For Life}

    Josephine Angelini is back with What She Found in the Woods and this time it’s a YA thriller. I’ve been a huge fan of the authors work ever since her debut novel Starcrossed released so I was very excited to see she was writing something different. And it was honestly a fantastic read.

    The story follows a teenage girl Magda, who following a huge scandal at her private school in New York moves to a quiet town to go live with her grandparents after her psychotic break. There Magda tries to get her

    Josephine Angelini is back with What She Found in the Woods and this time it’s a YA thriller. I’ve been a huge fan of the authors work ever since her debut novel Starcrossed released so I was very excited to see she was writing something different. And it was honestly a fantastic read.

    The story follows a teenage girl Magda, who following a huge scandal at her private school in New York moves to a quiet town to go live with her grandparents after her psychotic break. There Magda tries to get her life back together by trying to become a better person and tries to reconnect with her old friends. It’s when she is out hiking one day she meets Bo, a teenage boy who lives in the woods with his family that things finally start to turn around for her, but when a woman is found dead near where Bo’s family live, Magda starts to question everything that is around her.

    I have to say I don’t read many thriller stories, I’m entirely sure why but I’m really glad I read What She Found in the Woods. It’s a compelling and page turning story that gives you insight of what it’s like to be a teenager, but one that is also dealing with life changing experiences and the consequences that follows after.

    Magda for me was an interesting character to get to know. I immediately sympathised with her, even without knowing the full extent of her story. She was very likable and also very relatable. When she meets Bo he starts to bring her out of this sort of depression she has been in for several months and I found I really enjoyed the story when they were together. Bo and his family were honestly a mystery but I found I really liked them all from the start.

    There are a few mysteries to try and solve throughout this book that really keeps you guessing and I really enjoyed the reveals when they happened. I was honestly sad to reach the end of the story, and although I would have loved an epilogue just to see where the characters ended up, I also liked how it ended so I can imagine it for myself.

    In all, What She Found in the Woods was a good read and one I really enjoyed, so it’s one I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something different.

  • Sasha

    -Featuring murder, mystery and self-discovery

    I always tell myself, thrillers aren't really my genre. But most often, when I do read a thriller, I like it. The same goes for this book! I was pretty hesitant to pick it up but when I did I could barely put it down!

    What She Found in the Woods is a dark and dangerous YA thriller about a rich girl who has fallen from high society amid a web of lies and medication. Magda then goes to stay with her grandparents in a small town by a forest…but all is not

    -Featuring murder, mystery and self-discovery

    I always tell myself, thrillers aren't really my genre. But most often, when I do read a thriller, I like it. The same goes for this book! I was pretty hesitant to pick it up but when I did I could barely put it down!

    What She Found in the Woods is a dark and dangerous YA thriller about a rich girl who has fallen from high society amid a web of lies and medication. Magda then goes to stay with her grandparents in a small town by a forest…but all is not what it seems, neither outside in the real world or in Magda's own head.

    Our main character, Magdalena has a pretty dark past. What brought her to where she is at the start of the novel is just one of the main mysteries unravelled in this book. The way it was revealed really added tension to the book as both the current plot and the mystery of the past build-up to a climax.

    I liked the different viewpoints of Magda's that we saw, from her in real life to in her journal, which presented a really intriguing aspect to the story.

    The story of What She Found In the Woods was structured and paced to perfection, with small reveals gradually building up the thrilling climax! We gradually discover more details that could lead to the murderer, and yet not all is as it seems, and this story may surprise you when you least expect it!

    The romance, though starting a little fast, was very genuine and pure and I really liked the way that neither Magda or Bo was always suave and confident, but actually flirted awkwardly like normal human beings. Their romance was super cute and I found myself really rooting for them!

    This book does handle issues such as drugs, suicide, mental health and murder so if any of those are sensitive topics for you then make sure you are prepared when going into this book. The theme of mental health was handled especially well as the author was honest about its ups and downs and the stigma around it.

    Overall I enjoyed this book far more than I expected! It really kept me on edge and I'd most definitely recommend it to anyone who loves thrillers, but also to those who prefer other genres! If you're going to step outside your comfort zone, this is the book to help you do so.

  • thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    An intriguing read, clever plot, wonderful twists and very well written. A great YA thriller, not my usual genre but I was very pleasantly surprised with this read. A very addictive page turner.

    Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

  • Meredith Mara

    I love a good YA thriller. And when I picked up WHAT SHE FOUND IN THE WOODS, I couldn't put it down. It's deliciously dark and twisted, and oh so good!

    Stepping into the fragmented mind of main character Magdalena, who is freshly released from a nine-month stint in a mental hospital following the biggest scandal her elite New York school has ever seen, is a kaleidoscopic experience. Lena's brain is drugged up, and her memories are scattered. In bits and pieces of flashback, we learn what led to

    I love a good YA thriller. And when I picked up WHAT SHE FOUND IN THE WOODS, I couldn't put it down. It's deliciously dark and twisted, and oh so good!

    Stepping into the fragmented mind of main character Magdalena, who is freshly released from a nine-month stint in a mental hospital following the biggest scandal her elite New York school has ever seen, is a kaleidoscopic experience. Lena's brain is drugged up, and her memories are scattered. In bits and pieces of flashback, we learn what led to Lena's nervous breakdown and the metric ton of guilt she now carries with her.

    Other than her journal, there is no one to help her cope. Not with the scandal nor its repercussions. Not with the mental illness that runs in her family and affects her too. Her parents are no longer on speaking terms with their daughter, whose actions humiliated them in societal circles. And her grandparents, with whom she now lives in the Pacific Northwest, have made an art form out of keeping the conversation strictly on the pleasant side of things. And so, Lena spends her days hiking the forest trails behind her grandparents' house, until one day, Wildboy, Bo, stumbles upon her picnic blanket and literally lands himself in her lap.

    But all is not as it seems, not inside Lena's head nor in the small town where she now lives. And soon it is not merely Lena's dark past threatening her future as the bodies in the woods start to pile up.

    4.5/5 STARS

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