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Eyes of the Forest by April Henry
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: August 24th 2021
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
After a bestselling fantasy writer disappears, only his biggest fan believes he’s in danger. Instead of re-reading his books, she must venture into the real world to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry. For readers of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.
Bridget is RM Haldon’s biggest fan. She and her mom sought refuge in Haldron’s epic fantasy series Swords and Shadows while her mom was losing her battle with cancer. When Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare book signings, she impressed the author with her encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy world he’d created. Bridget has been working for him ever since as he attempts to write the final book in his blockbuster sword and sorcery series. But Haldon has gone missing, and Bridget is the only person who seems concerned. Can Bridget piece together Haldon’s cryptic clues and save him before it’s too late?
Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story that seamlessly blends suspense with an exploration of fan culture.
April Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; The Night She Disappeared; and Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, Books One and Two in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ .5 / ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Eyes of the Forest is the first April Henry book I’ve read in over five years and I really enjoyed it. It’s a quick, enjoyable read about fans and the lengths they’ll go to get what they want from their fandoms. For fans of GOT, this follows three high school students and the famous author who has impacted their lives in very different ways.
I found the commentary on different types of fans and the different emotions that drives people to go from normal and average to crazy to be very interesting! Fandom culture is obviously a huge part of our world and a huge part of the internet. I was a big fan of all the dystopian era series so I definitely understand each of these characters and the passion that comes with that.
As for the characters, Bob, Bridget, and Ajay were really fun to read! If you don’t know, this book is told from four different perspectives and that was probably what made this book so strong and addictive because you get to see the story from all angles. I like that they each had very different voice and Bridget and Ajay were characters I could easily relate to. However, I wish I got to know the antagonists better because, especially for the “villains/antiheroes”, I don’t feel like I ever got to understand what drove their actions. Motive is everything to me and the character development and their reasons for acting out read as lazy to me, especially because like every April Henry book this is marked as a thriller and what I got wasn’t very thrilling or suspenseful.
A major (and maybe only) dislike of mine was the part about forced weight loss. That was pretty disturbing to read. Restricting food and requiring exercise as torture is just not what I would want teens to be reading, it’s not what I want to be comfortably reading. It depicts weight and health in such a unhealthy manner and conversations around weight in this book are also really unhealthy. Something for y’all to keep in mind if this is on your TBR.
However, I loved what was said about grief and loneliness and community and I loved the Indian-American representation. I thought the epilogue was perfect and while I would have liked this to have a bit more drama, this was definitely still a quick read. This story certainly has a lot of personality to it and if you are looking for some fun, I would highly recommend this!
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