What She Found In The Woods by Josephine Angelini is a contemporary thriller that aims to shock. In What She Found In The Woods we follow Magdalena after a 9-month hospitalization due to a breakdown.
Magdalena has killed four people. Indirectly, but she still feels responsible for it. Her, and her journal. This led to her being placed in a psychiatric hospital, getting diagnosed with schizophrenia, and drugged beyond functionality. Her journal, she feels, is the cause of all of this. Once released, Magdalena goes to her grandparent’s house for the summer and swears she will no longer write. Unfortunately, people are still dying, and Magdalena may know who is doing it…and may just be apart of it all.
“The thing about having a nervous breakdown is that no one ever trusts you to keep your shit together afterward.”
The first 25% of this book had me confused about whether I had accidentally picked up a contemporary book by accident. As it progressed, I think was concerned I picked up a romance contemporary book, two genres I generally despise. Our main characters were frustrating from the start. Madalena’s most redeeming character trait was that she never allowed herself to be the victim…except even that eventually became frustrating. I despised Rob from the start and (spoiler)I had hoped he would die, and was incredibly happy when he did.(end spoiler).
I’m not going to lie, I did not have high hopes for this book. The first bit of it felt like I had been tricked into a non-thriller book. However, as things moved along, I couldn’t put the book down as I needed to know what was going to happen. As it started to become more of a thriller book, I was more and more interested. The twists in this book are well done and incredibly redeeming. Admittedly, I didn’t and still don’t care about any of the characters. I reacted to any deaths with indifference. As is generally the case in thrillers, there isn’t much character growth either.
I could get into the issues around the way missing people, drug usage (both legal and illegal), and the handling of these things- but really, it’s a thriller novel. This is considered normal. The “not crazy, maybe crazy” trope is not new, but, to see it in a teen was interesting.
3.5 out of 5 stars overall.