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  • Writer's pictureSofiya Pasternack

Review: The Waking Forest

Author: Alyssa Wees

Genre: fantasy

Release Date: March 12th, 2019

Series: none


The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

What I Liked

The absolute spooky ambiance of this entire book is unspeakably beautiful. It has an otherworldly quality about it from the get-go, even though it's set in a contemporary-ish setting at first. The back-and-forth chapters between Rhea and the Witch are both equally compelling. The descriptions. are. gorgeous and are what make the book so dang spooky. It sort of reminds me of an 80's era fantasy movie that unapologetically bombards you with weird stuff, never tries to explain it, and just sweeps you along in this encompassing out-there ambiance. And you go, because it's fantastical and scary and even though you have no idea what's really happening, you need to know how it ends.

What I Would Have Liked to See

More name variance? The sisters and parents all have names that start with R, and it took me a very long time to be able to tell some of them apart (especially Raisa and Renata).

My Favorite!

That sphinxes find dad jokes to be the pinnacle of comedy.


Rhea lives in a house by the sea with her parents and her sisters--and an impenetrable sentient Darkness in the attic. In order to figure out what the Darkness is and what it wants, Rhea will have to lose, and regain, her family, her home, and herself.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for my honest review. All thoughts are my own!

meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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