In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware


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Started: October 22

Finished: October 25

Genre/*Category: Suspense Fiction/Adult Fiction that could appropriately appeal to YA Readers

Published: August 2015

Awards/Honors: New York Times Best Seller, USA Today Best Seller, LA Times Best Seller, Entertainment Weekly Summer Books Pick, A Buzzfeed “31 Books to Get Excited About this Summer” Pick, A Publishers Weekly “Top Ten Mysteries and Thrillers” Pick, A BookReporter Summer Reading Pick, A New York Post “Best Novels to Read this Summer” Pick, A Shelf Awareness “Book Expo America 2015 Buzz Book” Pick

Pages: 320

Themes: Murder Mystery, Relationships

Rating: 4 Stars

Age/Interest Range: As mentioned above, this title is marketed as Adult Fiction. I believe the interest (and appropriate ) age range could be 9th grade and up.

There is a British vibe out of the gate with this read, and I loved that! Nora (a struggle writer) gets an invitation for a bachelorette party (Brits refer to this as a Hen Party). The bride-to-be, Clare,  is an old high school friend that Nora hasn’t been in touch with for nearly a decade. Nora is not invited to the wedding…and finds her bachelorette party invite quite strange. Upon noticing another friend on the guest list, the two decide, VERY MUCH ON A WHIM, to attend together.

The party location is a remote, modern “cabin” set in the snowy woods. The party has been organized by a very eager-to-please (newer) friend of the bride, Flo. Awkwardness ensues upon entry of the beautiful, glass home.

Clare refers to Nora by her high school name: Lee. (Lenora is our main character’s full name.) When the two finally meet after such a long time, it is announced why Clare has invited Lee (Nora)… After this initial blow , the hen party continues pretty much as planned.

Until someone ends up shot.

This was easy to get into and for me, a quick read. The plot is not mind-blowing suspenseful, however, it is entertaining. A great debut by Ware. I will make an effort to be aware of her next book…Ware “has” me as a reader.

In a Dark, Dark Wood just came out this month, and it’s already on many must read, great reads, and bestseller lists. This out-of-the-gate buzz will ensure this title’s accessibility; high school girls will find their way to it. That being said, I consider this book age-appropriate for high schoolers. The main characters are in their mid-20s, and content is appropriate.

Overall Literary Merit: Average. As stated, I anticipate this title to be extremely popular and accessible, due to its (marketing) literary comparison to Gone Girl (Flynn) and Girl on the Train (Hawkins). Its “fame” may carry it further than the writing alone would have…

Classroom Possibilities: High School Library and Classroom Library worthy.


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