Are you looking for a classic middle school read? One that takes in the angst of starting to grow up, and the stresses that can cause in friendships and families? Alone in the Woods brings an element of danger, middle school angst, family love, and in the end, some resolution.
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Alone in the Woods, basics
Written by Rebecca Behrens, Alone in the Woods tells the story of Jocelyn and Alex. The first half of this middle school read switches back and forth between the girls perspectives much like in Teacher Griefer. The last half of this good middle school read was a shared experience for the girls. Could they find a way to work together to survive being Alone in the Woods? Jocelyn and Alex are friends but having trouble with that friendship. They go on their yearly trip to the woods where they get separated from their families. Can they work their way past their differences to get back to safe quarters and with their families again?
Published by Sourcebooks young readers, this is a 320 page chapter with occasional full-page images. Rebecca Behrens has written a fair number of upper elementary/middle school reads which you can check out. You’ll find themes of survival, friendship, family, middle school, action and adventure all centred around the lives of two young ladies.
I am reviewing an advanced readers copy for Raincoast Books.
Many of the chapters were introduced with grey scale illustrations. Not every chapter, I found them mostly scattered. Simple illustrations that occasionally repeated but showed landscapes from the story.
Occasionally page dividers would be these little branches which I thought were very cute. They suited the nature of the book wonderfully.
The language was very suited to the audience of youth aged 8-12 years.
You really get to know the main characters well. You get to understand the hurt felt and the mistakes made by both girls.
I found it ever so interesting that both girls were able to use their abilities to help them get out of their dire straits.
My only quibble is that the cover doesn’t match the story. In the story the girls were wearing bathing suits, on the cover they are wearing full outfits and good shoes.
Should you get Alone in the Woods?
Alone in the Woods is a good story about a friendship gone awry and how two girls figured out a way through to the other side. Friendships change as one grows up and sometimes, with some work, they can be salvaged. I was thrilled to see these two girls put the work into salvaging their relationship.
If you are looking for a middle school read with a good dose of encouragement to keep trying when friendships are hard and that has a well-done adventure as part of it. Get this book. If you want to see girls using their own skills, even in occasionally an unlikely manner… Get this book. It’s not a hard or complicated read, but should be enjoyable by most upper elementary and middle school students.