(Sort Of) Recommended Reading: Into the Forest

I’d not heard anything about Into the Forest when I picked it up from the library–I kept seeing it when I was shelving books, and decided I wanted to read it. Beautiful cover, intriguing premise . . .

Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.

Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and collapse around them. No single event precedes society’s fall. There is talk of a war overseas and upheaval in Congress, but it still comes as a shock when the electricity runs out and gas is nowhere to be found. The sisters consume the resources left in the house, waiting for the power to return. Their arrival into adulthood, however, forces them to reexamine their place in the world and their relationship to the land and each other.

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, Into the Forest is a mesmerizing and thought-provoking novel of hope and despair set in a frighteningly plausible near-future America.

I am a bit cautious to recommend this novel, because of one particular scene that threw a lot of readers for a loop . . . and may make y’all think I am not the perfectly wholesome paragon of virtue you have always thought me to be (ha!). But really, it was beautifully written, thought provoking, and full of surprises. No novel is perfect, and this one had a lot of places that made me go . . . “huh. I don’t know what I think about that.” But overall there is much to recommend here. And . . . post apocalyptic! Living in the forest! Learning to live off the land! Awesome.

So, I DO recommend it, with this  disclaimer: if loose sexual morality bothers you, you might prefer to skip this book. It’s not that the book is particularly explicit or racy, it’s just . . . well  . . . I can’t explain without giving it all away. It’s a gorgeous book. I think it’s worth reading. But there are some bits that might be a bit . . . challenging to the morally upstanding. I will leave you to wonder whether or not I fit in to that category.

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5 thoughts on “(Sort Of) Recommended Reading: Into the Forest

  1. Frankly, loose sexual morals appeals to me. That is part of the appeal of the fantasy books that feature lycanthropes in love with humans, etc. that I so enjoy (the author’s name escapes me for now, Jacquelyn somebody) – and in the grand scheme of things (as in love the earth and live simply) your morality makes so much more sense to me than the standard “upright” version that featrues needless drama, over consumption, and general thoughtlessness.

  2. nice michelle! i appreciate learning about this book. already requested it through interlibrary system. sounds wonderful. totally in to post apocalyptic, woods and not concerned about loose morals! lol loved the handmaids tale. thanks

  3. Michelle,

    As always, your reviews make me want to read more. However, it sounds like a book that my dearest daughter should wait some time before reading. Am I right?

    Thanks for the heads up on another TBR.

    ~cat

    1. Cat, it’s not a YA novel, even though the protagonist is a teen girl. I think an intelligent older teen would really enjoy it–but not sure how old your daughter is. At the very least read it yourself first, then you can decide. I know there’s a scene or two that will have you raising your eyebrows.

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