Review: The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

Are the woods behind St. Bede’s Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede’s feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it’s only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth. 

Watch as Cally enters a world of privilege, weekend-long parties, high school romances, and … well-kept secrets. This page-turner will appeal to teens looking for a fast-paced thriller. Written in a voice at once gripping and crystal clear, debut novelist, McCormick Templeman, will take readers on a twisting and turning journey as only a “new girl” can experience.

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I like well-written mysteries like The Little Woods… and I especially like when the author successfully incorporates creepy characters and a foreboding atmosphere.


I’ll be honest, there’s some predictability within the plot of The Little Woods, but this novel is both beautifully written and engaging, so I didn’t mind that some things didn’t feel very surprising. In fact, Templeman may have done this purposely because when I was surprised by a twist, I was really surprised. Enough so that I literally had to verbalize my normal internal “whoa.”


There was one aspect of The Little Woods that rang false to me… and I just couldn’t get past it. Cally isn’t very girly. In fact, she doesn’t seem to care about her appearance much at all. Which would have been totally fine, if she didn’t have two boys chasing after her. Sure, some boys wouldn’t mind the lack of care Cally exhibits for her appearance, but neither of Cally’s love interests seem like the type to overlook her blatant disregard. In addition, I didn’t think she was all that wonderful personality-wise either. I liked her as a main character – her point of view was interesting – but I never felt particularly attached to her and I couldn’t understand why any of the characters were so enthralled by her.


Since I didn’t really understand the allure of Cally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance elements within the novel. They weren’t badly done or anything like that, I just was much more interested in the mystery and which characters were lying and why.


Overall, I very much enjoyed Templeman’s debut. I’ve read that her next novel, The Glass Casket, is a retelling of Snow White and I cannot wait to read it. I’ve fallen in love with Templeman’s writing and can only imagine greatness from this retelling!

Random House Children’s Books, July 2012, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780375869433, 336 pages.
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One thought on “Review: The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman

  1. This sounds mysterious and interesting. I might check it out in the future. I also really like that cover, it's so eye-catching. Great review šŸ™‚

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