Blog Tour: Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

Book Review: Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

Book Review: Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

Blog Tour April 6, 2022


If The Breakfast Club were ever combined with Tremors, you might have the movie version of Dread Wood. On a fine Saturday, four students at Dread Wood (High School) have gotten detention for their roles in an incident in the cafeteria. The principal, a very eager educator who relies on energy and cliches to help students better themselves, has set out a wonderful day for the students to learn, to bond, to benefit the school and others, and generally to make better choices.


I’ve worked with teenagers. Energy and cliches only take you so far. When the students are facing detention, that is usually not the most effective approach, at least not in my experience. But I digress.


Suffice it to say, this principal is in for a very bad day. It is, however, not the fault of his detainees. First he is knocked on the head and left unconscious. Then he is swallowed into a hole in the ground, a hole that was not there before he got pulled in and disappeared immediately after.


The principal had the kids’ cell phones. The gates to the school are locked. There are creepy people on the grounds and even creepier things under the ground that are getting bolder and bolder. All in all, the punishment for a food fight looks to be way out of proportion to the actual discretion.


But, of course, there are reasons beyond the food fight why the kids are there. There are secrets they do not want to get out, secrets that have come back to haunt them. An elaborate plan of revenge has begun, and these four students are at the center of everything.


Dread Wood is a great book for young teens and tweens who like mysteries, science fiction, and a little bit of horror. A bit more mature than Goosebumps, not quite as scary as Frankenstein. (Yes, I know the doctor was the real monster. I’m referring to the book.) Jennifer Killick has created a young ensemble, centered by Angelo, with diverse characters from differing backgrounds. One of the more appealing things to me was the diversity in economic backgrounds of the students. Angelo’s parents work long hours, leaving him to care for his little brother. Others are much more middle-class or even well off. Having a financially troubled kid at the center of a school-based story is a nice change of pace.


Killick also includes a lot of humor in this book. Whether it is one-liners from class clown Gustav or simply humorous situations (two people and a pig riding a lawn tractor in super-slow motion to safety is a scene I would love to see on a screen), the humor keeps the creepy from getting too disturbing, an important factor for younger readers.


Funny, likable, enough horror to create a few chills but not so much to create nightmares, Dread Wood is a fun book that should find a receptive audience among younger kids ready to tackle something different. I liked it.


Our thanks to The Write Reads Blog Tours for our copy of Dread Wood, given in exchange for our honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this novel, check out the other bloggers on this tour.


Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

Book Review: Dread Wood, Jennifer Killick

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