Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick #BookReview #Horror #Thriller #MG

Thank you to The Write Reads for my spot on this blog tour.

Book Info:


Turn the lights on. Lock the door. Things are about to get SERIOUSLY SCARY!

The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L.Stine’s Goosebumps

It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.

What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute…? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge…

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick is an MG Thriller that chills even the most mature heart. Four children report to school for Saturday detention, where all the events that day take a quick turn to spooky, sinister, and even life-threatening.

What I Enjoyed:

What I loved most about Dread Wood has to be the nonstop thrills that start very soon after the book begins. This is easily a one-sitting read on a typical day, and even though I was out of town when I read it, I still managed to read it in two sittings on the same day. I do love a story that packs on the suspense and thrills, and Dread Wood does not disappoint in this regard.

As an adult, I also enjoyed that there exist very profound life lessons about kindness, consequences, and the importance of friendship and cooperation in this action-packed story. These themes hit home in such a big way, especially since lives were at stake. I also enjoyed the little lessons on animals embedded in the story. The information is very cool, and when I was of MG age, I would have totally remembered all those facts and spit them back at adults in the most precocious (yet, angelic) way possible.  

The story is told in 1st person by one of the four kids – Angelo. This choice of narration is what provides all of those elements that I like about it. Angelo is a smart kid who knows a lot about animals, enough to give both fear and solutions. And the world-building is spot-on, instantly pulling me in and immersing me in this unusual school setting within the Dread Woods.

What I Wish:

Of course, I wish that these kids continue to build on what they learned from the harrowing ordeal and tackle many more challenges together as a team.


All of the characters are incredibly developed, especially considering their young age. The layers and layers of pain and insecurities grabbed my heart in a big way.

Hallie, Angelo, Gustav, and Naira are classmates but not friends. They all have secrets, and the mystery of how they came to be in detention that Saturday is surprisingly complex and comes together in surprising ways.

They each have a sad and challenging story to tell and learn from, and it is effortless to adore each of them.

Reminds Me Of:

The story is definitely Goosebumps-like. My blogger friend Staci said it sounds like a scary Breakfast Club, and I totally agree.

To Read or Not to Read:

If you love fast-paced thrillers and aren’t too afraid of spiders, Dread Wood is just the book you will want to spend an afternoon enjoying.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Jennifer Killick is the author of Crater Lake, the Alex Sparrow series, and middle-grade sci-fi adventure Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. She regularly visits schools and festivals, and her books have three times been selected for The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she isn’t busy mothering or step-mothering (which isn’t often) she loves to read, write and run, as fast as she can.

Twitter: @JenniferKillick

27 Replies to “Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick #BookReview #Horror #Thriller #MG”

  1. I’m so happy to see that you enjoyed this one, Tessa! The cover grabbed me when I first saw it, and my middle-graders haven’t read that much horror. The do love the Goosebumps series though.

    Excellent review as always! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know that it’s too scary, unless they are very afraid of spiders. It might be the kind that you read first to decide. It’s definitely full of thrills though. Whew!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you, I may save it for a little while yet, wouldn’t want her to find another reason not to sleep in her room, I’ve only just got her back in there 😂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. A scary Breakfast Club – I sure do like the sound of that. And now I want to know what they did to get detention!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m tickled that you remembered me saying that. (Thanks for the shout-out.) And now I’m even more intrigued because after reading it, you agree. I don’t typically read MG books, but this one sounds so good. (But the SPIDERS!) I may have to muster the courage and read this one. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like a wonderful book. I like the comparison to Goosebumps and The Breakfast Club (with scary thrown in). Awesome review, Tessa!:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Terrific review, Tessa, this does sound good. I love that they start in a Saturday detention. I’m wondering what got them to detention in the first place!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review. I loved this book and the whole spider aspect creeped me out because I hate spiders so much and just picturing them the way they are described in the book.. ugh I don’t want to anymore lol!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sounds like a great Middle Grade read, Tessa. I’m wondering about it for my grandson (almost 9). He likes scary, but not tooooo scary. Great review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how this book is – more thrilling than scary. As long as he doesn’t have a particularly bad fear of spiders, he should enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful review, Tessa. This sounds like a great MG story. My son loved Goosebumps and I am hoping my grandson does as well as I have so many of them. I might add this to the pile.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.