I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Devil's Tree by Susan McCauley
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Horror
Kaitlyn didn't believe in ghosts--not until one killed her boyfriend and her best friend. Now she must stop the spirit haunting the Devil's Tree, or she could be next.
Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn wants to escape her drunk mama and her trailer park home life to enjoy a Saturday night off work. Instead, her boyfriend, Hunter, convinces her to go with him and their best friends, Dylan and Keisha, to photograph a desolate tree with an evil past. A terrifying presence chases them from the tree, killing Hunter and Keisha. Left alive with Dylan, Kaitlyn must struggle with her unexpected romantic feelings for him, come to terms with her loss, and face being trapped in a dead-end town. Kaitlyn is desperate to put the past to rest, but when their friends' spirits begin haunting them, she and Dylan have no choice but to seek help from a Catholic priest and attempt to set the trapped spirits free.
While I might not review horror on this blog too often, I love a good horror novel. Even better if it’s YA Horror – I don’t see a lot of YA Horror novels out there. Well, The Devil’s Tree is an exception to that rule and I’m here for it. I’m using the CAWPILE method of reviewing for this book.
I have to say that I found the main characters, Dylan and Kaitlyn, to be very likable. The book dealt lightly with racism and classism, both of which are shown in how certain characters1Dylan’s father – I’d like to have reached through the book and smacked him a good one interact with and talk about other characters. It also goes into a bit of how one person might think someone else’s situation isn’t as bad just from seeing it on the outside.
I was intrigued by how the dead remained characters in the book even after death. I won’t tell you who, but I will say it is very interesting how the author handles the ghosts in this book. I love a good ghost story, and this one was very good.
This book is set in a small Texas town. Now, I’ve lived in Texas and I’ll say this – while I lived in a medium sized city, this was a great description of how Texas can be, at least in my personal experience. Not saying this is every small Texas town, but it’s a pretty good description.
The Devil’s Tree itself is a place you don’t want to be… and Susan McCauley does an excellent job of making sure you’re at least a little bit on the creeped out side. That is one nasty tree! It makes for an excellent background for this story and believe me, without it you won’t have a story!
If you’re looking for a horror novel that is easy to read, possibly in just a day or two, The Devil’s Tree is the book for you. Susan McCauley’s writing style gives you a fast paced, easy, fun to read novel. You won’t have to labor with too many details and you won’t be bored to tears because the book takes forever to get moving. It’s quick, easy read that will give you the creeps, unless you’re a real lightweight when it comes to horror2Don’t worry if you are. Two of my roommates can’t stand horror because they say it is too scary, even when it isn’t scary at all.
The Devil’s Tree has a plot that isn’t your standard horror novel plot. Most horror novels have one person who is terrorizing the area… and while technically that is the case with The Devil’s Tree, it’s a whole lot deeper than that. This plot requires some digging into the past to get it sorted out and solved.
This plot isn’t predictable – you won’t be saying “oh this is where this happens” or “knew it”. You’ll be kept on your toes for the duration of the book.
Now some novels don’t have much intrigue because they’re not meant to. Horror novels though, should have at least some intrigue to them. Trust me, this one does. The entire story behind The Devil’s Tree (the actual tree in the book) is a mystery that has to be unraveled. You don’t know what’ll happen next or what the reason behind the tree’s curse – and you’ll want to know. What is up with that tree? You’ll definitely want to keep reading to find out.
It’s a horror novel. Logic goes out the window for most horror novels – that’s part of why they’re horror. Yes, there is a sense of logic in the novel as the mystery of the tree is being unraveled, but it’s not like you’re going to find the entire thing logical. There’s nothing logical about a tree that seems to cause people to die. But some of the steps Kaitlyn and Dylan take to figure out the mystery behind the tree and how to stop it are going to be logical and make perfect sense. Others, not so much. I’ll let you read it to find out which are which.
Unless you’re a fan of horror, and YA horror at that, you’re probably not going to enjoy this book overly much. As a huge fan of both horror and YA horror, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have no idea why I let it sit on my shelf for so long without reading it. I will definitely be looking for more of Susan McCauley’s books in the future.
If you are a fan of horror, especially of the YA variety, I highly recommend you look for and pick up this book. It’s a great, quick, creepy read for those who love a good horror story.