Courtney Wallis wants nothing more than to escape St. Augustus boarding school. After uncovering a well-kept secret about the school’s founder, Isaac Young, Courtney turns to the school’s magic to convince her dad to let her leave. Things take a turn when she meets Cole, who lives in the nearby town of Evergreen. He gives her hope that things might not be so bad. However, the school’s fountain has other ideas, and binds Courtney to her ambition, no matter the cost.
As Courtney struggles to keep the magic from taking over, she and her friends get drawn into the mystery woven into the school’s fabric. Everything seems to lead back to the forbidden West Woods. Together, she and her friends seek out the spirits of the past to ask for help, and find themselves in much deeper than they’d bargained for. If they succeed, Courtney could be free of the magic. If they fail, she may never be the same.
My Review: 3 stars
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy to read and review from Weapenry Co-Op and Netgalley.
If you could have one wish, what would you wish for? This book has you asking yourself that question as the students find a magic wishing well. It certainly puts a lot of pressure on your wish. You want it to be worth it, you don’t want to waste your one wish. Well sorry to disappoint you, but that’s exactly what these girls do, they waste their wishes. Absolutely no one make a worthwhile wish, making you angry that they have the opportunity.
I didn’t have extremely high expectations for this book, and honestly it was about as good as I expected it to be. The first two-thirds of this book were pretty good and then it started going downhill, and it just kept going.
The characters were all crafted nicely and made a nice group of girlfriends for a boarding school. Courtney was an alright character in the beginning and then she just became more and more selfish and rude. I found myself wondering why the other girls would even want to hang out with her. She treated her friends like dirt, or rather, more like pawns. People who she could manipulate to her will in order to achieve everything she wanted. I like my main characters to have flaws, but damn, Courtney tips the scales overboard in The West Woods.
As for the writing, for the first part of the book I was thinking that this would be a four, potentially a five star read. The author filled some chapters with the feeling of anxiety and excitement as the girls snuck around. Some of the scenes were written so well that I found myself on the edge of my seat, covering my mouth and hoping that the characters could get away with whatever they were attempting at the moment. The writing is what saved this novel from being a two star read. It captivated me and it is clear that the author has the ability to create a five star read.
As for the plot… there was no climax! I feel as if this has happened far too frequently in some books I have been reading as of lately. I finished the book feeling like “that’s it?”. There were so many loose ends, absolutely no real resolution and not even a cliffhanger that left you feeling as if these problems could be solved later.
Oh and the romance? You mean the romance that wasn’t? It was basically non existent because Courtney decided to be terrible. Good for Cole though, at least he didn’t wind up subjected to her terrible treatment as well. The synopsis made it sound like there would be so much more to this romance.
Basically I feel as if this was a novel with a good idea and great writing, but lacked adequate structure. A book needs to have a climax and a resolution, this one had neither. Courtney was also an incredibly unlikable main character. I definitely would not count out the author, but I would not suggest reading this book.