Author: McCormick Templeman
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
ARC from publisher via Netgalley
I was looking forward to a good YA mystery when I chose The Little Woods by McCormick Templeman. The protagonist, Cally Wood, decides to go to hoity-toity boarding school St. Bede's Academy because her sister disappeared there years before. Maybe Cally's looking for closure. Maybe she's looking for answers. She's definitely going to find trouble.
Cally has a great voice that pulled me in right away. Snark is de rigueur for YA novels these days, but Cally's voice wasn't just snark. There was real wit in her observations about the school, her new classmates, and herself.
But that, unfortunately, isn't enough to carry the novel. The actual mystery is predictable and while I kept hoping for some creepy suspense to crawl in from the woods, it didn't materialize.
The plot gets sidetracked by Cally's relationships with cute boy Alex and cute boy Jack. But neither are essential to the mystery. And Cally isn't that essential to the mystery, either. Clues are literally handed to her, and in a very talky denouement, she finally pieces it together.
So if you're looking for a smart, engaging character, Cally is your girl. If you're looking for a suspenseful read, you may want to look elsewhere.