Cover Image: Eyes of the Forest

Eyes of the Forest

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Author RM Haldon (Bob) is in trouble. He's got a major case of writer's block and now he's been kidnapped by a deranged fan who is holding him hostage until he finishes the next book in his popular series, Swords and Shadows. Bridget, Bob's assistant who helps him keep track of characters and details throughout the book series, suspects that something is wrong and starts investigating on her own as a way to find Bob. I really liked the premise of this story but I struggled to maintain engagement with the characters and the farfetched plot line. Would recommend for younger teen readers who enjoy reading a good mystery with some suspense. 

Thank you to NetGalley, April Henry, and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for an advanced eBook in exchange for my honest review.
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Kept me entertained for a day - especially the blossoming friendship between Bridget and Ajay - but overall too many plot holes and fatphobia for me to wholeheartedly recommend.
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Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

I love April Henry’s books! I have seen I was in sixth grade and have read all of them so far. When I had the chance to read this book before it was released, I was stoked. Like the rest of her books, this one was action-filled, with different themes, and great characters. This one is based on a kidnapping. The whole concept was relatively new to me and I have never heard anything like it. I enjoyed the story a bunch. It was a bit confusing at some parts but I was able to catch on to the theme as it went on. It never hurts to have the story based in a town you’re familiar with. 

I received a review copy and am voluntarily leaving a review.
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Bridget has always thought of herself as RM Haldon’s biggest fan.  She was proved right at a book signing when she knew more details about the books than he did.  Now she works for him and cross-checks facts and insures the characters are on point.  Haldon has been working on the final book in the series, but he can’t seem to get started.  It doesn’t matter that he is years behind what even his publishers would like to see.  Now, Haldon is missing and no one has noticed.  Bridget doesn’t understand why she hasn’t heard from him, even if he has writer’s block.

Eyes of the Forest is a stand-alone mystery that will have readers thinking about Stephen King’s Misery.  How Haldon got into the situation becomes clear quickly, but the solution to the dilemma will take readers to the end.  This is not a long book and I found myself glad I could finish it quickly.  Henry has written a completely unexpected book.  Most of her novels have a young girl getting out of a tight situation, but this had a man in a tight situation with a young girl needing to help him out.  Eyes of the Forest is an enjoyable read and I might go back and reread Misery for the thrill of it.
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One of my must-read YA thriller authors to read is April Henry as I have found I always enjoy her stories. So, when I saw Eyes of the Forest ready to read and review, I jumped at the chance and read it as soon as it arrived on my kindle. What makes this book more intricate than her previous books is that it is like two books in one. The story starts with a reclusive hermit author called Robert Haldon who is like this world's George RR Martin who has written an amazing fantasy series but his last book still years later is unpublished as he has really bad writers' block. His fans are angry and some have sent death threats. One crazed fan and his mother end up kidnapping him and locking him in a cabin with only a typewriter and paper as they think if he is in the middle of nowhere with no distractions, he will write. The book then takes on a Misery storyline by Stephen King and reminded me of a modern YA Twist of Stephen's book. The other storyline is of Bridget who is Robert's PA and fact-collector as she is his biggest fan and has worked for him since she was 12 years old. When he goes deadly silent and then sends her a weird message, she knows something is up but when she goes to the police and they laugh her off like a stalker, she is the only one who can save him, but what happens when she might just end up kidnapped too? 
Find out in this YA Thriller intertwined with Fantasy by April Henry today.
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This is a story told from multiple viewpoints. Bridget is high school student who has read RM Haldon's fantasy series Swords and Shadows and is an expert on the world the author created. She was introduced to the series when she was young. She and her mother read the stories together while her mother was dying of breast cancer. Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare signings and impressed him enough with her knowledge that he hired her to keep track of the details and answers his questions.

RM (Bob) Haldon is the author who is stuck trying to write the final book in the series. He is getting pressure from his publisher, his agents, the people who turned his story into a television series, and many, many fans. It has been some years since the last volume was released.

Derrick is another teenage fan whose mother works as Bob's personal assistant and housekeeper. Derrick is big into LARPing and the world he and his dad live in is based on Haldon's world but the names have been changed at Haldon's lawyers insistence. Derrick is obsessed with getting the final story.

While chatting with his housekeeper, Bob floats the idea of being kidnapped and forced to write the final book. He didn't believe that the housekeeper and Derrick would actually kidnap him and refuse to release him. Derrick plans to sell chapters on the Dark Web but his mother has more extensive plans. She has always resented her ex-husband and son's obsession with living in a fantasy world. So she forces Bob to do a number of things on the spy cam which they are publishing to the Dark Web which are designed to humiliate him.

The fourth viewpoint character is Ajay who is Indian-American and who becomes Bridget's friend. He is introduced to Haldon's Swords and Shadows epic by Bridget as she reads him the stories during their lunch period where he supplies Indian food that he has cooked. 

Bob convinces Derrick to let him send an email to Bridget which is an encoded cry for help. It takes her a while to decode it but no one, including Ajay, believes her when she tries to tell people that Bob is in trouble. The local police are sure that she is just one more obsessed fan. She's on her own to try to locate and rescue Bob.

This was an intriguing story with lots to think about. It was brought home to me that a story and a world created in an author's mind can take on something like reality in the mind of an obsessed reader like Derrick. I could also understand Bridget's deep interest in the story because of memories of her mother that the stories recalled. And I could also understand Bob's difficulty with finishing up a series because of the sense of both finality and responsibility to his readers.
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This is my first time reviewing and I put my review in the notes to the publisher. Now I know how to do it the right way.
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I devoured this book in less than one day! "Eyes of the Forest" and April Henry do not disappoint! This book is about fantasy writer RM Haldon and his fan-turned-research-assistant Bridget. RM "Bob" Haldon is waaaaay overdue in writing the final book in his world-renown series "Swords and Shadows." But he's got writer's block and just can't push through it. Until an obsessed fan kidnaps him, locks him in a remote cabin, and threatens that he must complete the book "or else." Bridget is the only "friend" Bob has, but with only a typewriter as a means of communication and constant surveillance of his activities by his kidnapper, will he be able to find a way to get a message to her and be rescued?

Truly, I loved this book. It was a unique look into the minds of writers, and the pressures and frustrations they must face - especially writers of series. What *do* you do when there are people counting on you to produce - fans, publishers, agents, TV/film producers, etc. - but the words just aren't there?! What do you do when you've made promises and signed contracts and agreed to deadlines, but your ideas have dried up and there's no way to follow through? I can't even imagine. Ms. Henry did a good job of helping the reader experience the guilt, frustration, helplessness, and hopelessness writers might go through in that situation. Then there was the rabid fan aspect. There have been a few books that have tackled the dark side of fandoms ("Kill the Boy Band" immediately springs to mind), but it's a topic largely not addressed. Imagining the lengths fans would go to in order to get "what they deserve" from a creator was disturbing, to say the least. And while I have a hard time imagining this kidnapping scenario is very realistic (I sure HOPE it's not!), Henry presented it in a way that seemed absolutely possible.

The one thing that brought this book from 5 to 4 stars for me was Joanne, Derrick's mom. I don't want to include spoilers, but she was just TOO ridiculous, too "evil," too over-the-top for me. I understand why she was necessary to the story's plot (provided Derrick access to Bob), but I didn't think her being part of Bob's supervision and making him do things was beneficial to the plot's development.

For me, this was one of Ms. Henry's better books. And it's one I will definitely be adding to my classroom shelves.
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Bridget’s tentative friendship with classmate Ajay is a bright spot in her otherwise prosaic life.  Mom is dead, dad travels for work, but Bridget’s loneliness is lessened as Ajay shares lunches with her based on his Indian family’s recipes while Bridget reads aloud to him from Swords and Shadows, the fantasy series she loves by local Portland author R.M Haldon.  She enjoyed sharing her secret with Ajay - Bob Haldon pays her to maintain a database of the details of his series and she has met him in real life!  

When Bob goes silent, Bridget fears he has come to harm or succumbed to the pressure of being years past deadline to finish the final book in the series.  She’s right.  Bob’s housekeeper and her son, a classmate of Bridget’s, have kidnapped Bob and are keeping him in a mountain cabin, forcing him to produce the sequel that they are selling chapter by chapter on the dark web.  Just what April Henry readers hope for; a fast paced and satisfying story.
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A short and fast paced mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat! The ending felt satisfying and complete. I will definitely read more from this author in the future!!!! 4/5 Stars
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You just can't go wrong with any book by April Henry! She is such a fabulous writer and I've enjoyed every book I've read by her. This one didn't disappoint and is giving her past books a run for best title by April Henry in my book. I love the action paked well written storylines, the character development and the fact that this are great for seasoned thriller readers as well as new to the genre!
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As always I’m very pleased with the authors work. 

This was a fun fast-paced read, with an interesting story and it works perfectly with the short chapters, also adding the pace, tension and intrigue that are well maintained.

I’m a fan of her books and I’ll keep reading them.
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🍷🍷🍷/5
The Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

Bob is the creator of a hugely successful fantasy world. But he has hit a snag. Writer’s block has stopped him before he can finish the final book in the series, and he’s ready to try something drastic to get past it. He didn’t bargain on getting kidnapped, though. Bridget is a super fan, but because of her encyclopedic knowledge of his books, Bob hires her to help him with continuity. And now she’s his only hope.

This was really enjoyable and a quick read. Some of the action is a bit outlandish and the characters can be slightly one dimensional, but overall it’s a fun read about writing. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this free copy. These opinions are my own.
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The author of a extremely popular fantasy novel series.... who has been stuck with writer’s block and can’t seem to write his series finale is suddenly kidnapped and forced to write it..or else. His research assistant and biggest fan is a high school girl named Bridget and after not hearing from him for so long... something seems off. R.M. Haldon (aka Bob to Bridget) is the author of a best selling fantasy series (akin to George R.R. Martin and the whole Game of Thrones books and how he hasn’t written the end of the series) is stuck and can’t seem to write the series finale for his books. Its been 3+ years and fans and the tv show producers...everyone is pressuring him and begging him to write it. One day he is suddenly kidnapped and threatened to finish writing the last book... or else. now Bob has to find a way to not only stall and write the book but to send a message to the only person he knows can help him, Bridget. Soon, it is up to both Bridget and Bob to try and find a way to get to one another and get out of this mess.

This was definitely an interesting read, especially when we consider the whole George R.R. Martin scenario which was in a way kind of funny for me. This definitely takes an interesting perspective on the pressure authors feel from everyone around them to finish their books when sometimes the story will write itself when its ready and not any time sooner. The book was told from multiple perspectives and that definitely added a nice touch to the overall story. All in all, I had a great time reading this and would definitely recommend it!

*Thanks Netgalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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Thank you NetGalley and Macmillian Children's for allowing me to read an Arc of this book.

Bridget is a normal teenager that happens to work for a famous author. 
Derrick is a fan of the books.
Bob is the writer and is suffering from horrible writer's block and has an idea to cure it.
Suddenly, that idea turns horribly real.

The book is written with the three different points of view. There may have been a chapter or two with a fourth character. Thankfully, each chapter is headed by who's pov it is. 

I enjoyed the later half of the book much better than the first because I kept confusing a real life author with a long-awaited fantasy novel with the fictional author.  The second half of the book was action and drama while the first half was a build up of the tension.

I found that reading segments of Bob's story was fun. I always love a good book-within-a-book. 

I don't know if any police or detective would act as they did in the book, but if they do, then I feel sad about it. 

I'm not sure what the point of Bridget's friend was though. He felt superfluous a lot of the time. I wish he would cook for me though. A lot of his food sounded so dang yummy.

I liked many elements of this book and found it enjoyable for the most part.

Again thank you for the arc.
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A bit of a departure from Henry's usual mysteries but it was great fun!  I loved the "Misery"-like set up that then went in a different direction.  Even if it had stuck more closely to the King plot, teens aren't going to be so familiar with that so it will be intriguing to them anyway.  I also love the fantasy world elements brought to the story by the (not George R.R. Martin) kidnapped author.  Although I can always count on Henry to write something my students will clamor to read, this is my favorite of her recent titles.  As always, her knowledge and the level of research she puts into her survival situations shines through, making the peril realistic and harrowing.
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Haldon has writer's block and is overdue for his last book in his wildly popular series. To help him overcome his writer's block, he hatches a plan with Derrick, his housekeeper's son, to kidnap him and hold him in their cabin until he finishes the book. Haldon's plan does not go that simply. He is kidnapped, but he is shackled to a treadmill desk. Not part of the plan.

Bridget, a fan of Haldon's work, corrects him at one of his book signings. He was impressed and offers her a job as his researcher. She creates a database with all of the characters to help him with the accuracy of his books. She realizes something is wrong with Bob and no one believes her.
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*Thank you very much to Henry Holt & Co. ,April Henry and Netgalley for an E-ARC of "Eyes of the Forest in exchange for an honest review*

Ive read a few books by April Henry and "The Eye of the Forest" was definitely what I've come to expect from her. Spooky and thrilling.
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This is my first April Henry book, and it will definitely not be my last. I heard her speak about this book on a panel and immediately looked it up. Henry seamlessly moves between different points of view as different characters move the plot along. R. M. Haldon has severe writer's block and is unable to finish the last book in his series. An angry postcard from a fan inspires him to scheme with his assistant and her son. He will be shackled to a treadmill desk in order to finish the series. Unfortunately, this idea goes horribly wrong and puts more than just himself in danger. 

I read this in one sitting and would highly recommend it to fans of mystery!
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A big fat sloppy kiss to NetGalley who continues to stress me out with my review percentage, but still finds a way to make me happy as clam with ALL THE BOOKS.

I was first introduced to April Henry while on a tour for PLAYING WITH FIRE. If you guys haven't read that one, check it out because it is non stop insanity. Henry is a pro at tension and I'd like some pointers please. 

EYES OF THE FOREST is less intense, but interesting all the same. Bridget is a HUGE fan of R.M Haldon's work so much that he hires her as a research assistant aka keeping track of the details in his massive series. Haldon is our Martin in this book, and I found myself grinning with all the talk about the last book of the series being delayed. I mean, as a writer, i get it, but enough with the SUSPENSE, MARTIN.

I digress...

Haldon's idea of locking himself away to write backfires and he ends up literally getting kidnapped and forced to write against his will. He's starved and made to pee in a chamber pot. I mean, it's not a pretty existence, but it's less painful than Misery that's for sure. All the while, Bridget is sharing her love of Haldon's work with Ajay, a classmate when she gets a strange email from Haldon that baffles her so much that she begins to look into what's happened to him.

This is a quick read that will pull you into the world of obsessed fans and how far they will go to see a book published. I mean, it's not far-fetched. I've read a lot of what fans have been saying about Martin and it's not something I want to repeat on this family friendly site. Bridget is a determined and smart gal whereas Haldon is a meek guy who's just suffering from writer's block. He's created a world he can't control. But I loved seeing both sides of fandoms, and how intense some people can be, and how low-key nerds others become. 

I love what Henry did with giving us a book unlike any I've ever read. I will continue to be a fan of her writing, even if i am working backwards through her catalog.
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