Cover Image: It Came from the Trees

It Came from the Trees

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Member Reviews

It Came From the Trees is a book that perfectly encapsulates the childhood horror of impossible monsters. Against the odds, and the adults, Jenna must save her best friend from a monster no one believes is real. She has to learn to face her fears and accept help where it is offered. She must make the adults believe. And most importantly she has to find Bigfoot.

It’s an exciting horror, the story interspersed with newspaper clippings, blog stories, and Owlet Survival Handbook entries that all add a level of immersion to an already great tale.

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An adventurous tale of Jenna, one of the most eager scouts I've ever read about, attempting to solve the mystery of just what sort of monster took her friend Emma, this is the type of novel I'd share with kids who ask for something spooky, but not horrific. Dealing with big emotions like grief, loss, and the feeling of the world fighting back when you just want to tell the truth, it's more than just a story that takes place in the woods.

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Thank you to @NetGalley and @Penguinrandomhouse for the ARC. The cover of this book caught my I and I had to read it. I was not disappointed. Ally Russell did a great job catching my attention with this spooky mystery that mad me want to stay out of the woods and never go camping again. I loved the news articles that were spread out in the book, it added another layer to the mystery. This is a must have for all school libraries.

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The legend of Bigfoot gets a bone-chilling update in this scary story about a young girl and her scout troop who are willing to brave the woods to find her missing friend when no one else will. Perfect for fans of Daka Hermon and Claribel A. Ortega!

This was such a fun book! I love a good camping adventure and this was very well done.

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Jenna, who loves the outdoors, joins a new group, the Cottontail Scouts, with her friend Reese. Jenna's grandfather was a park ranger for a number of years, and was the first Black ranger in the Sturbridge area. The Cottontail Scouts are expensive, and require an uncomfortable uniform, but have more exciting opportunities than the free Owlet Scouts. On their first camping trip, Jenna and Reese, whose parents have recently divorced, don't feel particularly comfortable. Heather Winslow, their blonde scout leader, is dismissive of them, and also has them gather firewood more frequently than the other scouts. Everyone else seems to know each other, and are not welcoming to the newcomers. When Reese is forcibly grabbed out of the tent in the middle of the night and stolen away, no one believes that Jenna saw a bearlike creature with a distinctive, unpleasant odor take her friend. Her mother and grandfather know she is traumatized and try to support her, but since Reese has run away in the past, Jenna's mother thinks this is the likely explanation this time. Her grandfather, however, shares the story of a fellow ranger who disappeared in 1992 with her, and takes her more seriously. There have been pets in the neighborhood who have gone missing, and there is an online forum about the Beast of Backcountry that reinforces Jenna's experience. Jenna doesn't really want to go back out into the woods, but she does want to put survival bags around the forest for Reese, whom she feels is out in the wilderness trying to survive. When her mother lets her join the Owlet Scouts, she's a little leery, but determined to help out her friend. Stacy Scott, the leader, and Mel Torres, the high school assistant, are much more welcoming, as are the girls, who include Puerto Rican Norrie, who favors purple hiking boots, sisters Ana and Rosie, and als Ashley and Kate. When the leaders are entering the camping area, they meet a creepy man, but tell him that they are not staying the night in the woods, even though they have a three day trip planned. They tell the girls that it is good to keep all sources of danger in mind and act accordingly. Jenna buries a bag, but is reprimanded for going out alone; the leaders don't want anyone venturing out solo. Jenna sees a similar creature, who seems to be saying "Ena", and starts to panic; this is worse when the group sees a dead coyote far up in a tree. They plan on evacuating after Stacy's bear spray doesn't work against a creature, but when Stacy breaks her leg badly, they decide to hunker down in the woods and wait to be rescued by rangers, who are expecting them at a checkpoint. Will Jenna be able to get help to her friend Reese, or will creatures that mean the scouts harm derail these plans?
Strengths: An outdoor adventure? With cryptids? And girls who love nature? Yes, please! I especially appreciated the author's note that she's not the biggest fan of the outdoors, but thinks it is important for Black children to be shown outside. The grandfather's career as a park ranger, and his influence over Jenna, was good to see, and I wouldn't have minded more of him in the story. While the "beast" was scary, the scariest part of this story was the disappearance of Reese. The fact that her parents had just divorced, and that she had run away in the past, made it seem plausible that Jenna's mother, and the police, didn't believe Jenna's story. It also made sense that Jenna wanted to leave survival bags for Reese, and that in order to do so she needed to confront her fears and get back out into the woods. While the Cottontail Scouts weren't very nice, the Owlet Scouts were a good group, and I was glad that Jenna could be a part of them. Her reluctance to trust or befriend the others, even Norrie, made sense given her recent trauma. There's lots of trekking through the woods, a bit of action, and even a quantity of gore for readers who want a scary outdoor adventure.
Weaknesses: The pacing of this could have been improved a bit; some parts were action packed and exciting, but other parts were rather slow, and the way these scenes were arranged could have been improved to heighten the tension throughout. Since this is a first novel, I'll be interested in seeing what else Ms. Russell writes.
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who want a scary, outdoor adventure like Lang, and Bartkowski's Whispering Pines books, Currie's What Lives in the Woodsor Reynolds' Izzy at the End of the World.

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I LOVE middle grade horror books, and It Came From The Trees was absolutely delightful.

This one is perfect for fans of everything outdoors and cryptids.

Jenna, the main character, is so strong and determined and a friend that anyone would be lucky to have. I loved how friendship was such a big theme throughout this book.

I feel like I say this anytime I review a scary MG book, but these books just really know how to play into our childhood fears. There were quite a few moments that had me on edge.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

This was such a well done middle grade book. With messages of friendship, trust, and finding courage when you’re scared. I loved Jenna and her character development was done so well. Her determination in such a scary situation was admirable. I don’t think I would have that courage at 11. I also appreciated the talk about micro aggressions from the camp counselor and how messed up the things she said was, but they still said to let an adult handle it. That’s good advice.

There was also a bit more gore and scary bits than I expected. I guess horror for kids is more and more popular! This is a short book, so we don’t get a lot about the monster. I wish we could have learned something about it.

There’s so much to take from this book and from the dedication at the beginning I loved it. Hoping for more from this author in the future!!

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This is a good one for middle grade horror fans. Just enough scary stuff to make your palms sweat and get your heart pumping. The setting is perfect: a scout troop on a multi-day hiking trip, and the girls aren’t expected back for at least another day….

Jenna, the main character, is a great example of facing your fears, and she goes back into the woods to help her missing friend. I won’t say she’s entirely smart about it (she is only 11, after all 😆), but she has good intentions and a LOT of courage. Me? I would probably never leave my house again if I were in Jenna’s slightly-too-small hiking boots.

This is author Ally Russell’s debut novel, and I look forward to reading what she comes up with next!

Thank you as always to NetGalley, Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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This took Bigfoot in a whole new level. I was hooked from the cover. That figure in the background was scary looking. I really enjoyed how good the tension was for this and that it took Bigfoot into something new. The characters felt like real people in the situation. And I enjoyed getting to know them throughout this book. Ally Russell does a great job riding this and has a great feel for making it scary. But still able for younger children to read.

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There are two things Jenna loves more than anything else. Being outdoors and her best friend, Reese. In one fateful moment, she manages to lose both things simultaneously. To make matters worse, everyone from the police to the media to her mom and grandfather doesn't believe her version of events. Her friend was taken right in front of her by..... something. She doesn't know exactly what the creature was. One thing she knew for sure was that she would get her best friend back. Even if she has to do it all alone. When she finally ventures into the woods again in a new troop, everything she thought she knew and had planned is put to the test.

It Came from the Trees was suspenseful. Being told from a child's perspective in a Girl Scout troop lends the reader the feeling of brave optimism in the face of danger. The author does an excellent job of shedding light on the trials of being a young black girl and the pushback you often get for your appearance or race. The power and strength we find in sisterhood can help us achieve new heights and take down even the most formidable of enemies.

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Thank you to Net Galley for this ARC.

This middle grade book takes a camping trip and adds the eerieness of the woods and a cryptid. Jenna's character development is well executed. She learns to trust her own instincts and develops solid friendships while dealing with her (justified) fear.

I'm adding this own to our library when it's out!

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Thank you to netgalley and Random House Children's, Delacorte Press for allowing me access to this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed this book so much. The ending was icing on the cake,

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I am getting into MG and i find that it helps me give recommendations to my grandson who loves to read. This was a great read and i will be purchasing this for my grandson was fantastic.

The book is great for all middle grader readers. the main character i loved because it is a very strong willed girl. i loved that she does what she had to for people to believe her.

Highly recommend this book to all.

Thanks NetGalley for letting me read and review.

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It Came From the Trees was an absolute delight of a read. I rarely read MG, but I am so glad I had a chance to read this one (thank you Netgalley, the author, and the publisher).

I think this book is so perfect for a MG audience. The character ARC was so beautiful, the description of camping out in the woods and the eeriness of it all (let alone adding a cryptid into the equation), and the voice was perfect. I loved reading about such a strong young girl, the issues she has to deal with, and the absolute loveliness of friendship and the importance of being believed. Highly recommend this one for readers of MG.

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This book was awesome! It was very interesting, I loved the idea. I really enjoyed the ending, too! It cleaned everything up nicely. While it wasn't the most important part of the story, I really loved watching the main character slowly warm up to her new troop and make new friends.

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There are two types of horror/thriller books for me. The ones we read only once and the ones that although you already know what is going to happen you read again for the thrill of the journey and specific scenes (that is Jurassic Park for me I reread it a lot). This one is like that. I loved it. I can reread it and still feel the thrill, the panic, the fear of being hunted, surrounded because it is well written.

Jenna's best friend Reese follows Jenna to a summer camp but ends up being kidnapped by something that no one believes exists. Because no one believes in Jenna she decides to go back to the woods and take matters into her own hands by joining another camp. Whatever happens, Jenna won't let Reese down.

I couldn't put it down, read it in one sitting. Love a book with a theme going into the woods, or predator vs prey. This is my first contact with the author and now I am curious to read more.

Great Scout/camping tips. The news clips between chapters add to the tension. Some prejudice. Adults refusing to believe in children, support from family, new friendships, loyalty, courage, and respect for nature by acknowledging the dangers. Not letting fear control us or our lives.

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