What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall


When she was eleven, Naomi Shaw survived a brutal murder attempt that occurred one summer night when she and her childhood best friends, Olivia and Cassidy, were playing a made-up game in the woods. The trio banded together and, with Naomi’s brave eyewitness testimony, they helped bring a serial killer to justice for stabbing her seventeen times that night. 

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall on a white bookshelf.

However, after a new development occurs decades later with the man they put behind bars for life, Olivia wants to come clean about things the three girls never told anyone about that night in the woods.

“We could have the questionable comfort of our secrets for a few more hours.”

Kate Alice Marshall, What Lies in the Woods

What follows is a twisty, mysterious story with secrets and betrayals galore. Both tough and vulnerable, Naomi was a relatable main character. The scars Marshall gave her  – both the visible ones from that night and the invisible ones she kept buried – helped you understand Naomi’s reckless determination to find out what really happened at any cost. 

I also thought the premise of a mystery that revolved around three pre-teen girls playing fantasy games in the woods was an interesting one. It was fun to see something that was part of my own childhood (though not with the same sensational details or tragic consequences) depicted in a book. I’ve read books about young boys who play games in the forest, but I haven’t come across a non-fantasy book that talks about the rituals and magical play that girls in rural areas engage in.

While I guessed some twists, I did not see them all coming. And, even with the ones I figured out ahead of time, it didn’t diminish the reading experience. Reading What Lies in the Woods was the perfect way to spend a rainy Sunday.

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