“Paper Forests” by Tegan Anderson

“Paper Forests” by Tegan Anderson 695 1024 Reader Views Kids

Paper Forests

Tegan Anderson
Little Oaks Independent Publishing (2023)
ISBN: 978-1739170608
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (12/2023)

Paper Forests” is a very touching novel that will just break your heart. It is also a very well-written novel and one that is definitely worth reading. I do want to note that this book contains some very dark issues, such as drugs, mental illness, and homophobia. If this is not something you feel comfortable reading, this may not be the book for you. The author deals with these topics and others with a thoughtfulness that makes it easier to read, at least that was the case for me.

Paper Forestsfollows the path of Oliver, a teenager who is in a coma after overdosing. He is not dead, but he is not exactly alive either. Oliver awakens in a forest along with three other teens who are also in this same spot hovering between life and death. As the four characters embark on a journey through the forest, they step into a new world that seems so different to them. Along the way they must face some very hard truths about each of their lives and what led them to the forest in the first place. The forest is a very magical place filled with monsters and robots that all seem to be in place to make the characters face the ghosts of their past and choose whether they want to search for a way out or just make the forest their new home.

Out of the forest, we are given a glimpse of the teens’ parents as they sit near the hospital beds and attempt to figure out what led them all to where they are now. As they grow closer in the forest, Oliver, August, Ansel, and Gracie learn more about each other. As the reader we are given the hope that somehow things might work out for them while they battle to survive. As things in the forest progress and the children’s parents in the real world try to cope, the question of whether this nightmare will ever end is at the forefront of the readers’ thoughts (again, at least it was for me).

“Paper Forestsis a very unique story where the premise is one that I cannot even imagine, nor would I want to (think The Hunger Games and how the children were made to fight to the death). It is one that, as a reader, you would not think would make a good story, but the writing is so exceptional that it turns a dark and chilling story into one that is fascinating and something you want to know more about and finish.

Tegan Anderson has such a vivid way of writing that readers will feel they are right there in the forest with these confused and scared characters and they can feel the anguish and fear that is present in the parents. The description of the scenery is mesmerizing, something I highly commend the author for. If I had one complaint it would be that I felt the backstory for the characters should have been explained in a bit more depth in separate scenes rather than just having it thrown in there briefly about what happened to them. I think it might have given the characters a bit more depth. That being said, Paper Forestsis still an excellent story.

I would definitely recommend this book to other readers. While the idea of the story is a difficult one, this author has created a world in the forest that is so intense, it makes for an amazing story. Tegan Anderson’s “Paper Forests” is a bittersweet story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It will be very interesting to see what Ms. Anderson comes up with next. I will be waiting.

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