Title: Secrets of the Home Wood: The Sacrifice
Author: Julie Whitley
For Jonathon, the Home Wood that borders his grandfather’s farm has always been a source of mystery and dread. Strange half-heard rumours passed among aunts, uncles and cousins never quite add up.
More than twenty years ago, his father—when he was Jonathon’s age—was swallowed up by the Home Wood for more than a day and came back badly injured. That was when his grandfather forbade any family member from venturing back there.
And so when, from his bedroom window one morning, Jonathon sees his father once again cross into the Home Wood, he knows something is very wrong. Deceiving his grandfather, Jonathon sets out after his father and makes his way, for the first time in his life, into the woods.
What he finds there is beyond even his wildest imagination.
I loved this story. The idea of disappearing into a magical land made me think of Alice in Wonderland. The plot of this book is rather simple. A boy’s mother goes missing and then his father does too after going after her. Anxiously, the boy, Jonathon, goes in after them. Within the woods, all three of them experience the strange world in their own ways.
There is so much going on that as the story begins to combine the separate storylines, the twists make the book impossible to put down. The worldbuilding was thorough and well thought out though I think the story could have been strengthened with a little more understand of the Grue’s culture.