By Rita Nicholson
Silla and Nori can’t catch a break in And the Trees Crept In, written by Dawn Kurtagich. They run away from their mother and abusive stepfather to the manor house, which is where their mother and her sisters grew up, to live with Aunt Cathy. For the first couple of years, everything is great until the trees move closer to their house, Nori starts to play with a strange, creepy man that only she can see, and Aunt Cathy goes to the attic and never comes out.
From the very beginning, And the Trees Crept In is suspenseful and creepy and stays that way throughout the entire novel. Several times, I could almost feel how terrified Silla was about whatever was happening to her. The writing itself is also well done. It reflects Silla’s current state of mind really well, and I could understand more about her just because of the way she talked and thought about things. There were also journal entries with certain words bolded, and when I read just the bolded words it spelled out another message entirely. A few pieces of writing that in other character’s perspectives contributed to the story additionally. All of these features helped to give a better view of what was going on in the story.
Despite its creepiness, And the Trees Crept In is a slow paced story. Not much happens to develop the plot, and even the climax, which should be the most exciting part, was a bit slow. Some of the events are confusing as well, like another character, Gowan, showing up. He says that he loves Silla, which admittedly feels uncomfortable and forced.
The ending, however, does a relatively decent job of tying everything together and explaining many of the events. I will admit, though, that the ending is happier than it should be considering all that’s happened throughout the story.
And the Trees Crept In isn’t the greatest novel in terms of plot, but it is definitely worth the read purely for the creep factor.