Reed's Recommendation Corner: Let the Woods Keep Our Bodies by E.M. Roy


Let the Woods Keep Our Bodies by E.M. Roy

Annnnnddddd... back on my queer horror kick! 

This time, we are exploring our small town roots with a book by E.M. Roy. In it, Leo Bates finds herself wrapped up in the disappearance of her friend Tate Mulder. She's considered a problem child after the murder-suicide of her parents and (depending on who you ask) a prime suspect. Even though Leo knows what happened, it's not like she can explain it. After all, who would believe in monsters and self-repairing doorways in the woods?

This book was a relatively short read, but it packs a lot of punch.  The chapters are done in a back and forth between "Before" and "After", with each one revealing more and more about Tate's past and bringing into question her reliability as a narrator. It's more than just that, though - it talks about the pain of being an outcast in a small town, through no fault of your own. It talks about how difficult it is for people of color or for queer people to exist in small towns where the demographic is slightly more vanilla. 

More than that, it's about that rush of first love, especially queer first love. High school, at the best of times, is tumultuous and filled with a rush of new emotions (and hormones). It's difficult enough without the burdens of trauma caused by respective guardians or by strange secrets hidden by the town. More than that, it might make you hide any evidence of what happened or any evidence that might accidentally implicate you, if you know that even if you did nothing wrong, you are still likely to end up in trouble because you are an easy scapegoat. 

Aside from the plot, I found this to be a very well-written gem of a book. The cover art  is gorgeous and really reflects the eeriness that Roy manages to portray as each chapter reveals something new and adds a new layer to the story. I definitely recommend reading this with the lights turned down low and a comfort blanket (or your cat). 

You can purchase the book directly from Ghoulish Books here. Please remember how important it is to support independent book sellers and publishers. Without them, books like these often don't get to see the light of day.