Review: The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

The Lying Woods
by Ashley Elston
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: Nov. 13, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Mystery

Owen Foster has never wanted for anything. Then his mother shows up at his elite New Orleans boarding school cradling a bombshell: his privileged life has been funded by stolen money. After using the family business, the single largest employer in his small Louisiana town, to embezzle millions and drain the employees’ retirement accounts, Owen’s father vanished without a trace, leaving Owen and his mother to deal with the fallout.

Owen returns to Lake Cane to finish his senior year, where people he can barely remember despise him for his father’s crimes. It’s bad enough dealing with muttered insults and glares, but when Owen and his mother receive increasingly frightening threats from someone out for revenge, he knows he must get to the bottom of what really happened at Louisiana Frac–and the cryptic note his father sent him at his boarding school days before disappearing.

Owen’s only refuge is the sprawling, isolated pecan orchard he works at after school, owned by a man named Gus who has his own secrets–and in some ways seems to know Owen better than he knows himself. As Owen uncovers a terrible injustice that looms over the same Preacher Woods he’s claimed as his own, he must face a shocking truth about his own past–and write a better future.



When Owen is yanked out of his boarding school and told about his father’s transgressions, he’s hurt and confused. It doesn’t help that all the kids and even adults of his hometown despise him and his family over what his father did. As if losing your house and belongings isn’t enough, Owen finds out that his mom has been getting threatened by someone in town. With no one to trust and no place that’s really safe, Owen finds solace in helping a pecan rancher with his farm. A farm and rancher who once took in his father when he was a young boy looking for refuge.

I have to admit, I’m not a huge mystery reader. However, something about this story called to me. I’m glad I picked this book up because WOW! I wasn’t expecting that. The author has a way of weaving the past with the present and giving the readers a sense of understanding, while still managing to blindside us with the truth. I’m still kind of floored by the revelations that the author made throughout the story.

One thing that I really liked about this book was that it was a mix of mystery, romance, self-discovery, friendship, and family all rolled into one amazing story. I honestly thought I was just signing up for a mystery novel, but the author was able to put a lot on the table without any one thing overshadowing the other. The story was really well written and I honestly don’t know how I’ve gone this long without reading one of her books before. This is clearly something I need to remedy soon.

I really liked the tie-in with Owen working at Gus’ pecan orchard and the flashbacks to when Owen’s father worked at Gus’ orchard when he was the same age. The fact that we got the past and present timeline in this story really helped pull everything together and gave a better understanding to characters that we might not have known much about otherwise.

I honestly could go on and on about this story. There was just so much depth to it that it was so hard to put the book down once I picked it up. If you see this book at your local bookstore or library, be sure to pick it up and give it a read.



4 Thoughts on “Review: The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston

  1. I’m reading it now and it’s not quite what I was expecting. I thought it would be more thriller/spooky but I’m still enjoying it.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  2. I like it when a book surprises me too.

  3. I saw your post on Instagram and I was curious to read your thoughts, and now I think this could be quite a very good read for me, too! Thanks, Kristin 😀

  4. I hadn’t expected such a deep novel from just the synopsis so I’m glad I read your review here.That stark tree image on the cover really caught my eye too. One for the TBR 🙂

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation