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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
For the last couple of years Julia has dreamed of the high school golden boy, Michael. She has used him to inspire her poetry and music and she has thought herself in love with him. At the graduation ball, he finally asks her to dance and kisses her, leading to a "date," then nothing. He never calls or texts her back, and when she runs into him on the street, he acts like she should be grateful he gave her the time. She is devastated. Now Michael has been in a motorcycle accident and is acting different. Should she give him a second chance? The Boy From the Woods takes us to Austria, to follow Julia and her group of close friends in the summer after high school. Jen Minkman weaves in the local life of Austria with Celtic folklore and traditions to create a story of young love and broken hearts.
The Boy From the Woods is set in Austria, and when you start reading this is the first thing you need to know because if not you will be confused as to why they are drinking beer at a high school graduation party. That is part of the beauty of this story; no one gets drunk, they never drink that much, it is one or two and that is it. I think it sends a wonderful message to American youth that not all people look at drinking as something to do only to get drunk. Also with the story being set in Austria, Jen Minkman uses typical German phrases and greetings frequently, which lends to the authenticity of the story. It also makes you want to live in a place with so much history that certain things are continued through the generations. Add to that the forest and Celtic folklore, and you have a full and wonderful romance and coming of age story that is wonderfully written and great for any age reader.