Pete Hautman weaves a story that will cause you to question the world around you with Other Wood, a middle-grade read that is almost chilling in context. Adults will definitely get a kick out of reading this; perhaps even more so than their kids.
The Story: Stuey lives by the Woods, isolated from most kids his age until a new family moves into the neighborhood. Enter Elly Rose, his new best friend or sort of. Stuey has barely any time to get to know Elly before they venture out into the woods one day to ride on her “secret” vine. Everything changes after the vine snaps and Stuey hits his head. Only a short time after Stuey wakes up, Elly disappears. No one knows where she’s gone, but Stuey is determined to find her. The only thing is, Elly’s not really gone. For Elly, she never left. The only one gone is Stuey, the one who actually disappeared. Separated by mysery, time, and space, Stuey and Elly must discover the truth. Are they ghosts? Are they in a different dimension? It will take some sleuthing, a decades old mystery, and the journal from Stuey’s grandfather Zach before they can finally discover the truth – and return home.
My Thoughts: This book was…surreal. I don’t know how to describe it without simply saying that this book totally was one weird trip. It was written well, don’t get me wrong, but I found myself constantly caught off guard, questioning what was really happening in the novel, something I think was intentional by the author. For fans of sci-fi or just trippy reads in general, I recommend this. It doesn’t matter your age, it will throw you a little just the same.
Parental Advisories: There is a little bit in the book from a diary entry about murder and said diary-writer killing and burying the body, so you may want to be more careful with little readers.