| June 23, 2016



“Ready?” Sandy asked.

Steven’s heart hammered in his chest. He turned to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, a solemn look on his face. “Look, if something gets me in there, I want you to run and save yourself. Don’t tell anyone. If you don’t see me at school tomorrow, then you should alert people in town, okay?”

“Steven, you’re making me scared.”

“Just do as I say. Promise?”

Sandy’s own palms started sweating as she tightened her grip around her inhaler. “Promise.”

“Good. Now let’s go.”

High school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.

Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.

He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable.

Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?

This story will tug at your heartstrings as the characters experience friendship, abuse, mistrust, and deliverance.

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