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Into the Forest
Into the Forest
Author: Jean Hegland
Set in the near-future, Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home. — Over 30 miles from the nearest town, and several miles away from their nearest neighbor, Nell and Eva struggle to survive as society begins to decay and...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780553379617
ISBN-10: 0553379615
Publication Date: 9/1/1998
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 96 ratings
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Into the Forest on + 376 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
An amazing account of a world where suddenly everything we rely upon (electricity, easy access to food and shelter, etc.) is gone. Two girls struggle to keep their dreams alive in spite of it all -- but don't realize that their ideas of what is true and what is real are shifting the entire time.

There are several truly moving scenes, including the final one, as well as the one in which the main character drinks white tea for the first time.

I don't give it a full five stars because of a scene I felt was unnecessary and didn't add to the story. But you can decide for yourself. On the whole, quite amazing.
reviewed Into the Forest on
Helpful Score: 7
I wasn't expecting this to be a post apoplectic book. Mom asked me to get it because she had heard good things about the author, it was at my house for a while so I read it. Two teenaged girls find themselves living on the edge of the forest somewhere in California. The characters were well defined, and the book was easy to read. I am not going to say much more about it except that several weeks after finishing the book I am still thinking about how it ended, which means to me that it was a good book.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I imagined this book to be very different from how it was. I thought this book would be an intriguing story of what it would be like should America implode and we start to live without electricity, gas, and the very real threat of antibiotic resistant viruses. Instead the author glosses over what has happened in ways that just feel like a cop-out. The characters are already very far removed from society, and the fact that they pretty much don't care what is going on in the outside world isn't even believeable, it is just lazy writing.

But what made this novel fail to take off for me were the characters. For over half of the book I didn't care at all about the narrator or her family, because she didn't really care either. Selfish and shallow characters whose lives revolve around very 2-dimensional hopes and dreams. Eva is one of the two sisters, and even at the end of the book all you really walk away knowing about her is that she loves ballet.

There was one really cool scene, when the family first goes to town and tries to shop at a Sam's club-like store. There is a 'provocative' scene, which was predictable and cheap and probably just what you are imagining. I loved the premise, and almost wish a better author could rewrite the book that I was hoping for.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Into the Forest is less a dystopian novel about the after effects of war, and more a story about the strengthening bond between two sisters as they learn to survive without the everyday conveniences of modern living. Surprisingly intelligent, this story provides poignant insights and metaphors about life and survival.

This is a very quick read. If you are looking for a dystopian novel, as I was, you might be slightly disappointed. I was surprised by how the book turned out. I would definitely not compare this to works by more prominent authors of the genre.

Despite some questionable scenes, this book made me desire a stronger relationship with my own sister.
reviewed Into the Forest on + 158 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
[close] If things ever truly go to hell, this is a book I'm going to throw into my rucksack as my family and I flee the city to live off the land. That sounds pithy, but it's also true.

In Into the Forest, Hegland paints a very grim dystopian view of the near-future United States. The national banking market has collapsed, mail is no longer running, and the government has all but disolved. As readers, we're given very little explanation of exactly what happened and how the nation became the way it is, but its an interesting effect. The 17- and 18-year-old sisters that are the center of the story don't know why the power stopped working or what has happened to the Internet, either.

This book is a more mature, and darker view than that posed by another, similar book I read recently, Life As We Knew It. But where in that book, the young herione has the guidance of her mother and older brother to help her along, and where rationing canned goods and pilaging abandoned homes are the biggest threats, Into the Forest poses a different stark horror. (spoiler alert!) The sisters are starving and truly living off the land, eating roots, using plants for medicine and learning to live as our ancestors did. One of the sisters is raped by a wanderer, becomes pregnant and gives birth. The experience of the sisters struggling to deliver and later save this newborn when they are starving themselves was difficult to read, but inspiring.

The book, though so grim throughout, does end with hope. It's not a book I'd rush to read again, but I won't get rid of it, either. Because, well, you never know. [close]
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reviewed Into the Forest on + 1001 more book reviews
This is the story of two teenagers who are looking forward to a beautiful life. Eva is eighteen and wants to dance, becoming a ballerina like her mother. Nell is sixteen, loves to read and learn. She wants to go to Harvard. Suddenly, the world falls apart. Their mother dies of cancer and their father dies due to an accident. Even more happens as the world itself changes dramatically. Electricity is lost, gas is no longer available, food is scarce, and more. It means the end of the girls' dreams. How they learn to cope with all the changes and determine how to live, let alone exist, is the basis of this tale. The love of the sisters sustains them and sometimes separates them. It's a good, good tale and I liked it very much.