Book Review // The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods – Emily Barr // #Gifted

Title: The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods
Author: Emily Barr
Publication date: 
My rating: 
Goodreads rating: 3.87 
Pages: 320
Genre: YA, Contemporary

I received an e-arc of this book from the publishers Penguin via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by receiving a gifted copy of this book in any way. I would like to thank the publishers, NetGalley and the author Emily Barr.

*Trigger Warnings – imprisonment, references to self harm, child death, family death, exploitation, drugs*


A commune hidden from the world. A terrible accident. A lifetime of secrets to uncover. The new YA thriller from Emily Barr. 

I’ve been trapped here for days. What if I die here? I decided to write down my story so that one day, when I’m discovered, they will know who I was and why I was here.

Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a small settlement in the forests of south India. But their happy life, hidden from the rest of the world, is shattered by a terrible accident. For the first time in her sixteen years, Arty must leave the only place she’s ever known, into the outside world she’s been taught to fear.

Her only goal is to get help from a woman called Tania, who used to live in the forest, and the Uncle she knows is out there, somewhere. As she embarks on the terrifying journey, pursued by an enemy she can’t fathom, Arty soon realises that not everyone is to be trusted. She’s looking for answers, but what she’ll learn from Tania and Uncle Matthew is a shocking truth about her past.

Everything is changing too fast for this girl who came out of the woods, and is she running into a trap?

Overall opinion of the book:

This was a book I was really intrigued by when I initially read the synopses. It sounded so gritty and interesting. A terrible accident, people chasing Arty, it seemed like quite the thriller! However, the actual plot of the book didn’t really match up to the synopses in my opinion and was a lot different to how I imagined it to be. It was a slow burner and not really a thriller at all, more of a coming of age story of sorts. The book focuses instead on Arty and her adjusting to the world outside of the village. It’s not scary or a fast paced thriller, but a contemporary novel. I think the synopses could have been written by the publishers better as it’s a little misleading and doesn’t fully reflect the book. If the synopses accurately reflected the plot, and I went into the book with a better idea of what it would be about, I think I would have ended up enjoying it a lot more.

While I really wanted to love this book, it just wasn’t for me. I struggled through it and if I hadn’t been sent an e-arc to read I would have DNFed it in all honesty. That’s not to say you won’t love the book however, it was just completely different to what I expected it to be.

The plot is divided into two different stories that do eventually intertwine – Arty’s and another character’s who you find out the name of much later into the book. Each chapter is distinguished by chapter numbers rather than names. While I can understand the reasoning behind this as the second character’s identity remains hidden, it would have been less confusing if Arty’s chapters had her name at the beginning. Initially I thought the second chapter was continuing from the first and I was so confused. The second character’s chapters are confusing in themselves, without the added confusion of not knowing which is and isn’t Arty’s chapters.

I much preferred Arty’s chapters as the second character’s chapters were confusing and the reader doesn’t actually know any context behind the character until closer to the end of the book. They were quite disjointed and it seemed a bit like a lucid dream with animals and toys talking to the protagonist.

I found this book quite bizarre, although I think this was the intention. Considering Arty and her family live in the woods and Arty has never left the woods at the beginning of the novel, there are still a lot of pop culture references, such as a monkey being called Chandler Bing. Arty has access to books so has some ideas of what the world outside is like, but I feel that when she does enter the outside world, she adjusts far better than she perhaps should have. Surely if you’ve never experienced anything outside of the woods you’d be a lot more scared? That’s just my personal opinion, the way in which she recognises things in books and interacts with people was interesting however.

I did find it fascinating that all of the family in the village had different God names, such as Zeus and Hercules. I wanted the book to go into more details about this as it was quite interesting, but we are never really given the reasoning behind this. After researching into the book a little, I realised the book is actually based on a group of people living in an Indian forest, which is quite interesting.

The ending of the book fell quite flat for me, when we find out who the second character is and the story comes to a conclusion, it wasn’t really a big revelation. It was interesting, but nothing really seems to happen plot wise and I wanted to know more of a backstory into why the all chose to stay living in the woods. What is interesting about the book is the discussion of the exploitation of Arty and the people in the woods. A character whose name I won’t mention to not spoil the plot leaks footage of Arty coming out of the woods and also uses the people for illegal purposes.

Overall, The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods really wasn’t the book for me. It was entirely different to what I thought it would be and because of this I just didn’t enjoy it. It’s disappointing as I thought I would love this book, but it can’t be helped. If I hadn’t received a review copy of this book, I probably would have DNFed it in all honesty. While a one star review may seem quite harsh, I have to be honest in the sense that I wouldn’t have continued on with the book. You may love this book however. The plot was a little confusing and I didn’t feel engaged with it or the characters at all, which is a deal breaker for me in books. The writing was interesting and the spelling, punctuation and grammar was great, this just wasn’t the book for me.

Final thoughts:

Though this wasn’t the book for me, you may love it so it’s definitely worth giving it a go. I personally would have DNFed this book if I’d bought it, but that doesn’t mean you will. I just thought this was a completely different book to what it was and didn’t click with the characters and the plot. It felt a little too disjointed and confusing for me.

If you would like to purchase this book, you can do so here:



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Book cover and synopses



Emily Barr

4 thoughts on “Book Review // The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods – Emily Barr // #Gifted

  1. Sumedha says:

    When I read the synopsis in the beginning of this post, I was SO INTRIGUED. A book based on south India? I am HERE for it. I did find the name weird because… Arty is NOT an Indian name. And then I see that the villages are named after Greek gods? Which is soooo wrong? We have several of our own gods, and I’d believe if the names were Brahma and Vishnu. Not Greek gods. So this book sounds not true to India. And I’m already heavily disappointed. Sigh.

    Also, I just checked, it’s written by an English author? Just.. what even.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alilovesbooks says:

    I absolutely loved the author’s first book The One Memory of Flora Banks so was tempted by this but her second book annoyed me so much it put me off reading anything else by her. Sounds like this may have been a wise decision.

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy but thank you for the great review. I now know to steer clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ash Williams says:

      Ah it’s such a shame that you didn’t enjoy her second book as much as her first! This is the first book of hers I’ve read but am still interested in reading her first as I’ve heard some good things about it.


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