Paper Forests - Book Review

Paper Forests

Author: Tegan Anderson
Genre: Young Adult - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Tegan Anderson
Date Published: August 17, 2023
ISBN-10: 1739170652
ISBN-13: 978-1739170653

GoodReads Rating:

Book Review of :  Paper Forests


Immerse yourself in the captivating and mind-bending world of "Paper Forest" by Tegan Anderson. It is a thrilling journey that explores intriguing psychological depths. The author discloses to the readers that the novel delves into sensitive topics such as an exploration of mental and terminal illness, along with a daring mix of violence and chilling scenes of "blood, death, and gore." This is a grown-up fantasy.

The story opens dramatically as a grief counselor welcomes a small group of parents to a counseling session. He invites each participant to share his or her story of a terminally ill child. To console the parents, the counselor promises them that their children will find health and happiness in a Paper Forest as they transition to death.

Oliver is the first to find himself in the mysterious, perplexing forest. He begins to relate his first-person experience as he awakens in a miraculous forest setting that changes every day. He relates sensory details of the amazingly colored foliage, magical trees, and astonishing sunsets. As he travels along a path to discover more of his supernatural surroundings, he is accosted by frightening monsters, gruesome ghouls, and terrifying mechanical soldiers. Later, after he meets up with Gracie, Ansel, and August, Oliver relates his backstory of drug abuse and that he is in a coma. He is the primary narrator throughout the fictional story. His experiences help tie in the stories of the others who arrive in the Paper Forest.

Gracie is a young girl who has died in a car wreck. She seems to have some mysterious interactions with the environment that help the voyagers on their trek to find a way home. August is reluctant to share his story with anyone except Oliver, to whom he becomes romantically attached. August relates a dysfunctional family life and the development of a cancerous brain tumor.

The four young people share many horrendous adventures as they journey. They suffer hallucinations that are unpredictable or perhaps imaginative illusions. A crude tunnel leads to a symbolic map drawing that may lead them to an escape from this paper, or fake, world to the Other World.  A sea of bones, a murdered girl, and a girl enveloped in smoke challenge their sanity. They suffer fantasies that seem real but are unrealistic. A crumbling castle, a warrior queen, an Old Man toy, and lost keys test the four to try an escape from this other dimension of the afterlife.

In this strange, dark tome, the reader faces psychological conditions and schizophrenia as well as suicide. Through it all, Oliver learns that "Dying is an incurable disease." 


Reviewed by: carole

About Tegan Anderson


On a cold Autumn evening back in 2008, seven-year-old Tegan Anderson began to write their first short stories, finding a more creative way to learn their spellings. Many years and many more short stories later, they haven't stopped for anything. Now, they're writing more than they ever believed possible. Tegan may write the worlds they would prefer to exist in but currently lives in Devon with their overflowing bookshelves and expanding imagination.


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