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The Forest of Stolen Girls

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After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones. Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crim After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones. Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask. To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani's father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate... only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.


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After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones. Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crim After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones. Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask. To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani's father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate... only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

30 review for The Forest of Stolen Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    Althea | themoonwholistens ☾

    This really was just about sisters reconnecting through their experience of searching for their lost father in Joseon Era Korea. And I loved it for that. It was both a heartbreaking and heartwarming read and the kind of YA mystery-thriller that I actually enjoy. Even though this had topics of death (please check trigger warnings at the bottom) it didn’t feel heavy on the heart. my problem with Silence of Bones was that I was never hooked into the plot nor the characters but it was different since This really was just about sisters reconnecting through their experience of searching for their lost father in Joseon Era Korea. And I loved it for that. It was both a heartbreaking and heartwarming read and the kind of YA mystery-thriller that I actually enjoy. Even though this had topics of death (please check trigger warnings at the bottom) it didn’t feel heavy on the heart. my problem with Silence of Bones was that I was never hooked into the plot nor the characters but it was different since this felt like it had more of a personal touch. I loved the sister relationship and the subtle development throughout the story. It was sweet and built up on itself. You see how these sisters that were separated for so long slowly trust each other again and *that’s the heartwarming part*. There are strong family relationships, most especially sisterly and daughter-father relationships. It made me so soft and ultimately made the otherwise dark story feel warm and touching. “How fortunate she is, to be someone’s daughter.” The way the historical fiction aspect was played into the plot was spot on. The fact that it was mostly set in Jeju island was really fun to imagine even though I know it was in a different era, I enjoyed imagining myself being back in present day Jeju island. Definitely recommending the audiobook for this one if that's possible for you. The performance adds an extra layer to the story and brings the Joseon Korea to life. “You can choose to keep silent. But if you do, would you be pleased with that decision in the years to come?” I have to say that I wasn't as attached to the characters individually as much as I was with them as ensemble and how they interacted with one another… nonetheless, i still think the messages were well received. The writing style is definitely investing. It does play the line between whether or not it’s a supernatural mystery or psychological mystery… which I am now realizing that I am not always the biggest fan of. I like mysteries that are more concrete and decide what it is while being creative in that side that they choose (whether psychological or supernatural). But if you do like that kind of mystery, this is goes through that phase. The nuanced conversation on gender inequality and empowerment were very prevalent and builds up to the overall theme and message. And we all know how much I love nuanced discussions and thought-provoking themes. This is the kind of story you should read when you want something a little darker and mysterious but is also still incredibly wholesome while delivering all the emotional familial feelings. June Hur should keep putting out more of these historical mysteries. Or branch out. Either way, I'll keep reading their books for personal and unique touch she brings to the YA mystery genre that is so hard to find nowadays. I completely flew through this one and it's utterly transportive. — 4.0 — ⇢ content warnings// (view spoiler)[Child abuse, Death, Grief, Kidnapping, Mutilation, Poisoning, Sexual assault (referenced), Slavery, Suicide (mentioned) (hide spoiler)] ---------------------- *patiently waiting for my copy to arrive*

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    SHOULD I BUY THIS TODAY YES OR NO??? *update - if i buy this today, i'm going to HAVE TO also buy at the same time, which inevitability real booknerds will understand. DOES THIS AFFECT THE VOTE? ** update - we all knew i was going to buy them both, right? and i SHOULD have known that as soon as i did, there would be a giveaway here on GR. good luck to you all! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh... SHOULD I BUY THIS TODAY YES OR NO??? *update - if i buy this today, i'm going to HAVE TO also buy at the same time, which inevitability real booknerds will understand. DOES THIS AFFECT THE VOTE? ** update - we all knew i was going to buy them both, right? and i SHOULD have known that as soon as i did, there would be a giveaway here on GR. good luck to you all! https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    this looks like everything, truly Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch this looks like everything, truly Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch

  4. 4 out of 5

    lily ☁️

    “You can choose to keep silent. But if you do, would you be pleased with that decision in the years to come? Doing what is right, it is so utterly terrifying. And yet, so freeing.” Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’ “You can choose to keep silent. But if you do, would you be pleased with that decision in the years to come? Doing what is right, it is so utterly terrifying. And yet, so freeing.” Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Bloglovin’

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joan He

    simply jaw dropping cover <333

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Really cool story. I loved the 1490s Korean setting, and really a fascinating look at being an independent woman detective in a time when women had no status. Good mystery, and the relationship between the sisters was really moving.

  7. 5 out of 5

    shri (sunandchai)

    As a few of you may know– and now all of you will–I will never pass up the opportunity to express my utmost adoration for June Hur’s writing. Her debut novel, The Silence of Bones, had an indescribable impact on me as a consumer of YA/NA novels and as a person. I’ll never forget the dual phenomenon of being paralyzed by emotion and feeling like I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough–an experience I find becoming rare in the high-volume, saturated category of Young Adult novels. The Forest of Stol As a few of you may know– and now all of you will–I will never pass up the opportunity to express my utmost adoration for June Hur’s writing. Her debut novel, The Silence of Bones, had an indescribable impact on me as a consumer of YA/NA novels and as a person. I’ll never forget the dual phenomenon of being paralyzed by emotion and feeling like I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough–an experience I find becoming rare in the high-volume, saturated category of Young Adult novels. The Forest of Stolen Girls was on my most anticipated releases of 2021. And no amount of self control could have stopped me from devouring it in one sitting, leaving me in a satisfied puddle of emotional numbness. Full review on my blog!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Devin Willson

    -jaw drops- the cover tho :OOO

  9. 4 out of 5

    rain

    tw & cw // kidnapping, confinement, mentions of suicide, death of a loved one, disappearance of a loved one, poisoning, murder, violence, face mutilation this book has one of the most well-plotted mystery storylines i have ever read. june hur was able to scatter so many clues across this book's pages without compromising the big reveal at the end. im impressed by this because the trail of clues was actually difficult to piece together. i was working through this whole mystery with hwani and maewo tw & cw // kidnapping, confinement, mentions of suicide, death of a loved one, disappearance of a loved one, poisoning, murder, violence, face mutilation this book has one of the most well-plotted mystery storylines i have ever read. june hur was able to scatter so many clues across this book's pages without compromising the big reveal at the end. im impressed by this because the trail of clues was actually difficult to piece together. i was working through this whole mystery with hwani and maewol with bated breath because i also didn't know what to expect. aside from the compelling mystery, i like how this book confronts the corruption of people in power as well as the horrors experienced by girls during the ming dynasty. the forest of stolen girls manages to blend historical elements with interesting mystery, making it a noteworthy read. it also highlights family dynamics, with maewol and hwani's sibling relationship at its forefront. it was interesting to witness the development of their relationship in the midst of their father's disappearance, especially because they have become quite estranged after years of separation. their bond and contrasting personalities definitely gave this story more dimension. even though i enjoyed a lot of elements in this book, my attention kept wandering while i was reading it. i think this book is too long, although this could also be a me problem and not the book's fault entirely. i liked this book but it fell a few steps short from being a favorite. im sure i would have enjoyed this more if i read it via audiobook. however, i still recommend this book because the mystery was quite well-executed. it took me about 75% to figure out the twist and even then the big reveal still hit me hard. this book will make a good movie or drama. i just know it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    That feeling when one of your “most anticipated” 2021 reads lives up to the hype and then some 🥳 I loved June Hur's THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS and it was a pageturner! Thank you Fierce Reads and Macmillan for the e-ARC. (This is a long review so I tried to break it up into sections.) 🌿 THE PREMISE 🌿 1426, Joseon (Korea). Min Hwani returns to Jejudo to find her missing detective father and figure out what happened to 13 missing girls. In order to find her father and solve the case, Hwani must work w That feeling when one of your “most anticipated” 2021 reads lives up to the hype and then some 🥳 I loved June Hur's THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS and it was a pageturner! Thank you Fierce Reads and Macmillan for the e-ARC. (This is a long review so I tried to break it up into sections.) 🌿 THE PREMISE 🌿 1426, Joseon (Korea). Min Hwani returns to Jejudo to find her missing detective father and figure out what happened to 13 missing girls. In order to find her father and solve the case, Hwani must work with her estranged sister Maewol, a shamanic apprentice. 🌿 THE MYSTERY 🌿 This immersive YA historical mystery hooked me from the start. It tackles two mysteries nestled together in an era of history most readers know very little about. Hur executes this whodunit wonderfully, and I was loved the twists and turns we took to get to the bottom of things. 🌿 THE CHARACTERS 🌿 Both the main character Hwani and her sister Maewol are strong, independent female characters in a time that demanded female subservience and acquiescence. We also meet Gahee, Chaewon, and other female characters in this book who stand out in their behaviors. 🌿 THE HISTORICAL ELEMENTS 🌿 I don’t know a lot about Joseon history and perhaps other Korean readers will have more to say on this, but I thought Hur handled the difficult subject matter of tribute girls with age-appropriate references and respect. Nothing is explicit or sensationalized. We also learn about the sociopolitical divide between Jeju and mainland Korea throughout the book in natural and subtle ways (showing instead of telling). 🌿 THE ATMOSPHERE 🌿 The weather and the island feel like characters themselves, with the scent of rain-soaked earth and the feeling of mist permeating the air really providing a mind-body reading experience. I love a good atmospheric mystery so this added to the book. 🌿 MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS 🌿 • Be sure to read the author’s historical note and acknowledgments at the end. • Though Hur is Christian, I appreciate that her books aren’t focused on Korean Christianity. Out 4/20/21 in the U.S.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is Young Adult/ Historical Fiction/Crime-Mystery set in Korea in the 15th century. This was a solid 3 stars for me. It had a completely modern vibe to it. It almost felt like it could have happened yesterday if the Joseon dynasty was still a thing. The modern vibe seemed to work given the target audience. I liked the family relationships in this one. Two daughters felt an intense need to find their father and were willing to go to great lengths in their search. Most of the family units repr This is Young Adult/ Historical Fiction/Crime-Mystery set in Korea in the 15th century. This was a solid 3 stars for me. It had a completely modern vibe to it. It almost felt like it could have happened yesterday if the Joseon dynasty was still a thing. The modern vibe seemed to work given the target audience. I liked the family relationships in this one. Two daughters felt an intense need to find their father and were willing to go to great lengths in their search. Most of the family units represented in this story were motherless but the author showed well the lengths fathers will go for their daughters. These were detailed and believable. I also liked the setting but more detail would have been nice. A larger presence of the Joseon dynasty might have also countered the modern vibe more. So all in all, 3 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meg Eden

    CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shivani

    TWs: kidnapping, confinement, mentions of suicide, death of a loved one, disappearance of a loved one, poisoning, murder, violence, face mutilation This book follows Hwani, daughter to Detective Min who went missing when he returned to their former hometown to investigate the disappearance of thirteen girls. To search for her father Hwani travels back to her hometown where her estranged younger sister lives. To find her father, she must solve the mystery of where these girls are disappearing to a TWs: kidnapping, confinement, mentions of suicide, death of a loved one, disappearance of a loved one, poisoning, murder, violence, face mutilation This book follows Hwani, daughter to Detective Min who went missing when he returned to their former hometown to investigate the disappearance of thirteen girls. To search for her father Hwani travels back to her hometown where her estranged younger sister lives. To find her father, she must solve the mystery of where these girls are disappearing to and who’s behind these disappearances. I haven’t read a thriller in quite some time, but this book in particular really blew me away. The atmosphere of this book was palpable, I could feel it in my own bones: the fear rooted in the families who had lost their daughters and Hwani herself. Whenever Hwani ventured off into the forest by herself I found myself holding my breath hoping that she would make it out safely. The mystery itself wasn’t blatantly obvious and took me some time to piece together, but the clues that Hur left throughout the novel were subtle and well placed. One particular aspect I absolutely loved about this book was the sister relationship between Hwani and Maewol. I love reading books that discuss this complicated dynamic because I always see pieces of my sister and I in these relationships. It truly showed just how deep the bond between sisters go. The author also did a beautiful job writing about a historical event in such a manner that kept me as a reader engaged and eager to learn more about the historical inspirations of the book even when I had finished it. Books like these are so important for young adults to read so they can stay informed about other cultures and histories and to understand that Asian culture is much more multidimensional than the simplistic way it might be depicted in the American education system. Characters: 8/10 Atmosphere: 8/10 Writing Style: 8/10 Plot: 7/10 Intrigue: 7/10 Logic: 7/10 Enjoyment: 7/10 Rating: 7.4 or 4 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Urwa

    Loved the author's debut with Silence of Bones, excited for her sophomore novel set in Joseon era Korea. Loved the author's debut with Silence of Bones, excited for her sophomore novel set in Joseon era Korea.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Farhina ↯↯ The Wanderer Of Inked Adventures

    THE NEED IS UN EFFING REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    June Hur is an author to keep an eye on

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

    Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC! Recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    trishla ⚡ | YourLocalBookReader

    5 stars. tw // kidnapping, assault, poisoning, suicide, child trafficking "But there are two types of people, Those that retreat and huddle together like frightened birds, overwhelmed by the darkness of this kingdom, and those that grasp their freedom to struggle on the behalf of others, their eyes fixed on a great light that will always shine for those who seek it." I am not a historical fiction reader. But after reading this I think it's simply that I didn't read one that I've enjoyed before. T 5 stars. tw // kidnapping, assault, poisoning, suicide, child trafficking "But there are two types of people, Those that retreat and huddle together like frightened birds, overwhelmed by the darkness of this kingdom, and those that grasp their freedom to struggle on the behalf of others, their eyes fixed on a great light that will always shine for those who seek it." I am not a historical fiction reader. But after reading this I think it's simply that I didn't read one that I've enjoyed before. This story is one of the most enthralling books I've ever read. From the very beginning I was drawn in by this strong daughter that wanted nothing more than to find her father. But that mixed with the setting where girls (yes children) were being sent to the king as human tributes was another story all in itself. I think at the heart of it, this is a story about loss, grief and how to live afterwards. After the sisters have already lost their mother, they lead very different lives. One on the mainland with the affection of her father, a detective trying to fight corruption, and the other in the costal side, as a Shaman who only sees brief glimpse of the father. While a lot of physical land separates them, the emotional distance between them is far greater. After the disappearance of their father, all that changes. Their search brings them both closer together, and to the truth about his search for the missing girls and how it ties back to the crime scene they were found by as children. I think what I enjoyed most about this book is the agency that the author gives these two sisters (and by extension all the women in the book). While set in 1400's in a vassal state of Korea, there is much that women aren't able to do as shown when contrasted with the freedom that the "rural" costal areas allows them. Where there is hardship, there is fluidity. And while the author does convey period appropriate sexism and gender roles, it's never to the point where the sisters feel like helpless bystanders in the search. They are active participants and they GET SHIT DONE. I love them. Find me on: instagram

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura Sato

    Thank you Hear our Voices Tour and Netgalley for the ARC! I don't typically like thrillers, but I throughly enjoyed this book. It is a historical fiction, which is a genre I absolutely love. Even though you may not like historical fiction, it is a slow-building thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. The relationship between Hwani and younger sister Maewol to be amazing. The depiction of family within this book and the hardship that comes from estrangement and trauma is palpable. Thi Thank you Hear our Voices Tour and Netgalley for the ARC! I don't typically like thrillers, but I throughly enjoyed this book. It is a historical fiction, which is a genre I absolutely love. Even though you may not like historical fiction, it is a slow-building thriller that will keep you guessing until the end. The relationship between Hwani and younger sister Maewol to be amazing. The depiction of family within this book and the hardship that comes from estrangement and trauma is palpable. This is ultimately a story about an Asian family and I absolutely love that. I relate to some of the family dynamics. In the book, you can tell there was extensive historical research surrounding Korean history in the 1400s. When I was younger, it was hard for me to find historical fiction with main characters that have a similar cultural heritage. I am happy to see more representation of BIPOC identites within different genres of literature. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book and I hope to read more by this author in the future.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. This one took me a while to get through--definitely longer than I would have liked. Usually, this means that the book was boring/dull/otherwise difficult for me to slog through. But though this one took me time, it was definitely worth the investment on my end. Hur's worldbuilding is atmospheric: a chilling island shrouded in fogs and dotted with winding villa 4 Stars Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own. This one took me a while to get through--definitely longer than I would have liked. Usually, this means that the book was boring/dull/otherwise difficult for me to slog through. But though this one took me time, it was definitely worth the investment on my end. Hur's worldbuilding is atmospheric: a chilling island shrouded in fogs and dotted with winding villages. Historic suspense/mysteries are rare enough, and they are practically unheard of in YA. This book stands out for that alone, and the mystery itself is well-done. Tantalizing and chilling and a great dive into a piece of history I and many other readers are unfamiliar with. Though there were some foibles, this female-led detective story is worth the (long) read. Check out my full review, available at Gateway Reviews on June 11, 2021.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sacha

    Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 4/20/21 3.5 stars _The Forest of Stolen Girls_ focuses on two sisters and their missing father, and the setting is both enchanting and sinister. Like all good examples of historical fiction, the senses of time and place are highlights here, and I especially enjoyed learning about something new in this regard. While the sibling and father/daughter Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that review upon publication. Updated 4/20/21 3.5 stars _The Forest of Stolen Girls_ focuses on two sisters and their missing father, and the setting is both enchanting and sinister. Like all good examples of historical fiction, the senses of time and place are highlights here, and I especially enjoyed learning about something new in this regard. While the sibling and father/daughter relationships and underlying and explicit empowerment aspects really work for me here, I found the pacing a bit slow at times. I would have enjoyed a stronger match between the suspense and the movement. Overall, this is a fascinating setting, and the intriguing concept kept me reading. Fans of historical YA fiction and/or those interested in learning more about this period through a fictionalized account will enjoy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    *Spoiler free* Historical fiction and I don't always mesh that well. That's why when I read The Silence Of Bones and absolutely fell in love, I was eager to read anything else that June Hur wrote. Two sisters found unconscious next to a crime scene, and years later, 13 girls and the sister's father's have gone missing. Hwani is determined to solve the mystery, no matter what secrets she uncovers. It was so ready to see what June Hur was going to do with this story. Trigger warnings: mentions of r *Spoiler free* Historical fiction and I don't always mesh that well. That's why when I read The Silence Of Bones and absolutely fell in love, I was eager to read anything else that June Hur wrote. Two sisters found unconscious next to a crime scene, and years later, 13 girls and the sister's father's have gone missing. Hwani is determined to solve the mystery, no matter what secrets she uncovers. It was so ready to see what June Hur was going to do with this story. Trigger warnings: mentions of rape, suicide, grief, parental abuse I love June Hur books. It was official after The Silence Of Bones and it's officially official after this book. There is something magical about Hur's writing. It has this magical quality that makes it seem like you're floating through it. It has a haunting lilt to it that enhances the air of mystery and secrets in the air around Hwani and Maewol. In short, she is extremely talented. I said it before in my review of The Silence Of Bones, but I want to say it again here. I think part of the problem I have with historical fiction books is that I had been reading so many that were so western focused. There is so much more out there. While sweetness was at the heart of Seol's character, determination is at the heart of Hwani's. She's determined to find her father and she's determined to unravel the mystery of the 13 missing roles. She has an incredible amount of drive, and I loved watching her dive head first into what she needed to. She was driven by love, and it was amazing to see that love blossom and motivate her to move forward. I also really, really liked the sister relationship of this book. Hwani and Maewol have a bit of a rocky relationship, but they're still sisters. I loved that the bond they had seemed to always be there. Even if they were mad each other, they wanted to do things together. I felt like such a true family bond. One forged in love and frustration and hardship and hope. Plus, Maewol was just a great character in of herself! She's so different than Hwani, but that made the book all the better. She's wilder than Hwani, but I felt like her emotions ran higher because of that. While Hwani feels like the cold steel of determination, Maewol feels like the warm fire, determined to burn to where she needs to go Now, to the mystery, ah yes, I want to talk about this. I knew June Hur was good at writing mysteries, but SHE IS GOOD AT WRITING MYSTERIES. She plops a tangle of clues into your lap that feels prickly ball of thorns; something that will prick you if you try to pull a thread apart. But, then she gets to work to untangle that knot. It's done in such a subtle way until there's this moment when things become clear. The knots suddenly look like something and threads don't need to be pull apart, but connected together. She presents something to figure out and then absolutely blows all expectations out of the water. This mystery is crafted brilliantly and it was such an incredible experience to read. I now have another June Hur book to add it my favorites shelf. This book is seriously good. With it's haunting writing, characters determined to find answers, and a mystery turning your brain in circles, it's a book that amazes and astounds.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Note: I read this as a free eARC from Netgalley. Hwani Min feels like she has lost everything. She hasn't seen her sister for 5 years after her father left her with the Shaman. Now her father has been missing for a year. Hwani feels her only option is to find her missing father. She sets out for his last known location, the island of Jeju. There she reunites with her sister and set out to find her father. In the process perhaps she can also make sense of the 13 missing girls that he set out to f Note: I read this as a free eARC from Netgalley. Hwani Min feels like she has lost everything. She hasn't seen her sister for 5 years after her father left her with the Shaman. Now her father has been missing for a year. Hwani feels her only option is to find her missing father. She sets out for his last known location, the island of Jeju. There she reunites with her sister and set out to find her father. In the process perhaps she can also make sense of the 13 missing girls that he set out to find as well. Well written and with mystery and intrigue, but the story could lag at times. Suggested for readers 12+.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Thank you Net Galley for the ARC. I highly recommend this book. The story flowed smoothly and I had a hard time putting it down once I started. I must admit I do have a soft spot for historical novels and this covered I period of time period in Korean history that I knew little about. But thanks to the author I now know more! I am now off to read her other book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Janani(ஜனனி)⁷

    HOLY MOTHER! WHAT A GORGEOUS COVER.

  26. 4 out of 5

    ikram

    Would you take a look at this? A historical fiction about a girl solving a mystery PLUS a beautiful cover??? Why don’t you add this to your TBR already?

  27. 4 out of 5

    The Library Ladies

    (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com ) Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel! Last year I read June Hur’s novel “The Silence of Bones”, and quite enjoyed it. It’s always great to see new Own Voices authors getting new stories out into the world, especially within genres that tend to be associated with whiteness. While I know that there are a myriad of historical mysteries out there from many backgrounds, in my experience and the experiences of people around (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com ) Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel! Last year I read June Hur’s novel “The Silence of Bones”, and quite enjoyed it. It’s always great to see new Own Voices authors getting new stories out into the world, especially within genres that tend to be associated with whiteness. While I know that there are a myriad of historical mysteries out there from many backgrounds, in my experience and the experiences of people around me the general thoughts on the genre tend to skew towards European or American settings. I want to stretch and challenge this thought in my own reading. So given that “The Silence of Bones” took place in 19th Century Korea, it was a fresh feeling setting when I read it, and I liked that a lot. When I saw that Hur had a new historical myster/thriller coming out called “The Forest of Stolen Girls”, I was massively excited to read it, hoping that it would live up to “The Silence of Bones” in terms of plotting and mystery. And I have great news: it exceeded it. Let’s start with the time, setting, and characters. Given that Hur really connected with me on all three of these points with “The Silence of Bones”, I had high hopes that same would be said for “The Forest of Stolen Girls”. And this time she went even above and beyond my expectations. Once again we are in historical Korea, though we’ve gone even further back in time to the 15th Century on Jeju Island. The setting is isolated and remote, and for Hwani, who has spent a few years on the mainland it is a jarring return because of culture shifts and also because of the trauma that she suffered there. I loved the descriptions of the island and the nature and wilderness that surrounds the village, and I also loved that Hur did throw in tidbits of historical facts (like the Haenyeo divers, and how on Jeju girls weren’t much less valued than boys because it was the girls who did the diving), about the area. It just felt like a unique setting, one that lends itself very well to the plot, and it was one that I greatly enjoyed. I also really liked our main characters, Hwani and Maewol, two sisters separated by distance and also their shared trauma and the fallout. The strong bond that they share as sisters has been tested and strained because of Hwani being sent to the mainland to live with her aunt, while Maewol was left behind, a decision made by their father. Hwani has the utmost respect for him, while Maewol resents him. Hwani felt constrained by her time on the mainland, while Maewol felt abandoned. Their frustrations and resentments, of course, come out and target each other, but this felt realistic and true to how sometimes sibling relationships can be fraught because of circumstances they can’t always control. I loved seeing both of them have to learn to trust each other again, and have to team up and use each other’s various skills to try and solve what had happened to their father, and what had happened to the local girls. In terms of the mystery itself, I found it to be very engaging, suspenseful, and well crafted. There are a number of people in their town who could be very believable suspects when it comes to who is taking teenage girls, and Hur makes sure to give believability as well as deniability to almost all of them. The way that the mystery connects to Hwani and Maewol is well done, as is the compounded mystery of what happened to their father when he tried to go solve it once and for all. And on top of all that, for added context Hur adds a historical note at the end of the book that talks about human trafficking, specifically that of girls and women, during this time period in Korea, which really put into perspective that while the years and centuries can keep on going and progress and changes can be made, but some things just keep on happening and one of those things is violent misogyny. “The Forest of Stolen Girls” is another great historical mystery/thriller from June Hur. If you are looking to shake up your historical fiction content and reading lists, definitely give this one a look! I cannot wait to see what Hur comes out with next.

  28. 5 out of 5

    lily reads and other things

    June Hur can never disappoint me. This book follows sisters, Hwani and Maewol, who set out to solve a crime in Korea in 1426. CHARACTERS: Hwani and Maewol are my babiesss. June Hur knows how to make you fall in love with her characters. Hwani is determined to find the truth behind her father's disappearance no matter how ugly the truth may be. Maewol is a free-spirited character who takes risks, she is basically an older sister to her older sister Hwani. I absolutely loved the relationship between June Hur can never disappoint me. This book follows sisters, Hwani and Maewol, who set out to solve a crime in Korea in 1426. CHARACTERS: Hwani and Maewol are my babiesss. June Hur knows how to make you fall in love with her characters. Hwani is determined to find the truth behind her father's disappearance no matter how ugly the truth may be. Maewol is a free-spirited character who takes risks, she is basically an older sister to her older sister Hwani. I absolutely loved the relationship between these two, they went from hating each other to loving each other again. They were an amazing team and Maewol was as stubborn as ever! Okay I have to give a shoutout to Gahee because god I love her so much😍 WRITING: Y'all June Hur's writing is beautiful! I usually have a hard time imagining setting but I can always imagine June Hur's settings perfectly! I've always loved her writing and this book was no different! PLOT: Gahhhhh the plot twists killed meeee!! I loved all the mysteries!!! June Hur does an amazing job of making you think so hard as to who and what! I always love all the history in June's books!! I always learn so much about that time period! Learning about the tribute girls in this book was truly horrifying but I'm glad that I know now. My heart was constantly pounding throughout this book. I was so scared that my babies were going to die! And as always June Hur pulls on my heartstrings😭 I didn't sob this time but I did shed a few tears quite a few times. ATMOSPHERE: The atmosphere was beautiful as always! This book utterly amazing, the plot twists, the characters, the mysteries, the writing, everythinggggggg!! all. the. stars. Plz Plz, go read this book!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    R.J. Sorrento

    A great second book from author June Hur. This is a thrilling YA historical mystery set during Joseon dynasty Korea. We follow a young woman Min Hwani searching for her missing detective father but soon finds herself in the middle of his final unsolved investigation of the “stolen girls.” What I love about Hur’s stories are how personal she makes the mystery. Hwani’s family history is complicated with a clouded past. She reunites with her estranged sister and together they work to find out the fa A great second book from author June Hur. This is a thrilling YA historical mystery set during Joseon dynasty Korea. We follow a young woman Min Hwani searching for her missing detective father but soon finds herself in the middle of his final unsolved investigation of the “stolen girls.” What I love about Hur’s stories are how personal she makes the mystery. Hwani’s family history is complicated with a clouded past. She reunites with her estranged sister and together they work to find out the fate of their father. The setting is perfect for a mystery on the island of Jeju with plenty of fog and mist. I loved the tribute to the haenyeo- the pearl diving women of Jeju - as well. The historical aspect of the mystery did not disappoint. I learned so much about the tribute women sent to appease the Ming dynasty emperor of China. Hur illuminates a lesser known part of Korean history, and I love that she chose to focus on women’s history. I look forward to Hur’s next book slated for 2022. I highly recommend this emotional and exciting mystery that centers on the strength of sisterhood. It will keep you guessing and teach you about a forgotten history. Thank you to Fierce Reads, the publisher, and NetGalley for the eARC.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This was great! I don’t know anything about the Joseon era of Korea so it was really interesting to learn little bits. Hur was really descriptive and it was especially fun to look up images of the clothes that I’d never heard of. Also, I wouldn’t mind if this was a series with Hwani solving all sorts of mysteries on Jeju island!

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