I am so thankful to have gotten a spot on the Direwood booktour. As a vampire lover, there has never been a book tour more perfect for me. You can check out the full tour here!
In this velvet-clad 1990s gothic horror, Aja encournters a charming vampire who wants to lure her into the woods–just like her missing sister.
No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through trees. Aja’s father, the neighbors, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strang4e string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too.
Aja is horrified when she meets Padraic, the vampire responsible for all the strange occurrences. His hypnotic voice lures her to the window and tells her everything she’s longed to hear– she’s beautiful and special, and he wants nothing more than for Aja to come with him. Aja knows she shouldn’t trust him, but she is barely able to resist his enthrallment. And following him into the woods may be the only way to find Fiona, so she agrees on one condition: He must let her leave alive if she is not wooed after one week. Though Aja plans to kill him before the week is out, Padraic has his own secrets as well.
In the misty woods, Aja find that Padraic has made his nest with another vampire in a dilapidated church infested by blood-sucking butterflies. Within its walls, the vampires are waited on and entertained by other children they’ve enthralled, but there is no sign of Fiona. Before her bargain is up, Aja must find a way to turn her classmates against their captors, find her sister, and save them all–or be forced to join the very monsters she wants to destory.
Content Warning: body and bug horror, death, on-page violence, and racial microaggressions.
I have been dying to share this review. Vampires in the woods? What else does one need to begin their spooky season?! If you like vampire stories, look no further than Direwood. If you enjoyed books like Burden Falls and The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires, you will love Direwood.
Direwood is Yu’s debut YA gothic horror, and I am beyond impressed. From the opening scene of the questionable blood rain, I knew I was in for a wild ride. Direwood feels like a trippy fever dream. It is strange, gross, eerie, yet seductive. The body and bug horror are 10/10; if these are elements that you do not enjoy, proceed with caution. I enjoyed the creepiness of the caterpillars and the butterflies; they added a twist to the horrors vampires bring to a community. After you read Direwood you may not look at insects the same way…I know I won’t.
Yu leaves the reader questioning who the real monsters are: the vampires or the humans? Beyond the supernatural bits, Yu touches on microaggressions the family faces as Asian Americans and the stereotype of perfection. Both of which I felt were done in a well that added depth to the town and story as a whole.
Overall, I loved Direwood and cannot wait to add a copy to my shelf. It is a quick and dark read, one you can add to your annual horror read cycle.
On the day of my sister’s seventeenth birthday, Blood rain falls from the sky.
My sister smiles, and I don’t recognize her at all. “I wished everything was different.”
The monster and I walk hand in hand through the blood rain, far from the warm glow of my neighbors’ houses and my own house…