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THE HANGING WOODS by Scott Loring Sanders

THE HANGING WOODS

By Scott Loring Sanders

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 21st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-88125-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

In an Alabama mill town in 1975, a teen reads his mother’s diary and kills a fox, discovering a lot he didn’t want to know about his parents and realizing he has the power to kill. An only child who likes to read, 13-year-old Walter hangs out with his two best friends, Mothball and Jimmy. Mothball is overweight, cowardly and the brunt of teasing, while Jimmy is lean, malicious and good-looking. As they skulk around town, camp in the woods and swim in the river, the three friends avoid Troll, a reclusive Vietnam vet. Ever the observer, Walter wonders why Troll seems to know him, why his father avoids him and why his mother hates Jimmy. When Jimmy malevolently terrorizes Mothball, Walter watches. Then Jimmy drowns because of a vicious prank and Walter fails to save him. He and Mothball refuse to tell the police, who arrest Troll for murder. Mothball commits suicide and Walter is left with his guilt and deception. As his life slowly unravels, Walter and readers learn the shocking truth in this compelling, but disturbing story, which features mature subject matter and language. (Fiction. YA)