Blog Tour: The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Thank you so much to Hear Our Voices Book Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘The Forest of Stolen Girls’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!

Title: The Forest of Stolen Girls
Author: June Hur
Publisher: Macmillan
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Series: None
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Final Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

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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What I liked

The rich, atmospheric, historical setting of Joseon-era Korea. June Hur’s lilting prose brought Joseon-era Korea to life. With the elements of mystery and suspense incorporated into the story, as well as the immersive surrounding, I was transported straight into the story. The vivid storytelling really helped me visualize everything going on, and honestly, I would recommend this book for it’s setting, and strong historical context alone.

All the mystery and suspense. This whole aspect of the story just plays out so well. We get to see little glimpses of who may be responsible behind everything, without being given enough of a chance to actually guess, or predict it completely, which is something I found so interesting. I also loved being able to see all of this from Hwani’s perspective, because even though her father is a detective, we get to see her struggling. In a lot of YA books, we see the protagonists just solving the mystery based on co-incidences, but over here, the clues actually make sense, and everything doesn’t wrap-up quite so easily, making it all the more believable.

The sibling relationships. I think by now, it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of sibling relationships, and I love seeing all those bonds. However, sometimes for me, the relationships in books feel a bit too perfect, and I loved that through her writing, Hur was able to convey the complexity of these sibling relationships, and how although you may endlessly complain about them, and not agree with them most of the time, at the end of the day, you’ll also love them the most, and they’re your family.

What wasn’t my cup of tea

The pacing. Although I don’t usually mind slow-paced books, at times, I found my mind wandering, and unable to focus completely on the story. I’m not saying the story wasn’t thrilling, or that I wasn’t hooked, but at some points, it just got too slow for me to actually pay attention, and I just got tired after a while.

Overall!

June Hur’s lilting prose brought Joseon-era Korea to life. With the elements of mystery and suspense incorporated into the story, as well as the immersive surrounding, I was transported straight into the story. The vivid storytelling really helped me visualize everything going on, and honestly, I would recommend this book for it’s setting, and strong historical context alone. However, the whole aspect of mystery and suspense in the story also just plays out so well. We get to see little glimpses of who may be responsible behind everything, without being given enough of a chance to actually guess, or predict it completely, which is something I found so interesting. Hur was also able to convey the complexity of sibling relationships, and how no matter what comes, at the end of the day, you’ll also love them the most, and they’re your family.

About the Author

June Hur was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. When she’s not writing, she can be found journaling at a coffee shop. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020 (Indies Introduce).

AUTHOR SOCIALS:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Have you read The Forest of Stolen Girls yet? What are some of your favourite #OwnVoices Asian Historical Fiction novels? Do you like reading Mysteries and Thrillers?

37 thoughts on “Blog Tour: The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur”

  1. I’ve been meaning to read this book. I love how it’s rich with Korean culture, and that it’s made by a Korean author. I love learning about new cultures, so this is great! I loved what you said about what you liked and didn’t like. It was very organized and informative. Lovely blog tour stop Ahaana! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ahaana, lovely review as always, I’m so glad to be back to the blogsophere for a bit and your post show up! I’ve heard of June Hur’s other novel, The Silence of Bones only so thank you for bringing The Forest of Stolen Girls to my attention… a #ownvoices Asian historical fiction novel sounds wonderful, I’m especially heartened to hear that the historical setting was immersive and well contextualised… and ahh did I hear sibling relationships? I’ll be picking this one up, thank you for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. cherelle!! thank you so much 😭❤️ i love you and your posts so much ahhh!! the silence of bones is on my tbr, and i’ll def be picking it up soon because i loved june hur’s writing style and prose. i also really liked that this was #ownvoices, and i think june hur’s last novel, this one, as well as her upcoming one are all based in joseon-era korea, so i’m interested in seeing where that goes!! the historical setting was SO atmospheric and the sibling relationships were the best!! i hope you love it ❤️ (also could you please check your mail 🥺) tysm! ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one of my most anticipated releases this year so I’m so glad to see you’ve given it such a glowing review! I know about her other book The Silence of the Bones (yes I haven’t read that one yet…) but she somehow nails the immersive mystery and thriller aesthetic for a captivating read. Ah can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh it was such a great book, so i hope you love it as much as i did!! i think the silence of bones (i haven’t read it yet either haha) is also based in joseon-era korea, so i’m interested in seeing a different perspective through that book! everything was so atmospheric in this one, and the mystery and suspense were just so good!! thank you so much 💓

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review!! Funnily enough, I’ve been starting to read more mystery/thriller/horror books recently and as someone who hates being scared, I’m very confused about this change😂 Besides June’s books, on the historical fiction front, I automatically think about Stacey Lee! Ooh and Malinda Lo’s Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which was incredible!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, sara!! omg same, and i’ve been so confused, because i never read them before 😂 i think quarantine is making us try new things because i’m also very confused haha!! the downstairs girl has been on my tbr for a while, and i haven’t read any books by stacey lee, so i’m def checking her books out soon!! plus the synopsis for last night at the telegraph club sounds amazing!! thank you so much for the recs 💓💓

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  5. Omg I love this Ahaana!! I ADORED The Silence of Bones when I read it last year, it made me felt so represented as a Korean. We absolutely need more #ownvoices HF if it makes people feel like I did when I read TSOB!! 😭😭❤️❤️

    But anyway, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed The Forest of Stolen Girls — sibling relationships and more Korean culture, you say?? 🤩 Now I’m even more excited to read it!! Beautiful review Ahaana 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh, thank you so much abby!! i still need to read the silence of bones, but if it’s even half as good as the forest of stolen girls, i know I’ll love it!! #ownvoices HF is the best and always manages to make me emo haha 🥺😭

      i hope you love it as much as i did!! the sibling relationships were the best, and i loved learning about the korean culture!! thank youuuu 💓💓

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amazing review love, you’ve made me even more excited because this seems to have quite some elements I adore! As you probably know, I love reading mysteries and thrillers so this one will be a must read! I was at an online event yesterday where the author was too and she seemed so nice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh thank you so much!! haha, i know you’re loving the girls I’ve been, so that’s great!! there was so much suspense, and it literally gave me chills, so i hope you love it. omg yeah!! i heard about that, plus YALLWEST is going on (but all the events are like at 4:30am my time so :”) thank you so much!! 🥺💓

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely review! It does sound like an interesting read. I think I have The Silence of Bones on my Goodreads to-read list because I thought that sounded interesting too although I’ve still not gotten around to that – must try find where I can either buy or borrow it.

    Liked by 1 person

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