Book review: The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods

By Emily Barr
Published by Penguin

Synopsis: Arty has always lived in the Clearing, a commune hidden in the forests of south India. But her happy life, separate from the rest of the world, is shattered after a terrible event. 

For the first time, Arty must leave her home, and head into the intriguing but frightening outside world. On the streets of India, a chance encounter leads to her becoming an unwilling overnight celebrity. 

As she embarks on her journey, she discovers she is being followed by thousands of strangers, who seem to know her every move…

Forced to fight against mysterious hashtags and being constantly photographed, how can she find the help she desperately needs? 

How did this book end up in my hands? I read an 11-part serialisation of the book via The Pigeonhole ahead of publication.

Was it a page-turner? As for most of my recent reads, I had to wait for a new instalment of the book to be released each day. I’m normally quite patient but this was torture. I got so involved in Arty’s story that words flew by too quickly every time.

Did the book meet my expectations? I adored this book. My expectations were met and exceeded for so many reasons. I loved that part of the novel was set in India, which is a country I am constantly fascinated by. I loved the multilingual element even though the book is 100% in English! Arty is an extremely likeable character, maybe more so because of her vulnerability. It wasn’t just her coming alive through the author’s words though. The novel has many other minor characters that I’m finding hard to forget and would love to meet again in a new book. Last but not least, I found the social commentary that permeates the action spellbinding and achingly accurate while, at the same time, I was constantly trying to figure out the ‘mystery’ of the parallel narratives. It is a truly amazing book.

Three words to describe it. Tender. Contemporary. Absorbing.

Do I like the cover? Yes, I love the colours and the imagery. It’s a cover so full of hope, just like the novel itself.

Have I read any other books by the same author? Yes, I've read a novella called Blackout and I would like to explore more of her previous – as well as her future – output.

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