AUTHOR: Autumn Krause

GENRE: Horror, Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction

AGE: Young Adult


1836. Wisconsin Territory. All Catalina has left is her little brother—Mama died years ago, and Papa was buried just yesterday. She and Jose Luis are alone now, in their ramshackle cabin on the edge of the Wisconsin wilderness, with the cold weather coming.

As Catalina sets plans to ensure their survival, a strange man appears—a man covered in bark, leaves growing from his head, and sap dripping from his eyes. Before Catalina can stop him, he scoops Jose Luis up and disappears. He leaves behind a strange bird with crimson wings. She can’t let this man—if that’s what he is—have her brother. With no idea where they’ve gone, she tracks the bird in hopes it will lead her to Jose Luis.

Along the way she finds help from a young Paul Bunyan, whose life has also been changed by the Man of Sap. As they travel deeper into the Northwoods, they uncover more of the Man of Sap’s history and the connections he and Catalina share, ultimately learning her fate is deeply entwined with his—set in seeds planted long ago—and now, giving her the power to change his life, or end it.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book!

This book was excellently creepy and well written. It sent shivers down my spine. You know those “Stories to Tell in the Dark”? This book reminded me of them. Creepy and atmospheric. I love the take on apples being evil, but also how the devil was incorporated into the book.

Despite it being a short book, there was a lot packed into it. Some elements it had:

-bit of horror
-strong female character
-two timelines

All of these things combined made it an excellent book. (The cover is also VERY pretty!) One aspect that was part of the book, but wasn’t a huge part was the romance. I felt that the romance fit in very well alongside the familial relationships depicted in the book.

There were some amazing turns of phrase in BTDKYN — like the imagery it conjures is absolutely magnificent. Again, that helped lend to the atmosphere and the feeling of the book. It would be a perfect fall read, because that is what it felt like!

This was a fantastic book and I highly recommend it to people who love a bit of a darker “retelling”!