The Box in the Woods
by Maureen Johnson
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Releasing on June 15, 2021
YA FICTION-Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.
Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.
But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.
Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.
But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.
Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.
In one to two sentences, tell readers what THE BOX IN THE WOODSis about?
In the summer of 1978, four camp counselors went out in the woods one night—their bodies were found the next morning. The case is known as The Box in the Woods murders, and it was never solved. In the present day, the camp’s new owner wants to make a true crime show about the case with Stevie Bell’s help. When Stevie and her friends arrive, it seems like this will be a pleasant summer of outdoor activities (not that Stevie likes those—she is generally against them) and researching a famous cold case. But the case is not so cold. The quiet town of Barlow Corners, where the camp is located, has some deep and dark secrets.
What was the inspiration behind THE BOX IN THE WOODS?
This is Stevie Bell’s first case after the events of the Truly Devious series, which ends with the school year. I knew I likely wanted something that happened over the summer. I also wanted somewhere I could bring the characters back together. I also felt like the 70s were the next historical period I wanted to work with for the cold case. All of those things add up to camp. I didn’t have to think about it very long. Camp was the right setting. Murder, remote locations, serial killers…that’s camp for you.
Do you have any writing quirks or superstitions when it comes to writing?
No superstitions, and probably tons of quirks. I don’t actually know what my quirks are? The writing process is messy and structured at the same time. It’s controlled chaos. I embrace different methods!
Favorite childhood book?
A hard call, but probably The Westing Game.
What is the take-away message you want readers to know about THE BOX IN THE WOODS?
This is a stand-alone murder mystery! If you like true crime or classic mysteries, there is something here for you.
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Enter to win one (1) physical finished copy of The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson! Open USA only. There will be 1 winner.
Giveaway starts: Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Giveaway ends: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CST