Letter Essay #7- Madeline Longo

Recently I finished reading What Waits in The Woods, a 273-page mystery book, by Kieran Scott. Kieran Scott is a young adult author, born in New Jersey. I decided to read this book because I’m really into reading mysteries. I find them really entertaining. While I’m reading them, it’s like I’m picturing a small movie in my head.

In the book, What Waits in The Woods, city girl Callie goes camping with her new boyfriend and her 2 new best friends. After a day or two they lose almost all of their food and also lose their way. They get lost and start hearing rustling in the woods and disturbing laughter. Callie wants to go home. They are all alone, their phones die, and they don’t know what to do. As they begin to get to know each other, secrets spill and some of them start arguing. The main problem in the story is that Callie’s new best friends tell her about a psychopath who once lived in the woods. Callie tries not to believe the silly myth but continues to think about it every night. This is when she knows someone is following  them.

I was surprised during the story because the author added a lot of plot twists. I would always ask myself questions after each chapter. And predict what would happen next, But the plot twists would change my mood completely. I was obviously surprised but also somewhat disappointed.

I liked the way the author used a lot of italicized words. The words were usually of the main character (Callie) talking in her head. They helped me alot to think about what would happen in the next chapter.  As she used these words, I had more questions and thoughts. I like when authors put that in their books. When the main characters talk to themselves, it makes the whole book a lot better and more entertaining.

The resolution of the main characters problem was very surprising. During the book there were many problems but when they happened to the main character (Callie), I became anxious and it made me want to read on. Callie tries to figure out who is following them in the woods. By the end of the book most of the problems resolved and it made the story great.

Finally, I thought that this passage really stood out, it was when Callie’s two new friends shared a scary story with her one night. The author writes:  “Callie hugged herself. Somehow that assertion didn’t make her feel; any better. She glanced around. Suddenly the landscape seemed to close in on her, every shadow concealing an awful threat. Someone could be out there right now, watching them. She felt as if she could hear them breathing. At any moment the person, the thing, whatever it was, could pounce. And just like that, they’d all be gone. Vanished.”

(p. 20)

The reason I chose this paragraph is because it was very dramatic and detailed. The author added Callie’s feelings and thoughts, and it just gave me the chills. When the author adds the mains characters thoughts it would really make me wonder, Will she survive? What will happen next? Will someone take her? These are some things I think of when the main character talks to herself. I also loved the way the author added very good description of the landscape like, “suddenly the landscape seemed to close in on her, every shadow concealing an awful threat.” That really stood out to me. I’m very glad I read this book and I would definitely recommend it to people who love mysteries or scary stories. What Waits in The Woods is a 10 out of 10. Now it’s your turn to read it next!


Madeline Longo


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9 thoughts on “Letter Essay #7- Madeline Longo

  1. Dear Maddie,
    Nice letter essay! I really liked the way you described the author’s style throughout the book and how that made the novel better or worse, for instance, you wrote: “I liked the way the author used a lot of italicized words… They helped me a lot to think about what would happen in the next chapter… I like when authors put that in their books,” which demonstrated an author’s technique and how it made you ask questions throughout the book. Something that could improve your writing in the future is using more quotes from the text to prove your points. For example, when you were talking about the inner though through italics, give an example from the text where Callie’s inner thought made you ask questions and even what those questions were. It would make your writing much more powerful.

    Jalen Johnson

    1. I agree 100 percent with Jalen, Maddie. If you do those things, you will be producing letter-essays of the highest quality.
      Mr. Jockers

  2. Hi Maddie,

    I liked how you said that you liked to hear the characters thoughts in all the books you read and not just this one. I really enjoyed reading your letter essay. I also liked how detailed your summary was because it made it easier to understand what you were talking about when you explained why you liked the book.


  3. Dear Maddie,
    I really liked your letter essay! It was very descriptive! I don’t think that I would ever read a book like this but it sounds good! One thing you can do to improve your writing is by adding some more evidence from the text. This will just help support any claim you may have. Great letter essay and keep up the good work!
    Mia Larkin

  4. Maddie,
    Great job on your letter essay. I liked how much detail you had in your writing. I agree with Jalen that you should have more text evidence to support your opinions.

  5. Dear Madeline,

    I really like your piece. I think that you used a lot of good authors craft in your essay which made it more powerful. When you said that you liked to read mystery books I agree because they are really fun to read. I especially liked your summary of the book because it was well told and easy to picture what happened in the book. Great Job!


  6. dear Maddie,

    I thought you did an EXCELLENT job on your letter essay! I loved that you added a link to the about the author page! I thought you did a great job of using authors craft and you also did a great job of summarizing the story but at the same time not giving to much of the story away.

    Overall I think you did a great job!

    -Sophia J

  7. Dear Maddie,
    Good job! I like how you were descriptive. It seemed like you enjoyed this book a lot. I also like how you added a link to let us know more about the author. Maybe just a few more quotes but other than that I really liked this.


  8. Maddie,

    Your letter essay is great! I love how you added lots of detail about the characters. This helped me understand the traits of the characters. I really like the vocabulary you used and the description. You really made me want to read this book!

    -Hannah Halloran

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