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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Are you a fan of young adult fantasy adventure stories? Get ready for a wild ride to a place of magic and wonder with Christopher Renna's Beyond the Trees. Having recently moved to Cedar Falls, South Carolina, brothers Caden and Ansel Murphy have heard rumors about the disappearance of teenagers every three years in the nearby woods. With a close relationship between the brothers, Caden takes it upon himself to search for his older brother Ansel when he goes missing out of the blue. After a talk with the "woodland witch," Caden enters through a portal in the woods that takes him to an unfamiliar realm full of extraordinary creatures. He befriends a wolf named Majesty, who vows to accompany him on his quest. Will Caden be able to rescue his brother and come back home unharmed?
Filled with mystery, magic, and lots of heart, Beyond the Trees is a fascinating odyssey you don't want to miss. The world-building feels wondrously creative and instantly immerses you in the narrative. The story follows a young man who must rise above his insecurities to save his beloved brother, who always used to come to his rescue. Christopher Renna's characters are distinct and full of surprises. Caden, the main protagonist, undergoes a major growth arc throughout the story from being a shy, introverted kid to someone who rises to the occasion and faces his fears head-on. I particularly enjoyed his scenes with Majesty. Young adult fantasy readers will love this one.