Wilderness Reform

Matt Query and Harrison Query

Horror Thriller

The authors of the “impossible to put down” (The Guardian) thriller Old Country return with a terrifying novel about a wilderness camp for troubled teens that is plagued by mysterious events and disappearances, taking survival and discipline to a frightening extreme.

Thirteen-year-old Ben is sent to a remote reform program for troubled teens by a juvenile court judge. But when he arrives at the camp, located on the edge of the vast wilderness of northwestern Montana, he immediately recognizes that there is something off about the counsellors. They’re too friendly and upbeat…yet Ben can tell there’s an undercurrent of menace.

As he gets to know the boys in his cabin, he soon discovers that they each have far more going for them than whatever crime landed them there. And each has a different critical skill, one that could help them unearth what is really going on in this place—and how to make it out alive. They are inching ever closer to the truth, and the hidden evil beneath the camp’s surface will make itself known in order to deter them.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Thirteen year old Ben is just trying to get his little brother and himself to a safer environment away from their abusive aunt. In doing so, he broke many laws and is now facing juvenile court. As another option instead of detention, Ben is sent away to a wilderness camp that specializes in helping troublesome boys.

This camp is nothing like he has experienced before. They are in the mountains of Montana, a far cry from where he grew up in Louisiana. He secretly loves the environment and some of the experiences but the worry for his little brother overshadows everything.

Ben starts noticing some odd behaviors with the counselors and a lot of things that just didn’t add up. He eventually saw that the camp and the counselors were hiding something and it was really extreme.

I was glued to this story. There was a huge undercurrent of creepiness throughout that completely engulfed me. I had to know what was going on, there were too many questions!! Ben as the main character was perfect. He was sensitive and very smart but also clever. Because of this, he learns what is going on and is determined to leave.

I have to admit, the big reveal fell flat for me. I’m not one to love some of the paranormal aspects in horror books. And while I had high hopes, it just didn’t do it for me. However, I was so invested in Ben and his friends that I was still committed to their story. There were many intense, life-threatening situations about survival and more. They really made the book exciting for me!

General content summary: F words= 126

Intense scene of being chased (fear)

Physical abuse (referenced multiple, children)



Parent death (previous)

Panic attack (paralyzed body, multiple)

Break in (Molotov cocktails used, previous)

Stolen cars (previous)

Physical violence (manhandling another, fist fights)

Snaring and killing animals to eat (sounds of breaking its neck, skinning it)

Self injury (previous, banging face into large rock)

Injury (bones crushed, blood, screaming, some details, 2 large bloody gash, broken fingers bent in weird angles)

Bear attack threat 

Large storm with lightning while hiking 

Seizure (blood, intense scenes)

Forest fire

Paranormal aspects (bodies changing, feral people, fear)

Near drowning 

Deaths (multiple, arrows, details, blood, sounds, sights, multiple, axe, injuries, stabbing, guns, some gory details)

Possible multiple teen deaths 

Some details of “flayed” skin 

Many deaths (some suicides, few details)

**Any quotes have been taken from the advance readers copy and may or may not be in the final, published copy.

Thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for the copy!

The book releases July 2, 2024.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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