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SYNOPSIS: DEEPWOOD Young Adult Fantasy, 96,000 Words by Elise Chidley Development threatens the last portal between Earth and a mythical realm in this YA fantasy adventure. After their father abandons them, teenagers Willow and Ivo McBane have to relocate with their mother, Viv, from London to Deepwood Cottage in Gloucestershire. The cottage abuts hundreds of acres of wildwood. For brilliant, curious Ivo, fascinated by botany, it’s a chance to explore. But Willow—fierce, sinewy, and athletic—misses the city. They meet some strikingly odd neighbors with unkempt clothing and swirling tattoos on their feet and hands: Raff Dunaid, Maeveen Linden, and the Viking-like Jack Green. They’re from Arcady, a parallel realm where a rebel faction has been closing down links between the worlds, draining energy from Earth and wreaking environmental destruction. The last open link lies within the trees of Deepwood, which will be chopped down for a golf course unless Willow and Ivo can foil the developer, saving both the link and the dryads who guard it. When Faylan, the dangerous Schismatic leader, kidnaps Viv and imprisons her in Arcady, he sparks a desperate last battle in two realms. While Willow struggles to rescue her mother, Ivo stands guard between the trees and the heavy machinery massing to destroy the forest.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Deepwood is a captivating story that hooks readers from the start. The plot hums with twists and turns, and though Chidley writes to a young adult audience, this expert novel would entertain all ages.

Prose: Chidley is clearly a gifted writer with strong storytelling skills. Deepwood's characters come alive on the page, through vividly painted emotions and powerful resolve.

Originality: Deepwood will stun readers with expressive worldbuilding and breathtaking action—Chidley perfectly balances flawless characters with an alluring storyline.   

Character Development/Execution: Chidley's characterization is top-notch, particularly with Willow and Ivo, but even secondary characters are distinctive and memorable.

Blurb: A dazzling adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Date Submitted: August 30, 2022