The Woodlands

Rated 4.78/5 based on 9 reviews
Do you dare leave the Woodlands? As the last livable spot on Earth, it's the only home Rosa and Joseph have ever known. But now they need to escape, or Rosa will be trapped forever in a horrific government program. A dystopian page-turner with over 750 five-star ratings on Goodreads. The Woodlands Series is perfect for fans of Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. More
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About Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

Learn more about Lauren Nicolle Taylor
About the Series: The Woodlands Series
Do you dare enter the Woodlands? As the last livable spot on Earth, it's the only home Rosa and Joseph have ever known. But now they need to escape, or Rosa will be trapped forever in a horrific government program. A dystopian page-turner with over 750 five-star ratings on Goodreads. The Woodlands Series is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth, and The Jewel Series by Amy Ewing.

Also in Series: The Woodlands Series

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Reviews of The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

elbethel reviewed on July 2, 2015

A gripping story from beginning to end. With just the right cliff hanger at the end to leave you wanting more.
Very deep and thought provoking for the young and the not so young.
(review of free book)
KayRose233 reviewed on June 15, 2014

I've got a severe weakness for dystopian ya novels, and this was no exception. Rosa is one of those protagonists I found myself rooting for from the start, as she dealt with her family and her new friend Joseph. She's a rule breaker, and that's one of the things I admire about her. I'm tired of perfect protagonists who follow all the rules in dystopia, and this was a breath of fresh air.

I don't want to give anything away, but trust me, go and get your copy of The Woodlands! Best of all, book one is free! But be warned, you'll be hooked in immediately and unable to put it down. I'm going to start the second book the moment I publish this review!

Perfect for fans of Divergent, The Hunger Games, and Uglies.
(review of free book)
Mary Ellen Quire reviewed on May 23, 2014

I decided to read The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor to see what all of the hubbub was about and with her third book in the series recently released, I needed to catch up. So, I began the first book content in the belief I was reading just another dystopian novel involving an unfortunate teenager caught in the trap of a society gone wrong. There would be sick and twisted governmental games, yes? Air it on media and everyone watches, totally enthralled, and succumbing to the net that keeps them all in line. It’s the standard fair of dystopia.
However, what I found in The Woodlands was something more frightening than all of my assumptions (even more frightening than government mandated games encouraging murder and mayhem among kids). I found a society limping along over two hundred years after wars nearly eradicated them. This is not an unusual find in a dystopian novel, but Taylor does an excellent job in bringing forth the wrong solution to a deadly societal problem. In order to prevent history from repeating itself (wars between people of different ethnicities, or Our Kind) it is necessary to genetically engineer the ultimate race, or All Kind, a creation which would include physical characteristics from all human breeds.
And this is where we find the main character, Rosa, a teenage girl who was unfortunate to not only inherit her father’s unique eye color, but also his sarcastic attitude and driving need for rebellion. I found Rosa to be a character after my own heart. When the superiors say jump, she doesn’t ask how high, she asks why, which is another great edge in this story. Unlike most stories where the heroine can be a smart ass and get away with it, Rosa cannot and she is hauled away like defective rubbish, making her realize how insignificant she truly is in the ringed society. This is a nice bite of reality in a fictional tale and I found Taylor’s writing of it to support the old adage, there are no new stories, only stories told in a new way.
The Woodlands truly is a powerful story, powerful enough that I am eagerly moving into the next book just to see what happens.
(review of free book)
CrazyBookworm99 reviewed on Feb. 26, 2014

If you are in the mood for a one-of-a-kind epic romance and dystopian with some unbelievable twists then this is the book for you. This book made me wish that there was no school. You could automatically see the links between what was happening in the book and what is happening in our society today and that is scary!! I was nearly too scared to even read the second book but I did... already :) A real page-turner that I would happily recommend to you all. Happy reading :) x
(review of free book)
DelSheree Gladden reviewed on Feb. 16, 2014

Life inside the rings has never been pleasant for Rosa. The rigid rules don't sit well with her adventurous and strong-willed spirit, and she often finds herself in trouble because of this. Lately, however, getting into trouble is her only defense against her hateful stepfather. She half expects her attitude will be what costs her everything in the end, but that would have been more bearable than the truth.

Set in post-apocalyptic Russia, The Woodlands society is harsh and rigid. The focus on "All Kind" over individuality is a common theme in dystopian style novels, but there is an element of uniqueness to this world that draws readers in immediately. The Superiors rule the Woodlands by keeping the different groups of survivors isolated from each other to the point of absolute dependency. Even Rosa's strong personality has trouble seeing past the inevitability of falling in line with the Superiors. Even so, Taylor still manages to keep an underlying sense of hope throughout the terrible trials Rosa faces to keep the readers from despairing too much.

Something I always look for in a novel is a strong cast of characters. Rosa is a character most readers will easily relate to right off the bat, but it is the varied supporting cast that truly gives this novel the sense of reality it needs to capture readers' attention. I very much enjoyed the complexity of each supporting character and the depth of not only their emotions, but their motivation and perspectives on their lives. Joseph is a beautifully deep character who's initial cheerful personality might make readers not take him seriously, but his depth of conviction and troubled soul will make him unforgettable.

It isn't just the supporting characters that readers will have a hard time pulling away from. While this isn't Rosa's story alone, she is definitely the main focus. Rosa isn't immediately the most "likable" character in the sense of her being the kind of girl who easily wins people over. At times I would find myself wishing she could be just a little different, a little less antagonistic or more able to open up to those who love her, but if she were any different she wouldn't be nearly as captivating. It is Rosa's imperfections that make her so real, so unique. It will pull at readers' heartstrings as they suffer along with her through incredible trials.

Rosa's story is not always a happy one, yet her strength and fierce love for her friends never lets the reader lose hope in her. This is the first book in The Woodlands Series, and I can promise that readers will be eager for book two as soon as they finish this one.
(review of free book)
Melanie Newton reviewed on Feb. 6, 2014

I am not a huge fan of dystopian style novels in general but I seem to keep getting pulled into reading them because EVERYONE is talking about them and with this book I can see why.

Right from page one you know that things are not right in this society but what is so frightening is how much of the book can be paralleled with events happening today. The writing is exquisite and I found it almost impossible to believe this was a debut outing. I laughed, I cried, I gasped in disbelief. I found myself knowing that things were going to happen but hoping desperately that I was wrong. Be warned though, this author doesn't pull ANY punches. She keeps the fear that people can be in your life one minute and then gone the next so close to the surface I am almost afraid to pick up book 2 ..... almost.... but the desire to know where this story will go is telling the other voices to just be quiet. In fact I already have it loaded up and ready to go.

Don't be fooled by this being classified as a YA novel. Whilst I am sure more mature teenagers will certainly fall in love with this cast I can assure you that there are a great deal of adults that I think would get even more out of it.

If nothing else check it out because it is free! Treat yourself!

(review of free book)
Melinda Brasher reviewed on Dec. 20, 2013

The Woodlands, by Lauren Nicolle Taylor, is a YA dystopian novel that I happened on just by chance and really enjoyed, though the ending demands the sequel: The Wall. See the author interview for a story description and more information.

First, my grammatical issue: The novel contains many sentence fragments with only the "–ing" form of the verb, as if the clause should have been attached to the previous sentence. Example: "I burst into the Class on the first day. Bleary-eyed, wiping my nose with my sleeve, smearing snot across my face." Fragments can be powerful and punchy, but these just aren't. They leave the reader waiting for the rest of the sentence. It gets distracting after a while.

There are also several points which the author beats into us, over and over. They would have been stronger if they'd been more subtle.

Otherwise, the writing is very good and draws the reader into the story and the characters. The plot is creepy and exciting and feels fresh for a dystopian novel. Joseph, the love interest, is a little too perfect, but he's what we all want, so it's fun to read. The other characters are interesting and distinctive. I like Rosa's inner struggles and her defiance, which is much of the time so realistically undirected. The setting and the world building are also good.

What I LOVE about The Woodlands is the way the society in this book has taken something good like racial tolerance and intermixing, and turned it disturbingly on its head. The leaders encourage people not to see "own kind" but "all kind." Sounds good, right? They manipulate things to get as much interracial marriage as possible. But this has turned into the same thing they were supposedly trying to avoid. Cultural uniqueness is squashed. Pure races are seen as inferior. There's still racial prejudice and oppression, just aimed differently than it used to be. Very, very profound.

The Woodlands is a good read, and thought-provoking. I recommend it.
(review of free book)
Casie L reviewed on Oct. 6, 2013

My Thoughts - 4 out of 5 unicorns - I really liked it!!
***Received ebook from Clean Teen Publishing for an honest review, but I also added to my library because it is free.

The cover is breathtaking. I love how you see the wooded railroad tracks through her face and see her beautiful blue eye. It is very intriguing and attracts you to the book.

If you couldn’t tell from the blurb, this story is set in a post-war era and is a dystopian fantasy. This story is difficult for me to put words to paper. I think part of the reason is because it is just too real life for me. Everyday people deal with race issues, pregnancy, and teen rebellion, and this story has it all. This story is not something I usually read because it is way too real life, and I like to escape into my books and get away from real life.

Rosa feels so real when you read the story. I was crying with her, saying don’t do it when she was rebelling, and telling her to stop pushing people away when she was. She is definitely stronger than I am because I don’t think I could have handled half of what she had to.

Joseph is sweet and adorable and the knight in shining armor. Most boys would not put up with half the stuff he has from the drama, but he always sticks by Rosa.

Okay, I was annoyed when the story ended because I have no idea what is going to happen next which doesn’t happen very often, and I had so many questions that weren’t answered. It was the appropriate place to stop, but I still don’t like that it did.

Lauren did a fantastic job with the story, and I will definitely continue this series to see where Lauren takes it next :) I will also be buying the paperback from my classroom because I have quite a few students who like stories that are more real life and dystopia as well.

You too can read this fantastic story because it is FREE!!!
(review of free book)
Chloe Lim reviewed on Aug. 23, 2013

*** Warning*** Superlatives ahead.
An amazing story, totally engrossing and exciting with unique yet relatable characters. I would call this a dystopian romance adventure, and all these boxes are ticked at the highest level. The exciting and beautiful, yet fraught and funny romance is very satisfying. Think Princess Leia and Hans Solo rather than Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. The world of The Woodlands is very vivid, and you feel like you are really there. A great book to lose yourself in and stay up all night to finish.

I can't recommend this book highly enough.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)
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