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Black Forest

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Worth reading 😎

The thrilling story of a lost father sees a seventeen-year-old son and his best friend dealing with white supremacists.

Jack Larson is dealing with a sense of abandonment after his father suddenly disappeared from his life when he was fifteen years old. The officers believe that his father left his family to start a new life, although Jack doesn't believe so, thinking that something must have been wrong to force his father to leave. Two years later, Jack's abandonment issues are rearing their ugly heads through his drug use. Even though he spends his days playing video games and not caring about the world, his father leaving has clearly taken a toll on his mental and physical health.


During this time, Jack and his best friend Cash find new information on Jack's father that wasn't revealed two years ago, and this leads to an adventure that may give Jack the answers that he has been looking for. This may also give him some sort of closure about why his father suddenly left, and may reveal what truly happened.


This book was a hard one to read with the drug use that Jack deals with in the aftermath of his father's disappearance. While some people may argue that doing "pot" is not considered drug abuse in comparison to hard-core drugs like cocaine or other more lethal substances, the fact that he is engaging with drugs at all at his age is still concerning – especially for those that may feel triggered by this kind of portrayal. If this is something that is difficult for you to read, I would not read parts of this book.


Jack and Cash's friendship was interesting to read, and portraying them as each other's support systems throughout the story was great to see; sometimes it is difficult for young men to hold on to a positive friendship when they are having other issues in their lives. Jack is struggling to come to terms with his father's disappearance and apparent abandonment of his family (although Jack still doesn't believe that his father abandoned his family, despite what the police claims). Cash ensures that Jack isn't alone with his thoughts, and demonstrates that Jack does have someone on his side, which is a blessing in itself. Jack also shows up for Cash, even if he may not be at full capacity to offer a full support system.


Finally, the inclusion of the white supremacist plot was also a little difficult to read at times, especially during society's political climate today - and in general. If this is something that makes you uncomfortable, I would not suggest this book. However, I do believe that the author did a sufficient job with this novel and it made for a good thriller.

Reviewed by

My favorite genres are Fantasy, Dystopian, Historical Fiction, Sci-Fi, & Contemporary. I mainly read Young Adult. I identify as an #OwnVoices Reviewer for Japanese, Chamorro, Chinese, Spanish, Cherokee, Korean, Black, Fat Rep, Mental Illness, Bisexual, and Disability Representation.

About the author

J Scott Boyd holds a master's degree in psychology & provides therapy for adults & adolescents struggling with addiction, trauma, and depression. He worked as a clinical case manager in the Boulder County Jail. His experiences in this line of work helped inform the plot & characters in BLACK FOREST. view profile

Published on April 17, 2020

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Young Adult

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