Registered Charity Number: 1120177

QAVS-logo-adjustment-new bookfest-01 logo_facebook_f twitter

President:  Dame Jacqueline Wilson; Patrons:  Michael Morpurgo & Ian Whybrow

you tube instagram Darkling Wood book ribbon red Half a Man Book speech bubble

Emma Carroll is a secondary school English teacher. She has also worked as a news reporter, an avocado picker and the person who punches holes into filofax paper. She recently graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University's MA in Writing For Young People. The Girl Who Walked on Air is Emma's second novel.


Emma lives in the Somerset hills with her husband and two terriers.


Have a look at the rest of the Book Award 2016 Shortlist...

Published by Faber &Faber


Emma Carroll

In Darkling Wood

About the book

About the author

File download
tiger tale book Stonebird book Accidental PM book

'You're telling me there are fairies in this wood?'

When Alice's brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother's house. There's nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden - but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn't seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?

Shortlisted title

Emma  Carroll polaroid
How to Fly Book

"I would recommend this book for aged 9 to 13 or anyone who believes in the magic of Darkling wood. I would say this book was written so that when everything seems wrong and dark it tells you that there will always be light whatever happens."

Rosie Brick, Much Wenlock Primary School, Shropshire                                                                    


"If you like adventure you will love this book, it is also full of emotion and happiness, however it can be rather sad in some parts like when Theo is ill. This book reminds me of war horse only because it is sad and Alice gets sent away."

Abbie Bunning, Much Wenlock Primary School, Shropshire


"I would recommend this book to ks2 because it is quite tricky and hard to read. My rating is 5 out 5."

Tegan, Much Wenlock Primary School, Shropshire


"Darkling Wood:  I don’t usually like fantasy stories but this book changed my mind and I will start reading more.  I will stop judging books by their covers!"

Harry, Market Drayton Junior School Shropshire


"I have enjoyed reading In Darkling Wood, the book was very touching and was an ok read but for me it was a bit boring but that's my opinion.

I recommend this book for 9 year olds and older."

Edward Scott, Packwood Haugh School, Shropshire


"Darkling Wood is a very good book with a lot of hidden facts that make you really want to read more and find out what happens next! I especially love the letters and the book is so hard to put down I strongly recommend this book! (: "

George Stanford-Davis, Packwood Haugh School, Shropshire


"I really enjoyed this book and I read it every day! Alice goes to stay with her Grandmother in Darkling wood and finds some interesting things in a little room..."

Eva Garavini, Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury


"In darkling wood is a great book I didn't want to put it down. I particularly liked this book because of the flash backs. A truly wonderful book, I wanted to read it again.  Max was my favorite character and I think he fell off his bike on purpose to save the wood.  This should definitely win the award for me as it leads by a mile and I am going to put all my votes on it because I enjoyed it so much. I also liked the other books but this was the best.  I recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure story.

Dom Pritchard, Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury


"This book had me looking forward to bedtime because that is when I do my reading. You never quite new what was going to happen. That is what made it exciting to read. At the end I was happy but also sad because the author left you asking questions. This was one of my favorite books."

Iris Downes, Prestfelde School, Shrewsbury


"Out of all the books I've read In Darkling Wood was definitely my favourite. There was so much drama and definitely the best book.

I bought this book and I'm reading it again, I would recommend this book to my friends. I am trying to find more books by Emma Carroll and I think this book should definitely win the award!"

Oliver, St Leonard's Primary School, Bridgnorth


"This book is so amazing! It's so magical and gets you in the mood to go out to the closest wood and just explore! So many things that get you thinking 'What's going to happen next?' And then a few chapters later...You found out. It is just amazing and I highly recommend it!!!Especialy if you are into exploring, faries,magic and all that. It is just something you can read all day long I'll happily read it 100 times !  It's SO good :)"

Georgia L Davies, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I love this book though it is very sad and I advise everybody to read it but if you are not good at keeping your tears in I advise not to. Read it, because it is very sad at the start."

Summer Dudley, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I like the book because the characters share a load of emotions. I really like the main character Alice because she has her own opinions like me. I would rate this book 6 1/2 out of 10. This would not be the first I would choose as it took a lot to get into and I didn't find it as interesting as some of the books I have read recently.I recommend this book for ages  9-13 years. I think the author did so well on this book."

Claudia Gwilt, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"In Darkling Wood is a great book. It is a worrying book because her brothers ill. She has to stay at her grandmas house.The house is old and there is a wood around it but the wood is not a normal wood. But what is it about it that  makes her think it is not right. I love this book and I would highly recommend this book. I think she has very good adventure, whilst  in hope her brother will get better. Some thing is up between her Grandma and her Dad but what could it be. She has so many problems and they are all on her head but can she be a superhero and make all her problems right and save the day."

Maegan Tew, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"In Darkling Wood is my favourite book of all because of the emotions portrayed through this book. There are things that most people will never have to go through (Alice's brother) yet you still feel as if you're in the book, you still feel for Alice. Also I like the time flip element and how they all join up. The next thing I like is the slight mystery in it, how you never know what will happen next, how it keeps you reading, how you never want it to end. All though it gets emotional there are times when it leaves you feeling content with life. All in all this a very good read and an enjoyable book in general. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone!"

Will Leach, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"In Darkling Wood is an eye popping, jaw dropping adventure! Emma Carroll is an extremely talented writer and this grabbing book really supports that fact. Who knew that something as little as the magical creatures in the woods could help young Alice discover the strange feeling on wondrous hope? With the mysterious red-cloaked girl in her mind leading her through the darkness, Alice lives life in a strange cottage surrounded my fear and very little hope...Waiting for that one important phone call is harder than it appears. New School, New house and a million miles from family and friends. READ READ  READ!!!!!"

Imogen Wright, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire



"This book has extreme emotions. The writing is very descriptive which is why it has great effects on you, well written and I care about the characters. An extremely  loving tale the whole way through that has mixed emotions you could be laughing on one page the next the book is tugging on your heart. I personally thought the book dragged on in middle but despite that a outstanding book  full of detail. I would recommend this book to 11-14 year olds. Fabulous book!!!:)"

Megan Smith, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"WOW! I thought this book was amazing, I loved the main character 'Alice'. I think this book is for 9-13 year olds and it is quite magical and mysterious. I would hilly recommend it for other - adults as well! In parts it is sad when they talk about Theo (Alice's brother) when he has a heart transplant. Alice is quite a cheeky character in some ways! Emma Carroll is an amazing author and I bet all her other book are as good as this one!"

Georgie Talbot, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"The reason I love In darkling wood is because of how much emotions and feelings that Emma Carroll put into the book. I think that in a book, the more emotions and feelings you put in a book the better the book is. The way that she put emotions into Alice  was incredible. Sometimes she is very sad like when she found out her brother, Theo, was very poorly and Emma used some very good language. Also when she met the fairies Emma used some amazing words to describe Alice and the fairies. All in all I think that it is a wonderful book to read and someday I would love to read some more of Emma Carroll's books."

Sophie Kinnersley, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth, Shropshire


"In Darkling Wood was a sad,exciting and a mysterious story.It's a sad story because of Alice's brother Theo has to have a major operation on his heart.Alice is an adventurous girl. Near the end her book nearly made me cry. I'd recommend this book for 9-12 years old. Emma Carroll is a great author I have her other book The Girl Who Walked On Air and it's a great book as well"

Tillie Bulmer, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire


"In Darkling Wood is a brilliant book full of adventures,mystery and sadness.I would recommend this book to 9-13 years old.This is definitely a book people should read!"

Emilia Bullen, Hinstock Primary School, Shropshire


"In Darkling wood is a mysterious and magical book because as you read you feel everything the characters feel and you can picture everything they see. That helps to follow the book. I would recommend this book to anyone including adults that love stories that involve magic to me there is no place that is more magic. :)"

Paige Swain, Wilfred Owen Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I thought this book was really well written, it is great for everyone between 7-11 as I have loved it.  I wish there could be a second although I can't imagine there will be so I hope Emma Carroll will write more. It may have been spooky and mysterious but I gave it ten out of ten and couldn't put it down!"

Beatrice Grigg, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"In Darkling Wood is a very interesting book and it is the best Bookfest book I have read so far. This book kept me on the edge of my chair the whole way through. I would say it would be more suitable for 11 year olds. I highly recommend this book and I hope Emma Carroll will write more books like this one."

Morgan Matthews, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"This book was incredible, at first I thought it was going to be boring but as soon as I got through about two chapters I couldn't put it down! It was emotional, risky, sad, mysterious and very enjoyable! I love how Emma made it all of those things in one book!  I would definitely recommend this 100%! I enjoyed it so much!"

Zennor Harvey, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"This book was very bittersweet but I still loved every bit of it. I loved it because it was exiting and sad. The book was most likely my favourite.I think this is for ages 9 to10. I loved the bit where Flo came in to the story beaceuse Flo just ran away and said nothing."

Katie Harper, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I think this book is one of the best books I have read for while . But a bit sad that Alfred dies but at least Theo survives I can not believe my surname is in the book! I felt as though I was Alice in Darkling wood . I think it is a wonderful story of hope and family. Alice must have been going through a tough time . There  were ups and downs and I hope Emma Carroll writes more books!"

Elsa Waterhouse, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"One of the best books I have read for a while. It really transported you to darkling wood. At times it was very sad but also happy .Its a really interesting with all the twists and turns . I was so pleased to find out that Theo survived but I was sad that Alfred never got found. It really made my heart stop at some parts of the book .Whenever I read it I never wanted to stop reading, I just wanted to find out more . I would definitely recommend it to others."

Flora Raichura, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"I haven't finished the book yet but  from what I've read it is amazing, mystical, sad and gripping story that anyone will probably love. The cover didn't look amazing but never judge a book by it's cover. I have only read one other book by Emma Carroll but I think she is a really good author. "

Georgia Kenyon, Packwood Haugh School, Nr Shrewsbury


"I thought this book was amazing and I liked the way it's written. Just from the front cover I could tell straight away I would like it. I also think that it is quite sad and mysterious!"

Lucy Jones, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"In Darkling Wood , what a great book ,one of the best books I have ever read in my life. It has joyful and sorrowful moments that really make you feel like your right next to Alice .Emma Carroll is a great author !"

Nancy Foxall, Greenfields Primary School, Shrewsbury


"I really enjoyed this book which surprised me as I did not find the front cover very attracting. The writer took on a tough challenge as writing unbelievable things can sometimes get out of hand(Or it does with me anyway)and the author made it seem possible that there really was a Darkling Wood and that there really was fairies out there. "

Huw Watson, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I love this book so far it's fun and exciting. At the moment im on page 101 and it is amazing. If you havent read it then you need to so im not going to spoil any of the book for you!"

Ruby Keeling, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"A great book. I think that its very sad about Alice's brother. A bit creepy at times but it is the most gripping book I have read for a while. I like the part where the girl hears crying from all the rooms  in the house!"

Liam Whitehead, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I don't like the book because at the start it goes in to somebody had died and then Alice's  brother goes to the hospital to have an operation for a new heart,   but as the journey goes on I start to like it a bit more. I would recommend this book to people who like interesting books. I would give the book 4 out of 10. I cant wait to read the rest of it to see what happens next..."

Kiera Brookes, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury


"I read In Darkling Wood. It is an eye popping adventure! I felt like the story came to life. My favourite part was when the girl goes into Darkling Wood for the first time. As the story goes on it gets more exciting. I would recommend this book to fairy lovers. It is so descriptive and magical."

Sophie Slim, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury


"Gripping, a magical book of mystery with spooks and scares behind every tree. Creative in every way yet dilemmas pop up on the journey. I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a bit of enchantment!"

Maggie Clarke, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"WOW! I loved this book because it is incredibly moving and you really feel what the characters are feeling. You also get brilliant pictures in your head. It is quite confusing when it switches from time to time. I find through the book it gets better and better, my favourite character was Nell because you didn't expect to be the way she was."

Elizabeth Nash, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"Personally i like this book,i really hope Theo gets better and Nell does not chop down in darkling wood i would highly recommend it to a 10-12 year old. Although it is not the best book ive read, I did enjoy it."

Dougie Fox, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"In Darkling Wood is a very touching book. It made me look at life in a different way. Just thinking about what Alice had to go through makes me feel like crying. If it wasn't for the magic in the woods Alice wouldn't have discovered hope. By far the best book that I've ever read! I hope to read another Emma Carroll book soon."

Daisy George, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"At the start of January I started reading In Darkling Wood. My favourite character is Alice because she is caring and kind, The saddest part  is when Alice's brother (Theo) gets sent to hospital for an operation.

Would you like to read this book if I was you I know that I would like to read it."

Jasmine Sears, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"This gripping tale is set in the heart of an old forest called Darkling Wood. It really captures you and places you in the moment. It's an enchanting , magical book.Describing the characters, I could picture them in my head. I couldn't put this book down."

Grace Trueman, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"This is Amazing with a capital A. It illustrates loss, friendship and magic. This is not my usual choice of book but it was so good I couldn't put it down. The start really hooked me and I highly recommend it."

Jacob Bennett, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"This book is really mysterious because the are two major subjects happening. This book is all about a girl called Alice and her life. Also, her brother is having a heart transplant! Every time Alice's mum tries to talk to her she thinks it's about Theo (her brother) and when it isn't her heart sinks. I would recommend this book to people who like mythical things such as fairies."

Rhys Blower, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"This book may seem like a girls book but it really isn't. A tale of fairies and illness is what In Darkling Wood is about. I absolutely loved this book! I  would recommend this book to anyone who likes ghosts, fairies and enchanted forests."

Gaia Preece, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"This book has a scary and worrying start,but when you get through it you can't put it down.Although it has a sudden start it has mixed emotions and magical elements and shows bravery and a sort of kindness. I think it a book that is for older children."

Grace Sansom, St Lawrence Primary School, Church Stretton


"Darkling wood is a life depending heart breaking , gripping , mystery book and I really recommend it I won't spoil it but i will tell you it leaves you hang on every chapter (so recommend it ) :)"

Charlotte Edge, Stottesdon Primary School


"this was another great book and really interested me. it was a great adventure book and i would definitely recommend  this book to others of my age."

Evie Davies, Stottesdon Primary School


"I think this book was sad in some places, happy in others. The main character is a girl called Alice, who is quite cheeky at times. It is an exciting book which made me feel that I wanted to read on. I couldn't put this book down!"  

Ella Shorthouse, Castlefields Primary School, Bridgnorth


"This book is a really heart warming tale, I just couldn't put  it down. I would 100% definitely recommend it to anyone, especially those who find it hard to find a book they will really enjoy reading."

Emily Cawthorne, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"In Darkling wood is a fantastic story of hope, sadness and magic. I enjoyed this book but I think it's aimed at girls more than boys. I recommend this book to people who like a sprinkle of magic."

James Williamson, Stottesdon Primary School


"This is an amazing book I had never heard of Emma Carroll before and I may have underestimated her but she is an amazing author the twist in the book is fantastic but really fits in with the story and now I have read to the end  of this book the letters to Alfred in France on the front really fit in with this novel."

Emily McAdam, St George's Junior School, Shrewsbury


"This book was very bittersweet as it has some emotional life problems coupled with messages of hope.  I felt sorry for Alice when she had to go to her Grandmother's but she was very grown up about it.  I loved the story and would recommend it to my age-group and possibly older children too."

Charlotte Upton, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Shrewsbury