I am trying to remember the name of a book I read in middle school, around 2001/2002.
I don't remember too many details but it is fantasy. It is about a young girl who lives with her stepmother in a walled society. The walls are said to be there to protect the inhabitants of the town from the dangerous wildlife that lives in the forest that surrounds the town.
It is believed that the girl's father was killed by a bear (or similar creature) outside the walls. The girl eventually sneaks outside of the walls and discovers that the wildlife is not as dangerous as she was led to believe and that her father is not dead.
She travels through the the forest and ends up finding her father and maybe her brother and discovers a lot about the corrupt society that is tricking the people to keep them contained.
In the end the girl escapes across a lake or river or other body of water in a boat.
If anyone knows the author or title, I would appreciate the help. Thank you!