Wormwood by Chad Lutzke and Tim Meyer
I was first drawn to reading Wormwood by Chad Lutzke and Tim Meyer when I saw the limited edition cover in the Night Worms Haunted Harvest box, made specifically for Night Worms readers by Thunderstorm Books. I knew I had to have it. I ordered one of the extra copies they had on the website, and read it in two sittings. I could not put it down. Now to my delight, Silver Shamrock Publishing has released their own edition, with a brand new cover and inside illustrations. Silver Shamrock’s edition will be out December 16th, 2020 on Kindle and Print. Available for preorder now.
For some kids, Long Lake, Georgia is home. But for fourteen-year-old Baker Gray, it’s just another stop, another town in another state. Because of his mother’s nomadic lifestyle, he’s never had a best friend, never kissed a girl, and he’s certainly never met anyone like Cassandra Larsson—the enigmatic, older girl whose idea of fun blurs the line between right and wrong.
Being hopelessly led by emotions he’s never felt, Baker finds himself plodding along dark paths paved by the girl he thinks he may love—a road to self-destruction, where vigilante justice is encouraged and bloodshed is an art form.
Wow I was super into Wormwood! This ended up being one of my top ten books of the year. Each chapter was titled with a countdown, so I knew there was a going to be something serious that went down on the final day. This was a book that was filled with dread. Each chapter I finished left me feeling more on edge for the main character, Baker. Baker is a character that many people can sympathize with, regardless of gender. We have all been that insecure teenager, not really knowing where we fit in, just waiting for someone to reach out and bring you close to them. When we are adolescents, all we want is to be included, to belong. But what if the person who brings you in, is also slowly leading you to your downfall? Seb, another boy in Baker’s class, offers a hand after he witnesses Baker (the new kid) being bullied. At first there is some relief for Baker. Seb seems like he could be an accepting friend. Easy going and open. Next he meets older, and beautiful Cass, who is hanging out with Seb’s older sister. This is where the trouble begins, as Cass is herself a lost soul, although dangerous and manipulative.
The reason this story worked so well, is that it is made up of a series of events you could see happening, and that you can relate to on many levels. Though the horror is extreme, and definitely next level, it’s a real life, coming-of-age story. There’s bullying, acceptance, and redemption. I also found it interesting to read a book that is written by two authors. I have not read any work by either Lutzke or Meyer before, so I will be definitely picking up more titles by them. In the introduction, Sadie Hartmann aka Mother Horror, describes Meyer’s sharp writing and Lutzke’s emotional horror. You can see why the two wrote such a great combination of a novel together. The story is honest and raw, but also hopeful. But don’t forget, this is a horror novel, so prepare to be gutted.
I really could go on about this novel, but I don’t want to give much more away. This is a book that belongs on everyone’s shelves. Please enjoy and support indie publishers!
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