For 14-year old Baker Gray, Long Lake, Georgia is another place he can’t call home. His mother’s nomadic lifestyle makes it impossible for him to make friends, let alone meet girls. But then he meets Seb and the older, beautiful Cassandra Larsson, who captivates him. Baker soon finds himself toeing the line between right and wrong as he’s led down a dark path of destruction and revenge by the girl he’s sure he’s in love with.
Coming of age horror is a new sub-genre for me (I tend towards psychological, Gothic and paranormal horror),but I feel like I got off to the perfect start with Chad Lutzke and Tim Meyer’s Wormwood.
The pacing of the book is fantastic. It’s written in such a way that we really see the escalation of the behaviour and actions of these teens. The chapters are cleverly named as a countdown, so we know with every chapter Baker is spiralling deeper and deeper, and at some point shit is really going to go down. This created a real sense of foreboding and suspense. The authors do such a great job endearing us to Baker, that it fills us with dread to see him led down this dark path by Cassandra.
I really like that there were no one-sided characters. In such a short book, we’re really emotionally invested in these teens, even Cassandra. She’s not just painted as a deviant, manipulative vixen, we really get to know why she is the way she is and the psychological horror fan in me loved this.
I’ve never read anything by Chad Lutzke or Tim Meyer before now, but I’ll definitely be reading more by them both. Together they’ve crafted an amazingly unnerving, emotional, dark tale complete with all the confusion and angst of our teenage years. Wormwood was a definite 5-star read for me.