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'Wormwood' is a disturbing, unsettling coming-of-age story

Monster stories can be fun and a ghost story can be spooky but true horror is the darkness that could only exist in reality. It could happen where you live and that makes it infinitely more disturbing than a mythical monster or an unstoppable killer (although I love those type of stories, too).

“Wormwood” tells the story of three teens, Baker, Seb and their older friend, Cass. What begins as an innocent friendship quickly becomes something else. It’s a coming-of-age story that turns dark.


As the two boys become more obsessed with Cass, both developing crushes on the girl, things begin to turn from video games to darker activities. It’s a tale of manipulation, juvenile longing and control. It reads like it could happen in any middle-class suburb.


The writing is fantastic and the story is fabulous. Each chapter is a countdown to the culmination of the story. It almost makes you feel uncomfortable as you read because, although you don’t know what will happen when it gets to the end, you know it’s going to be bad. I found myself cringing because of how it came off at some points.


The characters come off as real, too. Baker is an awkward loner who quickly changes as he has friends for the first time and Seb comes off as a classic follower who will do anything to impress the girl he thinks he loves. Cass is a troubled girl who knows the power she can have over the boys. It works well.


I could not put this book down and when I finished it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s still on my mind, replaying different parts of the story in my mind, even though I finished reading it. This is a story that will get under your skin and I can’t recommend it more.


Wormwood


Chad Lutzke and Tim Meyer Silver Shamrock Publishing (2020) 165 pages Buy it here

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