Top positive review
Heartbreaking and hits far too close to home.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 11, 2021
Wormwood is a deeply engrossing coming of age tale that follows the lives of three high school friends. Baker, being the awkward new kid, Seb, his new friend at the local school and the third, Cassie. Cassie is two years older, a free spirit, morbidly and disturbingly so, and becomes the leader of their trio. The boys are fourteen, quickly becoming close friends and are just as enthralled by Cassie as she is by them. They begin hanging out together every chance they get. In spite of the good feelings Baker has over having made new friends, he can’t shake the feeling that something is very wrong, something about Cassie just doesn’t feel like it should.
Cassie's behavior quickly becomes more erratic and bizarre, with each incident disturbing Baker just a little bit more. She steals a pig cadaver from the school and has them take turns cutting it open and pulling out the insides. After Baker gets into a fight with the school bully, Cassie convinces the bully to meet her in the woods where she ties him up, strips him and offers him up to Baker so can get his revenge. This entire scene becomes more disturbing the longer it goes on for Baker and the reader. Days later, Cassie convinces them to break into an empty house on Wormwood Ave which they begin using as their clubhouse.
The young boys are enthralled by the older girl, and both begin to have feelings for her, which they are trying to hide from her and from each other. Cassie begins to play the boys off one another using those feelings to keep the teens doing her bidding. As the situation unfolds, Baker soon finds himself in the middle of a situation that he can no longer control. Wormwood is a suburban nightmare for any teen or parent of one. This is as realistic as it gets, as simple as it can be and as deadly as any outcome that you can imagine. Five stars for a story that had me holding my breath until the final pages were turned.