Reviews for Lakewood, by Megan Giddings

rina-p's review
Go to review page

4.0

This book felt like an episode of Black Mirror - it was chilling, creepy, and scary especially because it was believable enough. I recently read [b:When No One is Watching|49398072|When No One is Watching|Alyssa Cole|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1585146341l/49398072._SY75_.jpg|73236183], and it had a similar plausible-thriller vibe (and it also happened that both books touched on racism and discrimination).

I listened to the audiobook and as I listened to Lena's experience, I kept wondering whether what she saw and heard were actually real, or whether she was more impacted by the drugs than what she thought. But at the end of it, I realised that this was the point of the story; to the experiment subjects, whether what they experienced was real didn't matter as much as the perception they had as they went through it.

The book was full of symbolisms, many of which I'm sure I missed. I saw a lot of good analysis and reviews out there of the book's hidden messages so I'm not going to attempt to write an essay about the moral of the story.

It was a great book. I hope it would be turned into a movie or mini-series, because I can imagine it being a good material for something similar to the Haunting of Bly Manor.

typedtruths's review
Go to review page

challenging dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

2.5


Expand filter menu Collapse filter menu Content Warnings

Graphic: Blood, Body horror, Vomit, Racism, Medical trauma, and Medical content

Moderate: Chronic illness, Death, Domestic abuse, Drug use, Grief, and Gore

tessa's review
Go to review page

dark emotional mysterious reflective sad fast-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters centre-stage? Yes

2.0

Great premise, glad to have a Black female lead hit mainstream booklists, but the writing left a bit to be desired for me. 

HelLo's review
Go to review page

challenging dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters centre-stage? Yes

4.0

GaysAndMurder's review
Go to review page

3.0

3.0 stars - I liked a lot of the different elements in it but I don't think they came together well.

I liked that this talked about illness. I liked that this had genuinely scary, unsettling moments and I liked that there were times where you couldn't tell if what was happening was real or not. However, this felt repetitive and drawn out for such a short book.

femmenova's review
Go to review page

4.0

It's been awhile since I have had nightmares from reading a book, and this book was it! My imagination was all over the place as I tried to frantically read through what was going to happen to Lena. I gave it a 4 star because I felt like the ending was too rushed. I wanted to learn more about the aftermath of the experimentation - how it affected the family. It felt very.. telling, not showing. I wish the author would go into more details in part two because from part two onwards, the pacing felt so haphazard. But perhaps, it was intended to mimic the turmoil and anxiety that Lena was facing. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

basicallyhades's review
Go to review page

3.0

Brilliant themes, repetitive plot.

Lakewood follows a young Black woman who becomes overwhelmed with the responsibility to make ends meet for her and her chronically ill mother. She tries to look for a job for over the summer with little success, until a letter comes in the post offering her a place at Lakewood in experimental trials for large sums of money.

The scariest thing about this story is that it's really not detached from reality, similar things have happened repeatedly throughout history where Black people have been used in unethical human experiments. This book did a really good job at showing how Black people are constantly on a loop of being exploited.

As a white person I obviously cannot begin to fully comprehend the Black experience. I've read non-fiction books by Black authors in an attempt to educate myself, but I think this is the first time where I've seen it translated into fiction, and so well.

What really let this book down for me personally though was the experiment side of the story. I started off so intrigued but it got really repetitive as a formula quickly which is surprising as this is quite a short book.

I'd also like to add that I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Adenrele Ojo and I thought she was a superb narrator.

Librarypatronus's review
Go to review page

4.0

Very creepy, and such realistic medical horror. If body horror gets you, be careful reading this one - I'm so horrified by tooth related body horror and I was cringing and holding my own mouth in parts because I was so freaked out. I almost wish it was a little longer, I thought the end was good but a little abrupt.

A is for Artist 's review
Go to review page

challenging mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters centre-stage? Yes

3.0

nordstina's review
Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced

3.25

Definite creepy vibes with this book, for those who enjoy suspense. For those interested in medical ethics and the moral dilemmas individuals encounter this one is for you. 

Lena Johnson lives in Michigan and attends college. When her grandmother she was incredibly close to passes away, she realizes the dire financial straights her family are in. The availability of jobs is small and the ones that are available are not enough to cover the bills. Lena finds out about a company that does medical research and she moves to the small town of Lakewood to participate in their studies. They give broad statements on how it will help the population, but of course, are very vague and make Lena sign a NDA. She is compensated handsomely for her work, but the types of experiments are getting weirder and more serious. This obviously raises alarm bells and harkens back to the Tuskegee experiments. Lena and virtually all of her fellow participants are black, while all the "observers" are white. Definitely would be good for a book club to parse about the broader themes and implications of this work.

Close

The StoryGraph has a mobile app! 🎉

Find out more