In this debut novel, Lena Johnson travels to the mysterious and remote town of Lakewood, Michigan, for a surprisingly high-paying job she hopes will help her support her family. All she has to do is participate in a secret medical research program—and lie to her friends and family about the research being done in Lakewood.
Giddings takes the distrust of her community and amplifies it, creating something wholly new and modern ... Giddings maintains a tight hold on us for much of the book. Her plainspoken yet detailed prose draws us close to Lena, allowing us to get to know Lena’s independent spirit and sharp observations ... Prose like this keeps us tightly wound, hanging on Gidding’s every word and Lena’s every move. We feel a paranoia unique to the digital age, censored searches and blocked websites, constantly being heard and watched. And eventually, when things spiral out of control and Giddings lets us go, we’re left reeling. Dizzy. We pick up some pieces but not all of them.
A first-time novelist offers medical horror with a political edge ... In terms of style and storytelling, Giddings doesn’t always succeed, but there’s no denying the potency of her message. This is a thought-provoking debut, and Giddings is a young writer to watch.