Author: R.S. Anthony
High school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.
Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.
He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable.
Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?
This story will tug at your heartstrings as the characters experience friendship, abuse, mistrust, and deliverance.
Pork is an eerie thriller that is both entertaining and terrifying. The sharp writing helped to intensify the story well, and even though the beginning was a bit slow I couldn’t help but yearn to finish this book. The reader quickly becomes engrossed with Steven, and it is hard not to fall into his position and imagine his experiences for yourself.
R.S. Anthony writes with the voice of an observer; a writer who deeply understands the human experience and what teenagers and children go through. She is able to understand how children are affected by their parents’ actions, and that is a factor that deeply affected Steven throughout the novel. Anthony seemed to insinuate that by running away from his problems every day, Steven fell into a nightmare that the woods created for him. She encapsulated the rebellious teenage experience while also touching on the subject of bullying, and forced Steven to evolve throughout the novel due to the experiences that he suffered through.
P0rk is a great introductory novel into the thriller/horror genre, and would be a great novel for young adult readers to start with. Steven is highly relatable, and the novel is tame enough that timid readers won’t be bothered. This novel is so much more than just a work of horror, it is also a brilliant take on teenagehood and how humans evolve during this time. Steven seems to get his wings in this novel, and it was delightful to watch him change as he progresses into early adulthood.
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