Genre: Horror/Thriller (it was for me at least)

Age: 18+

Recommendation: Yes, this one is a good mix between disturbing and thrilling. With heavy themes, this book is pretty cringe worthy.

Type: Stand-alone

Summary: +interesting plot +/-disturbing themes +descriptive -rushed ending +unpredictable +well built main (Steven).

Description:

“Ready?” Sandy asked.

Steven’s heart hammered in his chest. He turned to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, a solemn look on his face. “Look, if something gets me in there, I want you to run and save yourself. Don’t tell anyone. If you don’t see me at school tomorrow, then you should alert people in town, okay?”

“Steven, you’re making me scared.”

“Just do as I say. Promise?”

Sandy’s own palms started sweating as she tightened her grip around her inhaler. “Promise.”

“Good. Now let’s go.”

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.

Full Review:

Pork by R.S. Anthony is one of those books that leaves you feeling unsettled. It isn’t because it isn’t well written, because it most certainly is, it’s because the implications that the events in this book create are almost too much to stomach.

Steven is a lonely, emotionally disturbed teenager who can find no solace outside of a hidden tree house in the woods. With an alcoholic and sexually promiscuous mother and no father or friends, Steven is bullied daily and only desires to be left alone. One day after another one of his mother’s vodka induced physical assaults, Steven returns to his hidden paradise and finds a small girl lying next to the opening of woods. Half- dressed and filthy, Steven begins to care for the girl who calls herself Pork.

With a terrible home life as well, Pork is Steven’s first real friend. He takes extra care daily to help keep her safe and maintain his own home life. But when the unthinkable happens and his own safe place is threatened, Steven is forced to deal with all the unpleasant things in his life: his mother, the prying eyes of his school and the new territory that having a best friend with her own demons causes.

This book made me cringe. Anthony did a very good job of keeping me involved and her writing style fits this genre well. The main character Steven, is complex and disturbed. Touching on some very heavy topics like alcoholism, child sexual abuse, prostitution, bullying and violence, this book is for adults only. I can’t talk about the plot and the ending very much without spoilers, but I will say while is was both intriguing and uncomfortable,it felt a bit rushed. The way that everything is lined up makes for a really good reveal but it felt like it was wrapped up a bit too quickly.  I didn’t expect the final events, although I had a small suspicion.

This book makes for an entertaining read, just prepare yourself to have a few WTF moments while enjoying the experience this novel brings.

On Goodreads: Pork

On Amazon: Pork

Disclaimer: I obtained a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. Thank you very much R.S. Anthony for introducing me to Steven.