Review: The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

This book is certainly not like anything else I’ve read in 2020, and while it’s not for everyone, The Loop was definitely for me.

What it’s about

From the Goodreads description:

In this heart-racing conspiracy thriller as a lonely young woman teams up with a group of fellow outcasts to survive the night in a town overcome by a science experiment gone wrong.

Turner Falls is a small tourist town nestled in the hills of western Oregon, the kind of town you escape to for a vacation. When an inexplicable outbreak rapidly develops, this idyllic town becomes the epicenter of an epidemic of violence as the teenaged children of several executives from the local biotech firm become ill and aggressively murderous. Suddenly the town is on edge, and Lucy and her friends must do everything it takes just to fight through the night.

The description doesn’t give a content warning, but be advised that this book is gory, gross, and upsetting, and it has a fair amount of racial slurs slung around by various deplorable characters, as well as some always-icky animal abuse. This is a sci-fi/apocalyptic/horror novel, make no mistake.

My thoughts

This book is described as a cross between World War Z and Stranger Things, and I can maybe see that, but The Loop is way darker and completely lacking in the cutesy nostalgia of Stranger Things. I hope no one comes to this book based on that comparison, as I would guess they’d be disappointed.

The writing is great: fast-paced and very, very descriptive. I mean, omg the body horror is so descriptive. Main character Lucy is fantastic—she’s an outsider in the small town of Turner Falls, Oregon. Adopted by good people that she can’t seem to connect with after a terrible childhood in Peru, taunted or ignored by the richer, ‘cooler,’ white kids in her high school, Lucy spends her time with her best friend Bucket, another marginalized brown kid. When things start to go sideways one night at a high school party, Lucy is faced with unimaginable situations and proves to be extremely bad-ass.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for anyone, but I will say that I love the way the science-fiction (I hope?!) and horror elements come together in this story. The weirdo conspiracy podcast transcripts are perfect additions. The story is engrossing and high energy, and I was never once bored. The characters are mainly high schoolers, but I would not call this YA. And the ending is just amazing—I had goosebumps.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and sci-fi that aren’t turned off by the uncomfortable (there is lots of that).

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy in exchange for this honest review.

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