Cover Image: Lakewood

Lakewood

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Member Reviews

Great book. Original, thrilling, unique setting and great writing. Look to more from this writer.

I have included a review below.
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This book is unlike anything I have read before. The author thrusts you into a world that isn't much different than ours, feeds you the truths that one could easily take advantage of every day. An amazing novel riddled with constant uncertainty.
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I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. The premise is compelling in which a young woman is given what looks to be the ideal job, but there's a caveat. She can't tell anyone what she's doing.  She's participating in a private research project. Lena is black and what's happening is very unsettling. Its not the first time blacks have been experimented on. The Tuskegee project is a real example.
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I really wanted to love this. The premise is fascinating but the book just didn’t go anywhere interesting to me.  It was just weird.. She talks around race some but just didn’t get to the heart of the matter. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I really could not get into this book at all. The writing bounced too much for me; transitions were weak and the story itself didn’t seem to gain any solid footing. I wanted to like it—the synopsis seemed so inviting—but I just really didn’t.
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If you are looking for an eerie vibe type book , the I HIGHLY recommend Lakewood. throughout this read i was getting Henrietta Lacks/Tuskegee experiment vibes. This book was so good that I read it in one sitting. 5/5 star read, hands down. Thank you, Amistad for this gifted copy.
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With its focus on medical experimentation, Lakewood takes on one of the most harrowing experiences for Blacks in America. Yet Megan Giddings manages to infuse the story with touching moments through Lena, the novel’s protagonist. In this way, Lakewood mirrors Octavia Butler’s Kindred. When  wild things begin happening around her and to her, Lena seems almost powerless to stop them. Like Dana from Kindred, Lena is there to bear witness. Giddings also seems to be thinking about how Black bodies lodge trauma as memory. Thus, Lena cannot escape or outrun the horrors of the past. Some of Lakewood’s more subtle aspects stand out as well. Namely, the question of whether technology brings us closer together or drives us further apart. These are questions Lena asks herself after she begins her “new job” and no one seems to notice the changes she is undergoing since she seems to keep texting her family and friends. Although the tail end of the novel peters out a bit, this is a strong debut from Giddings.
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The story was  thought provoking.  A modern day Tuskegee experiment  where African American men were promised free medical care if they allowed the doctors to test them with unproven drugs in hopes to cure Syphilis  

The dates are different but the need for the disadvantaged to provide the basic necessities for their families is the same.  Lack of  these necessities such as money, limited access to healthcare has caused each of the characters of Lakewood to become human lab rats.  


I will say that I'm hoping that the ending is cliff hanger because  it left a lot of unanswered  questions.

I will however purchase this book and recommend it to my Hugh school students
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3 for neutral, unfortunately this was not the book for me.  I do think it is an important subject, but wasn’t able to get into it and enjoy enough to finish.  Will update, if able to get into this book and enjoy!
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I couldn't get into this and ended up skimming most of the last half.  The writing style just wasn't for me--but I may just also have not been in the right headspace for this book as I've had trouble concentrating on reading just about anything that isn't either super fast-paced or incredibly light and fluffy, so I would encourage you to give this a try if it sounds interesting!  I was definitely curious to find out just what the study was actually about, but the getting there was slower-paced and less thrilling than I had hoped for.
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I was disappointed by this. I was expecting a sharper depiction of the medical evils perpetrated on people based on their race or class (because that is what the blurb promised), but I found that part of the book to be very timid. It also didn’t work for me as a medical thriller because it lacked suspense. I’m not sure that I’d read anything else by this author. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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It's not often that a novel can successfully tackle a bunch of serious societal issues in one book. But Megan Giddings' novel, "Lakewood" does just that. I've seen it touted as a take on the movie "Get Out," which is pretty accurate considering the story touches on themes of racism, class warfare, and some serious mind control at play against young African Americans. Throw in a sobering look at our crumbling healthcare system and a drive to protect family, and you have a pageturner with some real substance.

This is definitely one of those stories that I think could be ruined by knowing too much of the plot ahead of time. But I'll just say it centers around millennial Lena, an African American woman in her 20s who finds herself in dire financial straits after her loving grandmother passes and her mother continues to have a laundry list of medical issues that plague and disable her. When Lena is invited to do some sort of medical study that she'll be well-compensated for, she decides to move to a nearby small town of Lakewood to participate and earn enough money to care for her mother. What follows is the best kind of horror story: subtly terrifying and downright creepy. 

Although it's easy to feel frustrated by Lena's actions (she has very little respect for her own physical and mental health), it's also easy to understand where she's coming from. Most people in the US have been faced with insurmountable medical bills (for either themselves or their family members) and the stress and anxiety that can go along with needing appropriate medical care can drive people to do insane things.

Giddings' writing style also completely won me over - it's haunting yet there are still moments of dry humor that made some of the scarier elements of the novel still feel enticing. I absolutely loved the ending and am impressed by Giddings' ability to create an honestly horrifying look at the lengths some will go to in order to 'study' and control others. This is going in the must-recommend pile for sure!
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After reading this book, I had to sit there and process what I had read. I enjoy this. This book remind me of Limetown which is Facebook tv show. I like how this was told and wish it was a little more longer. Overall. Like it
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This book is horrifying, bizarre, and frightening.  The way it is written makes even the most implausible happenings seem like they could be true.  There have been documented cases in the past of studies like this where people were used as human guinea pigs.  Surely that couldn't happen now.  Could it?!

Thought-provoking and realistic, this is a book that will stick with the reader for a long time.
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I really, really, really wanted to like this book a lot more than I do, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. 

The story centers around a young black woman named Lena Johnson. She's attending college when her grandmother dies from cancer and comes back home for the funeral. Her mother, Deziree, is sick with what appears to be an invisible illness that doctors can't seem to pinpoint. So, Lena takes the reins by dropping out of school to care for her mother and handle the mountain of medical bills. I really admired Lena's drive to provide for her family and could definitely relate somewhat to her situation as a single parent. 

In her search for a job, Lena is invited to participate in a research study that will require her to move to the backwoods town of Lakewood, Michigan. Not only will she get paid lots of money to participate, but she will also receive free health insurance for her family which is great for her mom. She will have to sign an ironclad NDA and move to Lakewood in order to participate, but she's getting paid lots of money to be in it, so all seems ok. In fact, it even got me to thinking about whether or not I would take a job like this because it honestly sounds too good to be true, right?! 

The weirdness of the novel begins after Lena moves to Lakewood (all expenses paid, of course). She has an alias job that she is allowed to tell her family and friends about (working for a faux shipping company) but she can't talk to anyone outside of the study about what's really going on. In fact, it seems kind of dangerous to discuss the study with other people participating in it as well. Lena and the participants are all minorities and those conducting the study are all white. Lena is a smart woman and figures out that the study might be more dangerous than what she signed up for. It definitely made me think about other crazy research studies that have been done on black people such as the Tuskegee syphilis study. 

I felt like the prose rambled at times and it took away from the plot. I feel like the book would have benefited more if the story were told from different points of view. Like, perhaps starting with the grandmother, the mother (Deziree), and then Lena. Now, that would have been interesting.

Also, (and maybe this was done purposely) but I still have so many questions after reading it. Not that books are supposed to answer all of your questions (because that would be insane thing for an author to do), but I really felt like more of an overall explanation was needed in regards to what exactly the research study was that the Lena participates in. We just see the doctor and observers asking the participants to do things and no one says why. Of course, I could tell that it had to do something with race, but exactly what? Or maybe this unanswered question looming large in my head was the whole purpose of the book? Perhaps this was Giddings intention along for readers....that they wonder about the study much like the people participating in it might have done.
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This was really interesting and makes you wonder what you would do for enough money to solve your problems and how much you wouldn't take into consideration what you would have to do to get that money.

There were many times that I didn't like the writing or Lena.  Like when every person she came into contact with was described as white or when she went on a little racially motivated rant, but I guess I can see how it was important to remind the reader that she was African American, to get the point of the studies against black people across. Thoughz I honestly don't think I would have forgotten that about her because the character becomes real and alive in my mind while I'm reading. But, aside from the constant reminders, there were also times that I did love Lena and feel for her and what she was going through, just to help her mom. 

This was a great book that will definitely get you thinking and wondering what you would do, if presented with a similar situation. Do you trust the government and monetary offer or your initial instincts?
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Debut book by Megan Giddings that kept me reading until I finished. This is NOT a multi-day book. Megan tells the story of Lena whose mother has medical issues and whose grandma has just died. It's now up to her to pay the bills and help out so she leaves college to go to Lakewood where she will be in a study. The entire program is a secret and each day she's given information about her pretend day at an office job to share in case her friends or family ask how work was.

The book deals a lot with race- with the microaggressions present in daily life as well as the bigger society issues and I enjoyed how it was not only fast paced, but made you think.

I'm not sure I'd enjoy this as a movie... My imagination is bad enough and some of the scenes were horrible (in a good way).
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Lakewood starts off with a great premise. Lena is in dire straits and the only way out is a medical trial. Immediately, their cloak-and-dagger methods put the reader on edge, and the horror builds from there. The scene with Bethany's teeth was one of the best horror scenes I've ever read. But then the story fizzles out. I was not expecting a resolution or a happy ending, but it felt like the story was building to some sort of revelation for Lena. That revelation never arrives.
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I was invited to read this title. Interesting description. However I didn't connect with the story or characters.
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Lakewood is a good for what it is, a medical thriller and being that this is the author’s debut novel…IMO, it was satisfactory.

I wouldn’t put Lakewood in the realm of scary but there were some intense weird moments throughout the read especially as our main protagonists Lena Johnson starts working for the mysterious organization The Great Lakes Shipping Company. Lena, an already struggling college student is forced to take care of her desperately ill mother after the death of the family’s patriarch. Needing the money that is being offered, she decides being a part of a secret research facility is worth it…until it isn’t.  

With a nice amount of mentions of race, social class, and financial disparity… Lakewood gives the reader a glimpse in what happens when the most vulnerable populations are conned and taken advantage of. The story itself sort of gives you that “Get Out” feel. There were at times, the story felt a bit discombobulated as we quickly switch getting the story directly from Lena to where we are being told the story in the form of Lena telling the reader the story in letter form. Letters she is writing to her friend Tanya.

Lakewood at the end of the day delivered exactly what it was meant to me: a medical horror thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat while giving its reader a “realness” that is draped in reality.
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