Cover Image: The Loop

The Loop

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Member Reviews

Wow, what a fun book. This thing was an absolute blast to read. It feels made to be a movie. Very cinematic. I’ve seen a lot of reviews calling this a zombie book, and it just like is objectively not that. I don’t know what people are comparing this to that makes them think of zombies, but don’t go into this expecting that. It has much more of a sci-fi angle to it, and is more about something causing people to lose their minds and become incredible violent. You find out what that is pretty early on into the book, but I still won’t spoil it here because it’s still pretty neat. It doesn’t really break any new ground and got a little repetitive in the last quarter or so, but it was still very fun, absurdly gory (which I loved as a huge horror movie fan), and had a great protagonist whose voice and thoughts I really enjoyed reading. Thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for the ARC.
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Lucy is a high school student on the verge of a much needed summer vacation, which she plans to spend with her best friend, Bucket. But after attending an end-of-the-year party in the caves near the outskirts of Turner Falls, it is clear the summer will be anything but relaxing. Suddenly, the “best and brightest” kids of Turner Falls are turning into savage killers, bent on murdering anyone who crosses them: and the whatever has ahold of them is quickly spreading. Lucy and her friends have to figure out what happened to the kids, as well as how to reverse it, before things get any worse.

I had so many hopes for this book and I was let down by all of them. Definitely not the way I wanted to start out 2021.

For starters, this was billed as a “Stranger things x World War Z” crossover, and although I know nothing about the latter, I was a big fan of stranger things. But the only comparison I could see was a foreign entity terrorizing the town (a pretty vague similarity). And while Stranger Things had an excellent plot, lovable characters, and lots of suspense, this book had none of the above.

By the end, what little plot was built up was absolutely pointless. The characters are all pretty annoying, there is a completely unnecessary amount of gore, and the details of the outbreak only get more and more bizarre. I feel like the author was going for shock value with every aspect of his writing, from the risqué comments made by all of the characters, to the absolutely over the top violence, and everything in between. 

Which leads me to my next point: this is not a YA book. I’m over 20 years old and I can’t imagine someone the same age as these characters (middle of high school) or younger reading it. I didn’t even want to read it. The only two themes seemed to be sex and violence.

I also want to point out that the author of this book, I am fairly certain, is white, and the main character of the book, Lucy, is Mexican. She experiences lots of racism and slurs used against her throughout the story. I am in no way qualified to speak on the accuracy of her representation, but if any of my POC friends have read this, please let me know your thoughts!

The only reason this gets 2 stars is because, for some odd reason, I was compelled to keep reading through each horrible turn. Maybe it was grim determination, or a hope that somehow things would get better. Either way, the ending was seen worse than the beginning, and I was left disappointed. 

Rating: 2/5
Content warnings: LOTS of violence, mentions of sexual assault, suicide, death of family members
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This was an amazing novel. Highly recommended for fans of the genre. Will be recommending the book for purchase.
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I was initially drawn to this book because it's set in my hometown. What a weird ride it was. The story starts slow, lots of character building and pretty tame, but then just lets loose toward the end. It was wild, fun but very, very graphic, which I don't normally read. I had this weird experience reading it because I could perfectly picture all of the locations mentioned in the book from growing up there. Also it was fun catching slightly off references and familiar landmarks and roads- who even remembers Beef n' Brew? Thanks Jeremy Robert Johnson for this fun, gruesome read that made me see this little town in an entirely different way.
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So this is basically one of those 90s splatterpunk teen horror movies, complete with lots of unnecessary and random lines about sex and porn. I don't understand why it had to be so weirdly crass? Took me completely out of the narrative. These teens also didn't feel believable to me as teens at all, but I've seen reviewers who have felt just the opposite, so I guess it depends on what circles you ran in as a teen.

Anyway, the book starts off with a bang, slows down a bit, and then picks up the pace and it's nonstop action and a lot of really, really gory violence. Seriously, strong stomachs needed here! A lot of it did feel like it was inserted for shock, but I suppose the point of a story like this is to shock, so it was fine. It's very nihilistic and bleak but I also really love stories about science gone wrong, and hey, now I know that octopuses are really goddamn fucking weird and I'd love to read a book about cephalopods now, thanks!

Overall I didn't love the characters or the narrative voice or a lot of the choices being made, but it was a fun, quick ride with an ending that was...courageous, shall we say, so I'm being generous with my rating.
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The blurb on the book said The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson was across between Stranger Things and World War Z. That alone was enough for me to request a review copy.

But as I read the book, I realized that wasn't even close to describing the story. 

The Loop takes place in the fictional town of Turner Falls, Oregon. Originally a tourist town on the river, a recent influx of tech business has changed the town's focus.

Lucy is a Peruvian teen adopted as a child by a loving middle-class couple in town. Her best friend, Bucket, immigrated with his family from Pakistan to Turner Falls. 

This doesn't bode well for either of them in a predominately white town that has a clear class and race hierarchy that put them both at the near-bottom of their about-to-graduate class heavy in jocks, cheerleaders, and popular rich kids.

Just when Lucy thinks life couldn't get worse, a couple of murders happen in town and a few in her class are involved.  Then a end-of-school party in nearby caves turns into a slaughter as seemingly-possessed classmates aren't just killing their prey, but torturing and maiming them first.

Something has taken them over and it feeds off the rush of the pain and screams of the victims. An endorphin high is the only thing that will appease the hive-minded entity that has taken over almost everyone at the party. 

Something that isn't alien or demonic, but man-made. 

The story is original, and there's plenty of killing, maiming, and body horror to appease the gorehounds. As a trigger warning, some of the descriptions are very gruesome, and there are nasty animal deaths. 

My main issue with the book is the first quarter of the story is rife with sexually vulgar conversation between the teens, to point it felt very gratuitous, and took away my enjoyment of that part of the story.  Some of it connects to a plot point later in the book, but could've been worded a different way and still made a valid connection. 

However, if you can get past that, the rest of the book is riveting can't-put-down horror story with strong characters in a horrible non-stop fight for their life.
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I have mixed feelings on this book. I liked the beginning of this book and I thought it started out creepy and strong. The chapters with the “info dumps” were hard for me to follow. I’m not sure I fully understood the entire science experiment, and I would have liked to. I did like the twist on the zombie-like things though. Thank you for the ARC!
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If you're a fan of apocalyptic horror, this would be right up your alley! It's about utter devastation of humankind, all in a few hours' time. It made me feel grateful that all I have to live through is a pandemic. The story itself is really good, and I genuinely cared about the characters. I felt obligated to finish the book because I requested it from Netgalley, but I cringed and skimmed when page after page was filled with excessive gore, constant profanity, and really raunchy dialogue. If it were a little tamer (say, Hunger Games style) I would even recommend this to the teens in my life. As it is, though, it's too over the top for me.
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I DNF'd this one at about 65%.  The book started off strong with an interesting premise.  Then at about the halfway mark, it spiraled into a mess.  I had no idea what was going on.  I hated all of the characters.  I skipped to the end and was so glad I didn't invest any more time to end up with that ending.
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This is a awesome book.  It is a great book and will be a nice additions to our collection.  When this book was given to me I was not aware I needed to read and review, I thought it was something I could just read at my leisure.
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I really did not enjoy this novel. It felt more like fan fiction than a published novel. It was clear the author was highly influenced by the Netflix series, Stranger Things, and was attempting to capture elements of that series in this novel without managing to do so in an original way. The author also attempted to elevate the story by incorporating socioeconomic and racial disparities, but this also felt forced and fell flat for me. Cannot recommend.
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"The Loop" takes a familiar premise and definitely tweaks it to go where you wouldn't expect it, too.  I thought the main characters (and the rest of the characters) were well-written and there' are some really interesting things going on dealing with trauma, both in the past and in the present.  I ended up at 3-stars, which probably has more to do with the fact that I've read a lot from this genre lately that have all been pretty bleak.  The author mentions Paul Tremblay in the acknowledgements and I can definitely see how the two authors might appreciate one another.  However, I do think if you're a fan of this genre and the summary sounds interesting, then go for it! You certainly won't be bored and I'm definitely curious to check out more from this author. I’m very grateful that I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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It took me a bit to get into this book. I kept going for the promise of it being as good as others said it was. I did eventually get hooked and and glad I resisted the urge to DNF. I liked the main character, Lucy, and her spirit. She  has a never give up attitude even when thigs got really bad. The worse they got the more she was willing to give and gave. Until the very end she stayed strong. Even after losing more and more she never just said "I give up"
The ending was not what I expected which was a good thing. I hate it when I see the ending come a mile away. But, the ending was not what I hoped for either. Thank you to NG, the author, and publisher for allowing me to read this book. I am giving this read a solid 4 stars
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This was one of the most inventive and teeth-grindingly terrifying horror story I've read in quite sometime! I was absolutely attached to the characters, aching when they hurt and wincing as they caused hurt to others! It was super fun read and I'll be shouting about it from the rooftops!
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Things go downhill pretty quickly in what can accurately be compared to World War Z meets Pines (Blake Crouch) meets Stanger Things. 

Fast past narrative. Plot unravels without much pause and not much time for the characters to catch their breath. Time is of the essence when citizens basically become psychotic and sadistic murderers. 

Think the first third got me hooked. The middle section kind of dragged for me. The ending was just right. I did finish reading the book with some questions. Overall I enjoyed it. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the copy.
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The story, involving viruses and hidden conspiracies in the fictional town of Turner Falls, Oregon, revolves around a group teenagers and their fight for survival as they go up against violent classmates and infected locals.  

There’s some interesting juxtaposition here, particularly with the main main protagonist, Lucy.  As the contamination spreads throughout the small town she has consistent and alarming flashbacks involving her prior experiences as an orphan in Peru.  And that is where an important question comes to mind.  Which is worse: corporate America subjection or the hellish lifestyles of the third world.  As we’re introduced to Lucy’s fellow classmates, we learn about their subliminal feelings as well, and was wondering if there was going to be any disorder or bedlam in Turner Falls.

A cavernous party ensues, and chaos erupts.  Again, things are a little slow at times, but after a dull start, ‘The Loop’ gets its act together as the kids go up against a biotech company.

Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC.
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Loved the idea of this, but had a hard time convincing myself to continue reading this. Willing to try this at a different time. But definitely slower than I expected
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Really exciting action sequences gives The Loop a major edge over other horror novels being written. While I'm not a fan of the writing for the dialogue or the characters, the more intense chapters were absolutely gripping. 

The Loop has a good concept, but its execution started to falter for me when we got to the dialogue. While I'm glad Johnson did decide to add some chapters for character development, the things that they were saying were a little bit forced and cliche. I can guarantee that Young Adult readers would probably appreciate more mature dialogue as well, it just depends how you can blur the line between adult and YA.

A fun and fast read, I was excited to read this from the Goodreads Choice Award nominee list for the horror category.
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Something is happening to the teens in the small town of Turner Falls, OR.  It all starts when three teenaged children of execs from the local Biotech firm IMTECH flip out and become murderously violent.  Our protagonist Lucy, witnesses one of her classmates attacking another student and then their teacher in class.   From there, things spin even further out of control as these violent impulses seem to be contagious.   We follow Lucy as she tries to avoid being hurt and also tries to figure out what is going on and how to stop it. 

This was certainly a thrilling ride and I would classify it as an extreme medical thriller.   We have biotech gone wrong.   While the main characters are teens this could be equally enjoyed by teens or adults.   The book is gory and all that you'd expect in a book where people are overcome with violent impulses.  I liked Lucy as a main character.   She didn't really know what the hell was going on but still push through her situation.
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This book is a whole lot of things rolled into one action packed, alien filled night for a group of people just trying to survive.  I loved that it was described as a mix between World War Z and Stranger things, as I'm a big fan of both, but when reading I didn't really get that vibe.   The story held my interest throughout, but a lot of the dialogue between the characters made me cringe.  It sounded so ridiculous and forced.   Besides that, the story was fast paced and absolutely crazy, so for that I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good alien invasion story.
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