Wax by Gina Damico
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gina Damico is a go-to source of kooky YA horror-comedy fun, and her latest, Wax, is no exception.
While the book does suffer from a long and muddled beginning (particularly in terms of protagonist Poppy's backstory, which feels a little more convoluted than it should be), Damico gamely delivers on atmosphere to keep the reader interested. Naturally, said atmosphere is poisoned by the stench of overly scented candles, this book being set in a small Vermont town famous for the production of scented candles.
But when the story threads start to unravel, with that candle factory at the center of it all, that's when the story really starts to shine. Even more so than any of Damico's previous works, Wax proves incredibly original in its thrills and chills, because I'm pretty sure the closest I ever saw to a story with living wax people was a classic Scooby-Doo episode, and of course the monsters there are always bad guys in masks. Not so in the waxily-named town of Paraffin, Vermont.
Also, I have to say, I thought the story thread of Poppy and the wax boy known as Dud was pretty adorable. It made me think of a genderswapped Weird Science - a girl at the center of the adventure, and an artificially alive boy. (And hey, the slow process of teaching Dud to act like a human? Surprisingly sweet.)
One more thing, though - don't read the dust jacket before starting this book. Go into it blindly. That's my recommendation.
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