[REVIEW] Rootwork, by Tracy Cross

The ebook cover of Rootwork held above a tender new spring garden. The cover depicts a young black girl with soft lush hair, smiling enigmatically at the reader.

(Get more information about this book here.)

(Full disclosure: Tracy and I were in the same master class at Under The Volcano this January, and she graciously sent me an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review.)

Something about Rootwork feels like it’s from another era. While I was reading, tendrils of the story dug their way into my brain and wrapped themselves around totally unrelated thoughts, creating some pretty weird comparisons.

It’s like if Mildred D Taylor’s classic Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was a supernatural horror.

It reminds me of the far-out fests that @scott.reads.books is always reviewing.

It’s like if Lovecraft Country was about pre-teen girls.

All comparisons aside, this is a story of three sisters – PeeWee, Ann and Betty – in segregated Louisiana. A few summer days spent in the woods with their hoodoo-practicing aunt Teddy turn into revelation, tragedy, and bloody revenge, and the girls’ lives lead in very different directions when all is said and done. This is a coming-of-age story with some heavy horror elements, written in a style you don’t often see now. It’s reminiscent of 70s and 80s YA– lots of long character studies, a little messy around the edges, with genuinely creepy elements that pop up seemingly out of nowhere and change everything.

Horror and revenge tales are emphatically not my thing, but for someone who isn’t a yellow-bellied chicken with a joy fetish, I could see this being a good read.

I don’t give star ratings to books by folk I’ve met, but I will give some gardening tools and a very special book sleeve(once you’ve read it, you’ll get the reference) to Rootwork. Thanks again to Tracey Cross for the book.

(Fellow readers! Thanks for reading this! As always, I have to tell you that this blog has an affiliate relationship with Bookshop. Although Rootwork isn’t available on the site yet, feel free to check out the site if you want to help keep the lights on and the words flowing around here. Peace!)

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