- Megan Bingham
Poppy Palladino is a 17-year-old aspiring actress. As the head of her high school's theatrical, Poppy is ambitious and serious about her future. So ambitious she takes on challenge of a talent show to show off her skills. But tragedy strikes Poppy's perfect life when she falls on stage and splits her head open. It wouldn't have been too embarrassing if it wasn't on national television.
Poppy is the new joke in her little hometown of Paraffin, Vermont. She is subjected to bullying by her peers, especially Blake Bursaw, who can't seem to stop picking on her. Paraffin's residents are almost as bad as the consistent smell over the town, thanks to the Groscholtz Candle Factory, with its overwhelming stench of thousands of scented candles. One day, Poppy finds herself rushing to the dreaded factory after Blake plays a nasty prank with an identical wax figure of herself. How did he get a wax figure from the factory? Could he have stolen it? And why does it look so much like her?
During her investigation, Poppy discovers a dark and disturbing secret of the Groscholtz Factory—a basement room filled with wax figures, crafted by a strange old lady who seems to live with them. An old lady who can't stop staring at Poppy and speaks with a thick French accent. Realizing this was not the situation she wants to be in, Poppy hightails it home only to discover that one of the mysterious life-sized wax figures crept into the trunk of her car. . .and it's breathing. And moving. And talking.
With the help of her new wax friend (who answers to "Dud"), Poppy tries to figure out what's going on up at the Groscholtz Factory, and it's obviously something that the owners of the company want to keep hidden. Things in her idyllic hometown of Paraffin are not what they seem...
Gina Damico's new novel Wax is hilarious and creepy. Poppy's narration is fun to follow, which makes you want to find out more about what's going on around her. Wax also brings up a serious subject in many teen lives today—bullying. Poppy is bullied by not only Blake, but by many others in her high school as well. Even the adults participate in the cruelty, which showcases their immaturity. Although Damico creates a funny backbone for the entire joke on Poppy, in reality she's trying to display how bullying affects teenagers. Other than her best friend Jill, Dud seems to be the only one who doesn't make fun of her for the incident (partially due to being a wax figure, of course) and Poppy finds solace in that.
She also finds it challenging when trying to explain to others that danger is lurking nearby. Will someone believe her and Dud about the bubbling evil of the Groscholtz Factory, or will she continue to be the laughing stock of the town until it's too late?