By Amy Reed
Released: July 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Genre: YA Fiction
"Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They’re addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. But they’ll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down."
This book is one of the best teen books I've read in a long while. It takes an unapologetic look at the ugly face of teen drug addiction. The five different characters in the book are addicted to different drugs for different reasons, and all come from different backgrounds. (Except the fact that they are all white, something which is pointed out explicitly in the narrative.)
As mentioned in the book, it is pretty much like the Breakfast Club with drug addicts. I couldn't think of a better way to put it. The character development is well done, and I really enjoyed reading all the character narratives, except one who I really couldn't get into (but that may have been intentional).
The author writes in first person present tense, and hops into five different points of view with the five different teen addicts. I am impressed with how fluidly she executes this challenging way to tell a story. Some sections are written in first person essay, and other sections are answers to questionnaires the characters get in rehab.
I loved the theme in the book that really empowered the protagonists. Jason put it nicely when he says that they start being adults when they stop blaming their parents or poor environment for the crappy decisions they make, and start making good choices despite their upbringing.
The ending was a superb letter from one character to the others, and it could basically be read to any teen facing drug addiction. I don't want to say who and what exactly was said so as not to ruin it. It was enjoyable and engrossing, and there were moments where I held my breath or cried.
Read this book.
'...O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy.