Going Bovine meets Trainspotting in this gritty portrait of at-risk teens gaming the prescription drug trial system.
Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!
But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….
Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be published October 27, 2015, in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
This book is incredible… if you understand it.
Not going to lie, this story takes patience. If you couldn’t stick around long enough to understand books like BLOOD RED ROAD, then you probably won’t want to go for this read. Unfortunately, that’s probably most of the readers out there. I could be wrong, but from my perspective, the writing isn’t accessible.
And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because PLACEBO JUNKIES could be one of my favorite books from this year, like this author’s other title (The Tyrant’s Daughter) was in 2014. PLACEBO JUNKIES is well-written in a perverse, I-only-half-know-what’s-going-on-but-I-love-it kind of way.
And then at the very end, everything makes sense. Well, almost everything. I’m still trying to figure it out.
PLACEBO JUNKIES moves really fast, almost too fast, but its set at a perfect pace for the plot. The writing’s all there and even though there is a great deal of cursing, I ended up loving the writing. Audie (I think of her name as Audi -.-) is a great narrator who has no illusions about life. In fact, she’s pretty cynical. I was surprised by how much I ended up liking her, and pitying her, but what was the biggest surprise of this novel was how much I loved the romance and the relationships throughout this book.
The relationships make this story. There is so much humor and heartwarming-ness added because of the side characters, and I liked seeing how drugs both brought down and carried on Dylan and Audie’s relationship. There were a lot of lessons to be learned without making it stuffing said lessons down the reader’s throat.
I also really enjoyed the unpredictability of the plot and the characters. If you’re a reader who enjoys unreliable characters and trippy plots, then I would recommend this for you. It takes a little while to get used to, and the characters aren’t everything I would usually want from good characters (character development/full exploration of personality/etc.) but they are lovable, realistic and a little crazy. Sure, the premise is there. The ideas are there. But the execution of PLACEBO JUNKIES is what makes it. Great story, all in all. 3.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 304