by JC Carlson
Review by KM
There are a lot of people who don’t like gritty stories, but I am certainly not among them. Scenes that leave you trembling, wincing, and slightly grossed out are totally awesome. When an entire book can do that to you? That’s even better.
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. . . .*
I have to say that the first half of this novel leaves you with a lot of exasperated questions.
“Where are the parents at?”
“Who the hell would actually do this?”
“Argh. Is there a reason for any of this? Someone call friggin’ CPS already!”
Those reactions are totally legitimate, but, trust me, they end up solved. The second half is full of the twists and revelations that make the book so wonderful.
This isn’t the type of book that gets a sequel – the ending is clearly summed up, with only a few strings left hanging. Still, I would love to get into the depths of Audie’s mind and play around like it was my own personal sandbox.
If you’re into things like Requiem of a Dream or The Walls Around Us, you may enjoy this too.