Book: Placebo Junkies
Author: J.C. Carleson
Page Count: 302 (Final Hardcover)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Reads
My Rating: ★★★★
Synopsis: 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….
This book... what can I say about this book. This book was way much more than I expected. I expected a lighthearted contemporary, but boy oh boy did I get more than that. I got a book that although was filled with those lighthearted moments, was so much more involved and darker than I imagined. When reading the beginning, this book seemed like one where the main character was just trying to get her message our there in a humorous way with a lot of sarcasm. She did that for the most part, but at one point in the book the dynamic and writing shifts to something much more and I really liked that.
The writing in this book had two styles, and I really enjoyed both of those styles. Part of it is this humorous sarcasm that takes jabs at everything in life, yet at the same time tries to find the good in everything. But then you have this entire other dynamic that is twisted and almost depressing, yet really captivating because it has a lot to say.
The plot is unlike anything I have read and is a lot different than I expected. This book made me do a lot of self-reflecting in ways that quite frankly made me uncomfortable, but in a good way. I mean, there are so many times in this book where I was kind of mindf**ked and I had to put the book aside and just think. This book really makes you question reality.
Audie the main character... She is so unique and twisted and has a lot going on in her mind, which just makes her all the more interesting. Every time you think you understand her and have a grip on her mentality, she surprises you.
I'm not going to go into much more detail because that would be spoiling the book and I honestly think this is something you want to go into knowing and expecting nothing so that when the end comes you can kind of sit there in shock and contemplate everything. I will probably however be filming a book review which I will have spoilers near the end, so if you do want to be spoiled, which I think you should avoid, you'll know where to find them.
[Real talk though, you guys should read this book. I think it deserves a lot more attention because it truly has some important messages that I think we can all take away from, especially on mental health. All the writing is pretty damn good.]
*If you are uncomfortable with swearing, this might not be the book for you.
I would like to thank Penguin Random House for mailing me a copy of this book for review. I really appreciated the opportunity!