Book Title: Placebo Junkies
Author: J. C. Carleson
Published Date: October 27th, 2015
Publisher: Random House Children’s
Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
This one looked interesting from the moment I saw it on Goodreads. I requested it and totally forgot about it. So when I got the approval email, all I felt was nerves. I wanted this book to be awesome and I was so worried that all the hype I had built up for it was going to be unwarranted.
I loved, LOVED this book. It was an insane mind-fuck that had me questioning the entire book and wanting to know exactly what was going on. It took me a long time to realize that things weren’t as they seemed. Maybe I should have picked up on that sooner. Oooops. It was a book that has been flying under the radar, but it’s a book that all YA Thriller enthusiasts should read.
It’s been a long time since I loved a protagonist like Audie. She was hilariously funny, un-apologetically blunt and through it all, it was clear she had a good heart. She wanted so badly to make memories for her terminally ill boyfriend, Dylan.
Audie even writes a blog, trying to help other people who are just stepping into this guinea pig thing. Her blog entries are insanely funny, and as someone who has a long history with pharmacies, hospitals and doctors, I found myself laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.
She was good to her roommates, Jameson & Charlotte. Especially Charlotte. Charlotte didn’t talk about her life before. She kept herself very guarded, not trusting many people, and especially not trusting men. It was hard for Audie to see that because she had such a loving relationship with Dylan. She couldn’t understand why Charlotte didn’t like him.
“Because of the life she’s had, she just has no concept of genuine un-fucked up love.”
As the book continues, things go from bad to worse. Audie starts losing chunks of time. Her memories start to become cloudy and she struggles with knowing what’s real and what isn’t. She doesn’t want to bother Dylan about this because his life, unlike hers, has been normal. She keeps what she’s doing to herself, just like she keeps her past to herself. She doesn’t want to burden Dylan with why she’s not in school, why she’s got no family around.
“Sometimes people cause themselves harm just to prove to themselves, and perhaps the rest of the world, that they can.”
I found The Professor to be very interesting. I am still unsure as to what his actual position in the story was, but I kept thinking that he had to be central to the story. He had to be around for a reason. I do wish we had seen more of him though.
“It’s more like a feeling of being simultaneously dead and alive, like a furless version of Shrodinger’s cat.”
Audie’s descriptions of her feelings while on the various drugs were really awesome, and surprisingly funny.
Things just got crazier and crazier as the book continued. I started to question so many things about the drugs, and about the characters in this book. I started to realize that something was off. Aside from the morally decrepit Audie. I felt like I was missing something. Something was going to smack me in the face.
“Because the truth is whatever you say it is.”
This book surprised me in the best way possible. I hadn’t heard much about it, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with it. But I loved it. I love mind-fuckery and having them in books only make me happier. This book was awesome and I highly, highly recommend it to people who love YA Thrillers because that’s exactly what this one was. I am giving this one 5 stars.