I received this book at no cost from the publisherPlacebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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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.
Audie finds herself out on her own after a horrible start to life and she finds that she can support herself with no questions asked by becoming a test subject for medical procedures and drug testing. In this shady world full of people you wouldn’t consider looking at twice, Audie finds a family. Jameson runs the apartment they live in and this place is filled with all sorts of characters. She becomes friends with Charlotte who has a master plan for saving her money and getting out of the life they live. When Charlotte dies, Audie finds her date book and decides that she will take over Charlotte’s appointments in order to take her boyfriend, Dylan, on the trip of a lifetime. She needs to do it fast since Dylan has cancer and probably not much longer to live.
Dylan becomes Audie’s reason for living and it is a miracle that she survives the drug trials at all. Some are drug trials are harmless, but some send her in a death spiral when she is forced to examine her inner self with psychotropes. As she becomes more intwined in the drug trials, her mind becomes more unhinged. That is when the horrible truth about her life with Jameson and the apartment are revealed. This is some scary stuff that is explored here.
Wow, Carleson sure knows how to spin a tale. The writing is excellent and even though you really want to look away, you can’t. As the horror of Audie’s life is revealed, you wonder how she ever made it at all. This story sheds light on mental illness, the shady business of big pharma and homelessness. Parents: I think this should spark some interesting discussions. Be aware that there are drug / alcohol use, sexual situations and language. Overall, this is one of my favorite reads this year because it is just so different.
J.C. Carleson never intended to be an author. Although she was always a proficient writer of term papers, reports, and other necessary but mundane documents, she didn’t consider herself cut out for the creative life.
Nearly a decade as an officer in the CIA’s clandestine service changed that.
With her head now brimming with stories of intrigue, scandal, and exotic locales, Carleson was finally ready to give writing a shot. Her fiction and non-fiction works alike tap into her unique experiences, drawing readers into the highly charged, real world of espionage.
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