An unapologetic contemporary imitation of anonymous faux-diary Go Ask Alice.
The book begins on the unnamed teen diarist's 16th birthday. Her writing is sometimes stream-of-consciousness, though it sometimes recounts events. It is never more eloquent than when she describes the experience of being high on the various drugs she tries. Readers wondering about the immediate effects of alcohol, marijuana, pills, cocaine and more will find their curiosity piqued. Descriptions like “It's like someone has shuffled all the cards in your head... you feel AMAZING and you're seeing these INCREDIBLE THINGS” evoke pleasure and a sense of discovery. Negative experiences like a DUI, broken promises to quit and watching a friend grow increasingly gaunt and non-functional serve as warnings. There is character development here: Readers see the diarist transform from a shy, insecure girl with few friends into part of an intimate social group. The relationship between the diarist and her older brother Cam is one of the most compelling, and readers see him struggling to balance his loyalty to his sister against his concern for her safety. The book's cautionary ending feels abrupt and ineffective, perhaps because scaring readers straight was never really the point.
Both engrossing and titillating; readers curious about drugs and readers who wouldn't dream of touching them will find satisfaction here. (Fiction. 14 & up)