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BEAUTY QUEEN by Linda Glovach

BEAUTY QUEEN

By Linda Glovach

Age Range: 13 - 15

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-205161-X
Publisher: HarperCollins

By-the-numbers addiction fiction—as friend Nicole and others look on worriedly, Samantha, 19, breaks away from her alcoholic mother, simultaneously plunges into heroin abuse and earns money as a topless dancer, falls in love with a smooth- talking, thoroughly corrupt police officer, and overdoses while waiting for him to take her away from it all. So specific about heroin use that she even catalogs the brand names on the bags, Sam describes the drug’s heady rush and less appealing physiological and emotional effects in a series of journal entries, written with a glibness that conveys her inflated sense of invulnerability better than any expressions of bravado could. It takes less than three months before her dependency reaches the point where she can hardly write a paragraph without pausing for a needle. The story closes with remorseful I-should-have-done- something statements from Angelo, a gangster whose daughter died of an overdose, and Nicole, thus adding bystanders to the intended audience for this cautionary tale. It lacks the wild ups and downs of Go Ask Alice (1971), or the creeping horror of Melvin Burgess’s more literary Smack (p. 398), but contains a heartfelt anti-drug message in the swift downward spiral of a likable main character. (Fiction. 13-15)