Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Books I've Read: Thicker Than Water

Based on the author's real-life experience with a brother addicted to prescription drugs, there is a painful authenticity to this book, yet it didn't entirely work for me.

Set in two time periods, the A story takes place in a treatment facility where CeCe has been incarcerated since calling the cops to say her brother was dead and that she killed him.

The B story shows how she got to that place, and is the more interesting of the two stories.

CeCe's brother was a star athlete, but an injury took him off the field and a shady doctor more than willing to write prescriptions for a price soon had him hooked onn painkillers.  With the family farm barely hanging on by a thread, and a ready market for anything that can bring oblivion, CeCe soon finds herself stealing her brother's pills to make some extra cash.  The bi-product being that he can't take so many and might be able to kick the habit.

But nothing works out as planned, and as demand for Cyrus's pills gets greater, CeCe finds herself dragged into a world she wanted no part of.  And when tragedy strikes, Cece can't help but blame herself.

The past sections of the book are compelling and brutally honest reading.  It is easy to see how CeCe was tempted into this life, and even easier to see how quickly she became trapped in it.  The insidious nature of drug abuse and its effects are made brutally clear, and while as a reader you are willing CeCe to pull herself away, the tragic events feel almost inevitable as they unfold.

What didn't work for me was the treatment facility and the relationship CeCe forms with another patient there.  It didn't ring true, and felt like it was thrown in there because there has to be romance in all YA books (there doesn't, okay?) and romance is the only way the character will end up with a happy ending.

Sometimes there doesn't need to be any romance.  This book would have been perfectly fine without this particular character and relationship and I would have enjoyed it way more if it had focused on CeCe's relationship with her family instead of on this implausible romance.

But overall, it's well worth a read.

Here's the blurb to help you decide for yourself...

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, romance seems to be a "must" for YA, especially if the main character is female. It gets pretty annoying after a while.