Tag Archives: drugs

Late to the Party ARC Review – Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Title: Heroine

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there. The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue. But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Oof. This is one of those books I knew I wasn’t going to be able to read when it came out because I knew it would hit too close to home. I admit, I have never been great with stories that focus on addiction, mainly because of my sibling’s former addiction problem. I always feel uncomfortable and touchy on the subject matter, despite also full well knowing how important the topic is. Heroine focuses on Mickey, a star player on a softball team, who ends up injured and becomes addicted to Oxycontin.

The title, Heroine, has a fantastic double meaning in this story, because not only is it about Mickey’s drug use, but it’s also about how she was the “heroine” of her softball team. There’s a lot of this book that is super hard to read, especially instances of Mickey spiraling in her need to “find the dragon,” how she loses to much of herself to her disease, and just the challenges she faces of feeling like things she just be the way they were when in actuality she destroyed who she once was. Some of the scenes in this book are graphic, and McGinnis does a great job of giving the reader a lot to think about in terms of Mickey’s choices.

I enjoyed the book, but I admit, I read it very slowly and there were times where the narrative wasn’t always holding my interest. There’s a bit of repetition in this story that I know is valuable, but I also didn’t care for. Mickey is an important character, and being inside her mind was interesting, but I didn’t always feel engaged in her inner narrative as much as I think I’d want to be.

I still think Female of the Species is still McGinnis’ best book to date, and I feel like Heroine tries to follow it, but doesn’t quite succeed. I think if you are someone who has an addiction or has dealt with someone who has/had one, there will be a lot in this story that you will be able to relate to. I appreciate that the ending has a hopeful tone, but otherwise this novel is fairly bleak and it’s definitely going to be one of those books that you’ll need to prepare your headspace for.

ARC Review – Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz

23309639Title: Dancing with Molly

Author: Lena Horowitz

Rating: ★

Synopsis: Before, I was never the life of the party. I was the reliable one. The one no one had to worry about. The one no one had to think about. I was the one that everyone could ignore. Until that night, when everything changed and I finally became someone. Someone special. Someone noticeable. Someone Carson might actually care about, as much as I cared about him. But the cost of being someone is more than anyone can imagine. For every moment, there’s a price to pay. For every party. For every choice made. For every kiss. Ultimately, living a life of PURE ECSTASY might be no different from not living at all.

Huge thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I tried to like this book. I really did, but the whole story rubbed me completely the wrong way. I’m always interested in books when drugs are a subject matter because I like to see how the subject matter is handled, particularly in young adult fiction. Sad to say but this book was boring and the writing style was as well. I get mimicking how a teen would write in a journal, but it was awful to read and so awkward at times.

In that sense, the novel is actually successful. It’s writing style mimics the age the protagonist well, even if it’s awkward to read. I just have a hard time excusing lots of all caps and exclamation points, but it gets overused in this book a fair bit. Plus (and I’m sure again it was intentional) it was impossible to feel connected or empathic to any of the characters in this book. I had a hard time with the protagonist in particular because she turned to drugs to in a way “become someone.” But this book follows a very repetitive formula of drugs, drama, make outs, and more drugs. Thankfully, the book is short, because I don’t think I could have handled more than 200 pages of this monotonous story. I feel like stories that have drugs as a theme should be a lot more impact, but this one fell completely flat for me.

I can see why people would enjoy Dancing With Molly, but for me this should have been a story with a great message behind it, and I just felt the message and its connection was lost a lot of the time. Admittedly, the best part of the novel was the ending and how her habit had consequences, and I think that aspect was handled well. I just struggled to find any enjoyment from this story, I think there are much better young adult novels out there that deal with drugs in a much better way. This novel isn’t horrible and I think it will find fans when it releases, I just could handle the lack of substance and the writing style to save my life.