Random House Children’s/Knopf Books for Young Readers
Troubled teen Audie and her friends and roommates participate in paid medical trails for a living, often several at a time in a game of medical Russian roulette. One day a research assistant may take a chunk out of her leg; another day she’s taking pills to combat hallucinations; and later that afternoon she might be getting an MRI of her brain while trying to remember any happy memories, of which she has very few. Things seem to be going fine – Audie has good friends, a relatively stable living situation, and is saving up her money for a trip to Patagonia with her cancer-survivor boyfriend Dylan – until unexpected tragedy strikes. As Audie deals with the loss, her world starts to unravel and everything she experiences and thinks she knows is called into question. Her roommates are her friends, or are they? She’s doing these trials voluntarily, right? It’s just the pills that are jumbling her memory…at least she thinks so. And who is the Professor who keeps following her around with a notebook? Placebo Junkies is surreal, tense, and always seems to have something strange going on just offstage, but also addresses a lot of important questions about ethics, at-risk youth, who can be trusted, and how to take control.
I really can’t even write any more about this book. Seriously, the less you know, the better your reading experience will be. I love me a story with a twist, and while I could feel one coming in this book – so many things just seem a little off – there were so many bizarre options, I didn’t know where it would come from until it was right there. Seventeen-year-old Audie is sarcastic, damaged, and foul-mouthed as the narrator with a dark sense of humor. In fact the whole book is incredibly dark, right up until the sad and dramatic end. OK, that’s enough information. Just go read this book already!
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