Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Placebo Junkies by J.C. Carleson

Hello, everyone! Today I will be reviewing Placebo Junkies for the book tour hosted by Random House! Enjoy!

Title: Placebo Junkies
Author: J.C. Carleson
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA - Realistic Fiction
Source: via publisher (hardcover)

Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!

But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….

Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.
Purchase at: Amazon | B&N |  Kobo | Indiebound

I have one word for this book: Mind Trip
Okay, so that's two words but you get the point. I guess I could have said, "whatintheheckdidijustreadomgwasthatconfusing". Hmm...that sounds about right. *nods*

I just finished the book last night and I am still trying to process what I just read. Placebo Junkies is one of those books where 50% of the book seems normal enough and then BAM right in the middle you're thrown a twist that makes you question everything you have read thus far. Part of me liked that I was thrown into a loop and another part was left confused more than anything. 

The story is about a girl named, Audie. Audie makes a living as "Guinea pig" for big medical companies. She takes pills, gives blood, tries new medical products and even allows some majorly scary stuff to happen to her body. Why? Because of the cold hard cash; compensation for being a human medical experiment. Audie is saving up for something very special, a trip for dying boyfriend. Dylan has cancer and Audie wants to give him something he will never forget, a vacation to a place he has only dreamt of. This means doing more volunteering than ever. Which also mean more side effects, more pain, and much more stress. At least she has a friend or two who knows what she's going through. Charlotte is her roommate and friend. She also is a Guinea pig for all the same companies that Audie works at. Both girls know what it's like to be a human pin cushion. Audie will do whatever it takes to make more money and fast. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? 

This is when things go downhill. Something happens to Audie that changes everything and forces her to pick up more medical studies than ever. She is also forced to deal with some horribly bad news, in which she begins to question the motives of the doctors behind these trials. Something is definitely off... or maybe something is not quite right with Audie herself? 

The final twist will leave readers confused, floored or like me mind tripped!

While Placebo Junkies was unlike anything I have ever read before I have a love-hate relationship with the book. On one hand, the story was unique and interesting but clearly lacked focus on the main plot. It was all over the place at times, giving me details that felt unnecessary and boring. I was 40% into reading and questioning where the story was going. To be honest, I did not like any of the characters besides Dylan. They feel flat for me and just too bazaar. As for Audie, I felt genuinely sorry for her. Her life has been so difficult and you really get see the real Audie at the end of the book. I actually really enjoyed the premise of the book, but I feel it the delivery could have been better. 

Don't get me wrong, even though I did find some things I didn't so much like in the book there are some parts I did really enjoy.  I love how dedicated Audie was to buy Dylan this amazing gift. I could plainly feel how much she loves Dylan and worries about his health. All that she went through to make him happy was so heartfelt. Even when the final twist comes and the reader finds out the truth about many things you still can't help but feel at awe. The ending was one I did not see coming. It's one of those, "Wait, What?" moments that will leave you questioning everything you've read thus far. I also think the author did some great research when it came to all the medical parts. Kudos, J.C. Carleson. It really helped with the "real" factor during the trials/experiments.

I give Placebo Junkies a solid 3 STARS! While confusing at times and a bit lackluster throughout it still really ended up being a unique and thrilling read. I recommend the book to anyone who likes a good head-trip wants a story that makes you think. 

I liked it a lot. Would recommend.

Click the link below find out more about author J.C. Carlson and to learn about her other books.

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