Warning: This book has major drug themes and could be very triggering to anyone who has dealt with drug addiction.
Seth Bradson is a stoner and occasionally a meth user. Ali Carson is a new student at the local high school and a good girl. Seth takes an instant liking to Ali, but it takes her a few weeks to really notice him. Their first conversation is over a pencil she let him borrow and their second is over her seeing him pop a Klonopin. Ali begins to take more of an interest in Seth, and eventually goes with him to an old park where they both take a Xanax and smoke weed. After that, they begin to hang out more and more.
Seth lives with his older brother, Calvin, who deals drugs and is abusive, and his mother, who drinks the day away. Calvin and his two friends, Brent and Jade, also use meth. Seth has done it in the past, but when the story begins, he is trying hard to stay away from it. He finally gives into the drug when he, Calvin, and Brent go to their supplier’s house to drop a payment and pick up more drugs. After a while, Jade gives him a pack of cigarettes that she had kept her person stash of three crystals in and forgot about. When Ali shows up at his house that day, she finds the crystals and asks Seth about them. He eventually gives in (he is still high on what he had done earlier with Calvin and the others), and he and Ali smoke some. Ali is immediately hooked, but Seth doesn’t see it right away. Over the course of a few weeks, they do it twice more, but she begins to ask more and more if he has any meth or if Calvin does.
On the Fourth of July, Seth and Ali go to the old park to hang out with Trip, Seth’s best friend, and Miranda, Trip’s girlfriend, and smoke weed. Ali is obviously irritated that Seth only has weed, so she convinces him that she needs to go back to his house before the fireworks start to use the bathroom. Calvin and his friends are there, and when Calvin offers a line for them before they leave, Seth declines and Ali accepts. Seth tells Ali not to and they get into a small argument about it, but Ali does it anyway. Seth storms out of the house and waits for Ali in her car. They go two days without talking to one another, and when he shows up at her house to apologize, he finds her still awake and high to the point where she is seeing things. He takes the rest of her stash and confronts Calvin, who gave it to her when he left the house the other night.
Over the next month, Ali and Seth fight regularly about her increasing use of meth. One day, he comes home to find Ali leaving Calvin’s room after sleeping with him for more drugs. Seth essentially breaks up with her and walks out. He is so overcome with guilt of having given her the first taste, anger at Calvin for giving her more, and angry at the drug itself for taking his first love away from him that he decides to give Calvin a taste of his own medicine. When he walks back into the house, though, Ali has overdosed on Oxycontin, and Jade is on the phone with the police to get an ambulance there. Seth goes into a rage and beats Calvin to a pulp before running to get one of the handguns stashed in their car. He guns Calvin down but has two police officers gunning him down and trying to talk him down from shooting Calvin. Seth fires the gun and hits Calvin in the shoulder, and one of the officers fires and hits Seth in the chest. Seth dies with his first memory of Ali on his mind.
This is a very powerful and moving book about the cost of drug use. While Seth has a high tolerance and is not addicted, we do see the slow decline for Ali into addiction. I do not have any complaints with this book at all. I think it was beautifully written, and while I do love my fair share of happy endings, I think this book would have been less powerful if it had one. The ending was fitting and appropriate.
I would absolutely read this book again – in fact, this review was written after I read this book for the second time. I also highly recommend this book to anyone who has someone in their life who deals with addiction. It is a very eye-opening story, and while it does focus on meth addiction, it can shed light on how any other addiction takes place. Sometimes all it takes is one time. I do not recommend reading this book if you are in recovery from a drug addiction, as it can be very triggering because of the amount of detail Snyder puts into the scenes.
Jennifer Snyder is a wonderful writer, and I very much look forward to reading more of her books in the future.