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3.7 3
Young Adult Fiction 565
Roller Coaster Read
Overall rating
Writing Style
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Placebo Junkies was a wild ride in book form! Audie lives her life as a human guinea pig for pharmaceutical drug trials. To say that it’s a roller coaster way of living would be an understatement. From one day to the next, Audie and her friends never know what pill they’re going to get served or what side effect they’ll be dealing with.

Audie decides to go all in with the medical testing in order to save money for a trip with her boyfriend, Dylan. Time is running out, because Dylan’s cancer has come back with a vengeance and Audie doesn’t know how much time she has left with him. As she begins to hit more and more drug trials with her friend Charlotte, they both become sicker and sicker.

This is the type of book where you think you’ve got a handle on the plot, and then, ever so slightly, the narrative tilts and you’re left wondering what’s going on. J.C. Carleson’s grasp on her story is so masterful and subtle; that it isn’t until looking back you see all the breadcrumbs she’s left for her readers.
Audie is one of the best unreliable narrators I’ve come across, and the conviction with which she tells her story is admirable. It wasn’t until the very end of the book that I knew what was truly going on and I relished the story’s ability to keep me in suspense for so long.

This book deals with some heavy themes and therefore I would recommend it to mature audiences only. The idea of moral conviction paired with personal gain was a particularly interesting discussion throughout, and one that isn’t resolved by the end of the novel, but not for lack of trying. Young love, domestic abuse, medical abuse, and consent all become highly discussed topics and highlight the complexity and pain that comes from growing up amidst various forms of abuse.

Placebo Junkies is a highly fascinating read with troubled characters, and surprising twists that keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for a twisted thriller with a unique premise, look no further!
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