Friday, March 20, 2015

Teen review: Edgy, realistic fiction

Lucy in the Sky, by Anonymous (a novel similar to Go Ask Alice), chronicles the story of a 16-year-old girl whose life is turned inside out by the pressures of drugs and alcohol. Her battles and many of her victories are temporary as she struggles through the pages of adolescence. Reading her journal and not knowing her name seems like a breach of privacy, but the story pulls and tugs until its message is clear. Ross, Lauren, Ian, and Blake are the friends who fill the friendship void the summer before her junior year and introduce her to a world of parties and good feelings. The small band of friends experiment with drugs as if it were a harmless hobby. A line is drawn at the more lethal drugs until the bands of peer pressure, being one of the gang, tighten and squeeze every ounce of resistance out of the narrator. Not wanting to feel like the only one not having 'fun' fuels her dark determination, even when her friends up the anti with the worst drugs imaginable.

Lucy in the Sky tells a story in which readers will reel from the roller coaster waves of emotion: pride that the narrator makes friends, hope that she'll just say no, and a little anger, sadness, and disappointment from the consequences of her actions. She is tight with Cam, but doesn't have any really close friends. She does well in school and comes from a nice family and background. She soon meets Ross at yoga class and they start hanging out. She likes him from the start and is thrilled to find out he will be going to her high school in the fall. Cam likes him as well, and they start going to parties with him. Ross introduces her to Lauren, who has just moved here from New York to live with her dad. She's the kind of girl the author has always wanted to be friends with. The girls hit it off and become inseparable. Ross starts asking if she wants to smoke pot which she's apprehensive about at first. Once she does it she can't wait to do it again. Soon it's one party after another, and one Cosmo after another. The pot smoking escalates to acid and Ecstasy. She can't get enough of it. An older guy begins showing her some attention and he brings cocaine into the mix. The drug use begins to spiral and affect her school life as well as her home life. Cam is threatening to tell their parents but she will not stop. It's her life and nobody is going to tell her how to live it. The drug use finally escalates to the point of no return and her family confronts her.

The journal format really allows the reader to see how quickly she spirals from "just pot" into much more dangerous drugs and situations. She has no regard for the situations she's putting herself in or the damage she's doing to her health and reputation. The drugs and partying are the only things that she thinks make her attractive to her friends. She manipulates her brother, and the guilt he must feel by the end is enormous. It shows how easy it is to cover up drug use even within a family that considers itself close. Her recklessness was frustrating to read. As the reader you keep asking yourself when she's going to realize how in over her head she is. It showed how far someone is willing to go to feel close to other people and to fit in.

She didn't have the excuse of coming from a bad family--she just wanted to fit in and feel good about herself, and the drugs did that for her. Everyone wants answers when someone does something out of character. She had what most would consider an ideal life and everyone will want answers as to why she did it, but this book shows that sometimes there's no real answer for why. She was just immature and naive to the consequences.

All in all, this 300-page book was amazing. I honestly do not think I ever read a book better than this one. I think Lucy in the Sky should be read by parents, children and teachers. It is not easy to read, due to the subject matter, but it should be required reading. This can happen to any family or any friend. I would rate this book a 5 out of 5; it is a really interesting story, and once you start reading you just do not want to stop. I really hope I find more books like this one.

Reviewed by Pamela A., Grade 9

Editor's note: You won't find this book in our catalog, but you will find it in our YA paperbacks sections! Ask a librarian to help you...

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