J. C. Carleson’s new book, Placebo Junkies, is coming out this week from Knopf, and I wanted to write a few words about it (avoiding spoilers):
First, this book is well-written. The phrasing is great. The voice is consistent and engaging. For an example, here’s half of a sentence from the first chapter:
” …hold in that razor-blade wetness long enough to find a cup, a bucket, anything to catch it, dammit, and you barely manage to stifle your scream of triumph as you find an empty Snapple bottle in the trash can and fill it with your beautiful, cloudy piss with its faint but unmistakable trace of blood.”
Second, this book is gritty (see example above). The characters, events, and relationships are real, honest, and brutal.
Third, this book will make you think about some big, important social and societal issues. How’s that for a vague promo with no spoilers?
Finally – and maybe most important for a young adult book – you will never be bored while reading this. There wasn’t a single moment when I thought, “Yeah, I’ll just read something else for a while and put this book down.” No, Placebo Junkies has enough of the unexpected to keep a reader going all the way until the end.