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. Read more...
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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Teenage Audie and her roommates make rent by serving as human test subjects. In their world, “your value lies in your blood, your waste, and your mitochondrial minutiae,” and Audie is trying “to squeeze every possible cent” out of the system in order to take her cancer-stricken boyfriend on a dream vacation for his birthday. When Audie starts several test drugs at the same time, life gets muddled, and it becomes increasingly hard for her to sort fantasy from reality. A somewhat jarring twist arrives two-thirds of the way into the story, but Audie—a chatty, clever narrator with a twisted sense of humor—grounds the story even as it changes gears. Carleson (The Tyrant’s Daughter) gives Audie believable motivation for undergoing tests that range from practice gynecological exams to taking psilocybin (“Once you get the chance to control your own fate, set your own schedule, it’s too hard to give it back), while raising challenging questions about medicine, ethics, and the true cost of big breakthroughs. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Oct.)