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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Love is the Drug ARC Review by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
ebook, 357 pages
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books
Published date: September 30, 2014
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 1/5 Stars

Synopsis: From the author of THE SUMMER PRINCE, a novel that's John Grisham's THE PELICAN BRIEF meets Michael Crichton's THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN set at an elite Washington D.C. prep school.

Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC's elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus--something about her parents' top secret scientific work--something she shouldn't know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.

Thank you Netgalley and Arthur A. Levine Books for my eARC copy of this book. 

This review will be a short one because even after reading the entire book, and certain sections several times, I couldn't give you a precise answer about what this book was about. It has a lot going on. It's one big hot mess. This book has a lot to do with drugs and pharmaceuticals and it had me wondering if I needed to be high for all of the details to make sense. I had to be convinced more than once to push through and read this book, but it definitely wasn't worth it. There were moments of brilliance, but they are few and buried underneath a copious amount of baffling details.

Love is the Drug has a lot different plot lines going on but none of them, at least in my opinion, come together in a cohesive manner. It tries to conquer many societal and political issues such as government corruption, conspiracy, biological warfare, racism, homosexuality, family life, abusive relationships, and more. It seemed as if the author wanted to take an all these details but couldn't execute them properly.

I had a huge problem with the main plot line (or what I assume is the main plot line) which was about the CIA drugging our protagonist and persecuting her and one of her boyfriends (that's right, I said one of her boyfriends) because they believe that they know something about this virus that's killing thousands of people in the world. You know, because that seems likely that two rich kids in their junior year of high school involved personally in government and global politics that has lead to the experimenting and killing of thousands of people. Seems likely, right?

The other focus of the novel is Bird's (our protagonist) relationship with Coffee (one of her boyfriends). Their relationship along with the rest of the book is confusing. They have this love-hate thing going on at the start of the book, and somehow Bird feels he's the only one she can be her real self around, but hates him at the same time (at least for a while). The audience is introduced to their relationship with the idea that Bird and Coffee don't spend a lot of time together, but somehow she has deep feelings for him and is the only one she the same time she doesn't trust him at all. If you think this makes no sense, that's because it doesn't.

The book is written in an haphazard manner, one minute I'm in the past, next I'm in the present, one minute the writing style is written in first person in Bird's POV, the next it's written in third person where the audience is asked to figure out what's going on by random snippets of details. The scenes that are from the past, are thrown into the present plot randomly and it's difficult to tell that the author is talking about the past. It's only after reading a few times over that I understood the past events were not the current ones.

All in all, I highly disliked this book. Even though there were tiny moments I thought were interesting or nice, it was all lost under all the other ridiculousness.

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