I thought the characters all worked really well. Jess and Luke’s relationship was the most interesting to me, especially when she’s reflecting back on her memories of him. She’s a really strong, believable character, one that you can easily get behind. I also loved the back story that slowly came out about Leon, one of the ‘villains’ of the book (and I use quotation marks because it’s not always clear who’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’).
It really got me thinking about memories and the difference between what really happens and how we choose to remember it. Memories that should have been sweet turned bitter for the characters and, with their senses heightened by the drugs, they noticed things they hadn’t before: the tone of voice used here, a raised eyebrow there.
It’s a book that sang to me of regrets. Characters would watch times from their past and wonder why they didn’t just go along with what that person said or pay more attention when they were with someone. And that made me reflect on myself, how I might come across if I was watching myself, how it could look and sound differently to how I meant it to. It’s a book that really gets you thinking.
It also had me guessing right until the end. When the first clue to who the mysterious ‘Whiteface’ was came out, I was shocked and couldn’t have honestly said I saw it coming. When a twist came, I guessed it quickly, but then was proved wrong with another twist. It certainly kept me on my toes.
I did wonder at the very end whether, after losing so much as these characters do, I would be able to give up the drug that could let me relive those times. It’s such a different kind of addiction, a real emotional connection to those chemicals that I think would make it harder to give up than any other drug (thank goodness it’s not a real one!)
This is a real thrill of a book, with a different take on what can happen when young people get mixed up in drugs and crime, without being preachy and moralising. I can’t wait to see what Carla Spradbery has for us next!