Parents' Guide to


By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Honest, empathetic story of teen athlete's opioid addiction.

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Written with stunning empathy and detail, this story of a teen girl's descent into opioid addiction is gut-wrenching and eye-opening. In Heroine, author Mindy McGinnis does a great job of showing that drug addiction can happen to anyone. Mickey is an engaging and likable main character. She's a smart, sweet kid who rationalizes her increasing usage, like so many other addicts do. At first she thinks she can hold it together for her parents and teammates, but the reality of drug addiction is that it can spin out of control, which it eventually does in heartbreaking style for Mickey. Readers will get a good look at the allure of opioids: the enveloping comfort and bliss it brings to users. But the use of drugs is never romanticized, and the reality of what it does to bodies and lives is laid bare. The story runs to the long side and bogs down in spots, especially in the detailed passages about softball. A tighter story would have made this a real page-turner. But that aside, this is an important, gripping book. Not only will readers gain insight into the opioid epidemic, but they will be rooting for Mickey to pull it together before it's too late. The author provides a list of resources for getting help with addiction recovery.

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