What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book is about a teen girl's addiction to Ritalin. Almost every character in the book -- parent and teen -- takes drugs (prescription or recreational), and the protagonist becomes a popular dealer at her high school. There's also swearing, drinking, casual sex (a character thinks she's pregnant), and a suicide. But this is a cautionary tale full of facts and storylines meant to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse.
What's the story?
An overachieving high school student decides she has ADHD and starts taking Ritalin (stolen from a friend). Soon she's hooked, diagnosing her peers so she can deal to them -- and keep supporting her habit. Teens will never forget that this book has a message: to educate kids -- and parents -- about the dangers of prescription drugs. Narrator Thyme not only details her own addiction, but also documents the drugs' prevalence by including bits of drug talk heard in the halls of her high school and by weaving facts about the drugs into her story. Her mom even trades Xanax with her co-workers.
Is it any good?
This is a dramatic story -- Thyme deals with withdrawal, having her stash stolen (and found by police), and even a teen client's suicide. But it's a timely book, too. The author is definitely didactic, but she connects the dots well, showing how the pressure to succeed combines so dangerously with the prevalence of pills, prescriptions, and self-diagnosis, creating a serious culture of dependency for both teens and parents. Parents are encouraged to read along -- and discuss -- this book with their teens.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the book's relevance. Do they have friends -- or classmates -- who use prescription drugs, legally or illegally? What have they heard about "study drugs" like Ritalin and Adderall?
This book shows both kids and parents taking lots of prescription drugs; are we too drug-dependent as a society? Do TV ads that promise dramatic weight loss or the end of depression have an impact on our culture's drug use?