The writing is both raw and gripping. Readers will certainly get a sense of what it means to be an addict through this honest portrayal. And they will find themselves quickly feeling sorry for and frustrated with an increasingly desperate Nic. It's obvious that he has so much potential, but instead keeps choosing a life filled with drugs, dealing, occasional homelessness, creepy people, medical problems and more. Readers may not always relate to Nic's experiences, but they will be swept up in his seemingly endless cycle of addiction and recovery. And they will root for him to break it. In the end, teens will be touched by Nic's honesty -- and they will be exhausted.
Like Ellen Hopkins' popular Crank, this book demonstrates how addiction, especially addiction to meth amphetamine, is thoroughly destructive, not just to the user but to the family as well. Unlike Crank, though, which was written in verse and easy to read despite its grittiness, Sheff's book is thick and seems much more grounded in the adult world: He is 22, on his own, and has many friends who are much older, including the woman he wants to marry. This is ultimately a story about a young man "learning to stand on his own," but there is very little else that marks it for the young adult market.