Placebo Junkies

Placebo Junkies

Pick your Poison

Book - 2015
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Going Bovine meets Trainspotting in this gritty portrait of at-risk teens gaming the prescription drug trial system.
 
Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, "volunteering" for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there's the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie's got things under control. If Monday's pill causes a rash, Tuesday's ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday's injection soothes the sting from Tuesday's "cure," and Thursday's procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday's headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there's plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!
 
But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He's turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain , she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide. . . .
 
Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, ©2015.
ISBN: 9780553497250
9780553497243
Branch Call Number: YA CAR

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JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

We all have our fantasy lives, don't we? There's a fine line between delusional and ambitious, it occurs to me. We're all just hoping for a better reality.

JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

I'm not ready for any more reality at the moment. I'm already at a toxic saturation level; I'm this close to overdosing on the truth.

JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

The only certainty of being truly alone with your thoughts is that whatever you're thinking is probably wrong.

JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

I sort of like the idea of someone keeping a dossier on me. It's like outsourcing your own diary. Let someone else do the writing while I focus on the living. Genius, right?

JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

My midnight bravado fades a bit in the morning. Isn't that just how it goes? Moon swagger: everyone's a badass in the right light. Today I'm not so sure I want to do anything more physically or emotionally taxing than ordering takeout.

JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

No cutting in line! The order of things matters a great deal in the testing world, so queue up accordingly. The first tests are done on animals, of course--monkeys and rabbits and rats, oh my. If enough fuzzy-wuzzy bunnies make it through round one alive and kicking, the grim reapers of research move on, setting their sights on the junkies, the indigents, and the professional guinea pigs for round two. (Ahem. This is where we come in.) Next come the college students. Then come the ailing minimum-wagers--legit sick people whose crappy, barely-there health plans and stretched-to-broke budgets don't have room for things like "proven" cures. Only then, at long, long last and hopefully not too many oopsies later, will anything ever be tried on the upstanding citizens from Planet Properly insured. Everyone eventually gets their turn, as long as they're not dying of impatience (see what I did there?).

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JCLChrisK Mar 14, 2017

Hoo-boy! I got on what I thought was one wild ride and ended on a different, equally crazy one. This is a book that constantly surprises, keeping readers as vague, confused, and off-balance as narrator, protagonist, and sharp-tongued Audie. One thing that's not unknown is that hers is a story about the young people who try to make a living offering themselves as paid guinea pigs in trials for new drugs and medicines.

Audie is part of a mini-culture of compulsives who are willing to risk unknown and potentially unexpected side effects for the pay, often fudging the truth about their symptoms, conditions, and other drugs being taken. They're a step from homeless and have basically dropped out of society. And, because of what they're willing to put up with, often a bit removed from reality.

Her story offers a fascinating window into a world most of us have never even imagined, plus enough twists and turns to be plenty rousing. It's a captivating trip.

b
Blue_Crow_2
Sep 22, 2016

I do not even know where to begin. What did I just read.

Placebo Junkies is pretty brilliant, not only in terms of plot, but also in the writing. I love Audie. I love her voice, her honesty, and how they shone through not only in her narration but also in her blog posts. I love her unreliability; I find unreliable narrators fun because you get to piece together the puzzle yourself, although there is a downside, which is that things can become confusing very easily. I read this on my phone (which unfortunately really does affect my overall experience because I can't concentrate or absorb the facts as well) which contributed to my slight confusion, but I got enough to understand: this novel is going to tear you apart! It's intense, engaging, fast-paced, and interesting. It's dark, and I would not recommend it if you're squeamish. Be prepared for brutal and gritty, and you'll enjoy Placebo Junkies.

KarenE61 Apr 13, 2016

With a wicked plot twist, the line between the real and the surreal shatters in this mind-blowing work. In the same vein as "Jacob's Ladder" and "Shutter Island," but with a unique (and credible) setting; but perhaps even more horrifying because the characters and events seem so firmly grounded at the beginning. Beyond thought-provoking, this is the REAL stuff that nightmares are made of!

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KarenE61 Apr 13, 2016

KarenE61 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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