Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Plague Year, by

It is late summer of 2001 when Tom starts to hear about this new drug called crystal meth.  He lives in a small mining town in Pennsylvania, where meth and mining are the main things to do.  When September 11 hits, people in town have a hard time coping with the state of the world, and more and more turn to drugs as a way to cope.  The town becomes frightening as meth zombies are sighted more and more often, and crime reaches a new high.  What happens over this course of this year will change Tom's life forever.

I was so incredibly moved by this book.  First of all, it was written in a way that is real, and honest, and young readers will easily relate.  When meth gained popularity in the late 90's and early into the 2000's, these are the exact kinds of places that were hit, so I think the book is brilliantly set.  These are the stories that rarely get told, and I am happy this one was.  I am especially happy it is told from a young adult's frame of reference.

I thought that Tom's character was well developed, as well as most of the supporting characters.  However, I did have an issue with the development and realism of the drug counseling group Tom attends.  First off, the leader of the group is a Master's level therapist, yet she has never heard of pica, and then just levels a guess at what type of disorder it may be.  This would NEVER happen; any Masters program has an abnormal psych class, and every abnormal psych class covers this disorder.  And no therapist worth their merit would simply level a guess about a disorder they knew nothing about.  But I digress.  Some of the minor supporting characters seemed a little flat, but in some ways, that served a purpose.  We were never supposed to get close to them, since this was Tom's story.

All in all, I think this was a good young adult book, appropriate for high school readers.  It serves as a cautionary tale of how drugs can affect and entire town, and sadly is based in too much reality.

I received a review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine program.





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