Catapult. Jun. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781646220243. $26. F
DEBUT Best friends Irene and Luce have been through a lot together. They live together, work together, become addicted and hustle for pills together, and get clean together. Irene is so attached to Luce that when Luce’s boyfriend suddenly overdoses and dies and she relapses in despair, Irene goes back to drugs after 11 months of sobriety—to be with Luce. Luce’s boyfriend is dead, and that’s terrible of course, but it means that Luce is no longer going to leave Irene in the North Carolina mountains to move with him to Florida, and they are together again, just the two of them. Their relapses very quickly drop both women back into a world of chaos, of scamming, lying, and relying on strangers. Their downward spiral is difficult to read about, with graphic descriptions of Irene and Luce’s drug use and the desperate, disturbing, dangerous decisions they make in pursuit of their next high—of a fleeting feeling of euphoria.
VERDICT Tucker holds nothing back in this debut novel, describing addiction in unflinching terms, as well as human connection, vulnerability, and perseverance. The subject matter and descriptions in this book won’t be palatable to every reader, but those who finish this work won’t soon forget it.
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