Heroine
An Amazon Best Book of the Month! A captivating and powerful exploration of the opioid crisis—the deadliest drug epidemic in American history—through the eyes of a college-bound softball star. Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a visceral and necessary novel about addiction, family, friendship, and hope. When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

Heroine Details

TitleHeroine
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 12th, 2019
PublisherKatherine Tegen Books
ISBN-139780062847195
Rating
GenreContemporary, Young Adult, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Heroine Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I am not a wasted person. I am not prowling the streets. I am not an addict. I am a girl spinning her locker combination. I am a girl who got a B on her math test. I am a girl who has two holes on the inside of her arm, but they do not tell the whole story of me. This book left me feeling hollow. By this I mean that it hit me so hard in so many different ways that I now feel emptied out. Saying it is "sad" is not enough. "Horrifying" is closer to the truth, but that seems too sensational. When I am not a wasted person. I am not prowling the streets. I am not an addict. I am a girl spinning her locker combination. I am a girl who got a B on her math test. I am a girl who has two holes on the inside of her arm, but they do not tell the whole story of me. This book left me feeling hollow. By this I mean that it hit me so hard in so many different ways that I now feel emptied out. Saying it is "sad" is not enough. "Horrifying" is closer to the truth, but that seems too sensational. When I wake up, all my friends are dead. Heroine starts with ^this arresting sentence that grabbed my attention and made my jaw drop. Then it jumps back in time. The following build-up to the horror you know is coming is a quiet, introspective slippery slope. It's about a girl with a bright future, an accident, a harmless prescription that became not enough, just one more, denial, just two more, lying, more and more, stealing. All building up to the inevitable climax.The book comes with a trigger warning and recovering addicts should heed it. There are details about needles and the process of drug use, but also - and I think this is the most emotionally-challenging thing of all - a close look at the mental place Mickey finds herself in. It is very easy to understand how drugs become an attractive option to her, and how it escalates into an obsession, followed by lying to her family, her friends, and herself.McGinnis doesn't go easy on us. She does not sugarcoat the horrible lengths Mickey will go to for her next fix. The author is neither finger-wagging in her attitude to drugs, nor simplistic in the portrayal of Mickey herself. Though I found Mickey a highly sympathetic character, you can also see how she alienates those around her through her actions. I felt a little panicked as I followed Mickey on her downward spiral. This smart girl with a promising softball career ahead of her... seeing her life fall apart, piece by small piece, is terrifying. Her addiction steals her sense of morality, of right and wrong. The relief she feels over getting new pills eclipses any shame or guilt she might have otherwise felt.I also really appreciated all the nuanced relationships in the book. Mickey is adopted and her adoptive parents are divorced after her father had an affair. Now he is having a baby with his new wife and this causes complications between them all, but I think it is done very well. I especially liked the strange and begrudging mutual respect that grows between Mickey's mom and her dad's new wife, Devra. The friendships that are made and the ones that fall apart over the course of the novel are complex and feel real, too.Also, I'd just like to say that I really like how McGinnis constantly tries new things with her writing. She doesn't stick to trends, but instead writes unique and interesting stories. Few authors do this. Patrick Ness is another one. Of course this means her books can be hit and miss for me, but I really appreciate the attempt to go somewhere new. I highly recommend Heroine for contemporary fans who are in a good mental place.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    This book was heavy, but SO good. Wow.TW: extremely realistic & descriptive drug use (anyone recovering from addiction should proceed with caution)
  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    "When I wake up, all my friends are dead."This book is pain. You know what you're in for right from the start, the prologue makes sure of that. It all starts with pain medication after an accident. From there on, you will watch the main character bury herself in a grave of pills, needles, lies and betrayal, so deep she might never get out. 95% of the book is a downward spiral. And the things is, you just don't know if she can dig herself out again. If you have read a McGinnis novel before, you k "When I wake up, all my friends are dead."This book is pain. You know what you're in for right from the start, the prologue makes sure of that. It all starts with pain medication after an accident. From there on, you will watch the main character bury herself in a grave of pills, needles, lies and betrayal, so deep she might never get out. 95% of the book is a downward spiral. And the things is, you just don't know if she can dig herself out again. If you have read a McGinnis novel before, you know it's entirely possible that the ending will only mean more pain. Or death. Both are legitimate possibilities.I'll be honest here: this is my least favourite of Mindy's books and I have a pretty good theory why that's so. I blame Mickey, the main character. She is a distant person, someone who only ever seems to know who she is when she is on the field playing softball - or when she is using. But when she isn't, she is a quiet person who doesn't know what to say or how to behave. Which I usually don't mind. Just because you're not an outgoing person, it doesn't mean you have nothing to say. But you see the world through Mickey's eyes and it all feels distant and too far away.I only really enjoyed the parts of the book where Mickey hangs out with her best friend, when the plot actually moves forward, when things are happening. Because that's the thing, nothing much happened apart from Mickey falling deeper and deeper into her drug addiction. Of course, that's the whole point of the book: to depict the reality of someone who relies on drugs, who becomes an addict, who doesn't (want to) see another way out. (This, of course, is not applicable to everyone. It only shows an example of what addiction can look like.) But that doesn't mean that the book has to be so devoid of colour. Because Mindy McGinnis can write breathtaking stories, she can construct the most fascinating characters. It showed in the prologue, it showed in the first few chapters, it showed in the last few chapters. But the pages in between couldn't hook me as much.I also need to add that I struggled to read some parts of the book, especially those that show the drug use in close detail. I just hate talk about needles and veins - it makes me feel sick. But that doesn't have any influence on my rating, I simply can't handle these things very well.My review shouldn't discourage you, though. If the blurb speaks to you and if you want to know more, read it. It's a tough book, and I'm sure it took a lot of effort to write it. I'm already anxiously waiting for Mindy's next book. I can't wait to hear what she's got up her sleeve.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Trina (Between Chapters)
    January 1, 1970
    4/14/19 - Upped my rating to 5 stars (from 4) because of how much this has stuck with me in the months since I read it. It's completely informed my perception of addiction portrayal in everything I've read since, and so far it's standing out as a favorite of the year.------------------------------This was uncomfortable to read and I hated what was happening at times, but I have been discussing this book with people I know who with addiction recovery, which has really helped me process my feeling 4/14/19 - Upped my rating to 5 stars (from 4) because of how much this has stuck with me in the months since I read it. It's completely informed my perception of addiction portrayal in everything I've read since, and so far it's standing out as a favorite of the year.------------------------------This was uncomfortable to read and I hated what was happening at times, but I have been discussing this book with people I know who with addiction recovery, which has really helped me process my feelings and form a deep respect for this book. It portrays addiction and withdrawal brutally, but without reducing the character to a stereotype. I believe the intent is to humanize people with substance use disorders to people unfamiliar with addiction.Aside from how it handles the topic, I also really enjoyed the flow of the writing. I've read all of Mindy's books and while this isn't my favorite story, this has my favorite writing of her 3 contemporaries so far. It's easy to read and Mickey is a well developed character and you can really empathize with her hopes and worries.tw: The book starts with this warning: "This book contains realistic depictions of opioid use. Recovered and recovering addicts should proceed with caution." PLEASE heed this warning. There is detailed use of pills, snorting, and needles. The drugs shown are Oxy and heroin. There is a car accident, injury, and brief hospitalization. There is also quite a bit of page time given to discussing poop, which felt appropriate due to the portrayal of withdrawal, but I know that's a squeamish thing for some.*An ARC was provided to me by the publisher. My opinions are my own.*
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    hey Mindy thanks for saving my life
  • Noa ☁️
    January 1, 1970
    tw: addiction, substance abuse (heroine, oxy). Heroine is REALLY GRAPHIC and I urge you NOT TO READ THIS if you’re not in a good place.(ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review)I honestly don't know if I have the words right now. This was... heartbreaking, raw, sad and yet hopeful ? Heroine tells the story of Mickey, a softball player, who gets into a car accident. An “innocent” prescription of Oxycontin makes Mickey want to “chase the dragon” meaning she wants to feel again the tw: addiction, substance abuse (heroine, oxy). Heroine is REALLY GRAPHIC and I urge you NOT TO READ THIS if you’re not in a good place.​(ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review)I honestly don't know if I have the words right now. This was... heartbreaking, raw, sad and yet hopeful ? Heroine tells the story of Mickey, a softball player, who gets into a car accident. An “innocent” prescription of Oxycontin makes Mickey want to “chase the dragon” meaning she wants to feel again the bliss of taking that first pill. But it’s never enough.Heroine was a hard book to read for me. It’s raw and brutal. I’m not used to reading heavy-themed books, so this was kind of a first for me. Diving into Mickey’s universe was, uncomfortable and felt wrong but I strongly believe that this is one of the reasons why this book is good.💫Full review posted on my blog💫
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsMindy McGinnis is one of the most versatile and consistently amazing writers I know of. All of her books are stunning and range from a little dark to SUPER DARK, all while being some of the best teen literature I’ve ever read. Somehow, she effortlessly gets to the root of something with a narrative style that fits the story, and her latest novel, Heroine, was no exception to this streak of consistently great books. Honestly? Heroine is the darkest, scariest book Mindy’s written that I’ve 4 starsMindy McGinnis is one of the most versatile and consistently amazing writers I know of. All of her books are stunning and range from a little dark to SUPER DARK, all while being some of the best teen literature I’ve ever read. Somehow, she effortlessly gets to the root of something with a narrative style that fits the story, and her latest novel, Heroine, was no exception to this streak of consistently great books. Honestly? Heroine is the darkest, scariest book Mindy’s written that I’ve read. What makes it so scary is that it’s so real–it’s happening to regular people in our modern world, and that makes it 100x more of a gut-punch than any fantasy novel. Heroine is dark. It’s gruesome. It’s really really really scary. And it’s real.Heroine starts out with Mickey Catalan–regular teen in a small town, hoping to get a scholarship for softball, which is a huge part of her life. And then she gets in a car crash and is prescribed Oxy. And then she wants more. And then and then and then and then. The way McGinnis sets this up is what ultimately makes this so relatable–and therefore more emotional–for the reader. It’s just Mickey, softball player. She knows about the opioid epidemic in her town, but that’s not her.And slowly, very slowly throughout the book, we see Mickey become addicted. To Oxy, and then heroin. It happens so naturally, so subtly, over a series of justifications, that you can’t help but look back and go “Wow. I never would have known.” In the end, Mickey’s best friend Carolina who was in the crash with her asks “Why you and not me?” And there’s no good answer to that, and Mickey doesn’t have one either. This is what makes this book so frightening (but wholly necessary). It brings the reader–who might ~know~ about this, but don’t empathize–so much closer to what addiction is like and how it happens. I fully admit that I live a very sheltered life and although I ~know~ about addiction and drugs through education, I’ve never been exposed to it. And Mickey wasn’t either. That’s what scared out of my pants by this book. There’s no formula to how addiction works, and suddenly everything became more personal. Although Heroine‘s goal isn’t to teach–it brought the topic so much closer to the reader. It made them understand Mickey’s shoes and how it can happen. That is what I believe is this book’s greatest triumph. And it’s a damn good story, too. I do have to add that the reason I took off a star is in part because I have to be able to differentiate McGinnis’ work (if I five star all of them, you’ll never know which I like best?) and also because a few of the hints McGinnis dropped along the way read a little too obvious to me. (A minor qualm, really.)I’d put this tied in second place with Given to the Sea, with first being The Female of the Species and third being A Madness So Discreet. Ultimately, I cannot attest to the accuracy of Heroine, although people I know who have been personally affected by addiction and have talked about how great this was, so I like to think McGinnis did a good job of portraying it.(Also, I really love what Erin Fitzsimmons did with the cover and Heroine/Heroin/Her!)So overall, this was great. Which I totally expected. I just never expected how hard this book would hit me. Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!--initial thoughts upon finishing:okay wow that was very scary and very intensenot sure what to rate it yet and it's one of mcginnis' darker books so just be prepared if you intend to read!!!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    UGH, EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS COVER IS JUST :HEART EYES:Also, no idea how she does it but I love the subjects she tackles in her books from a cli-fi about water scarcity to a historical YA about lobotomies to rape culture and now drug addiction. In other words, I stan one (1) Mindy McGinnis
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  • Madalyn (Novel Ink)
    January 1, 1970
    This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: addiction; opioid addiction; extensive drug use (opioid pills, heroin), described in detail; overdose; withdrawal; death; car accident; needles; vomiting**Please use caution going into this review and/or this book if you are a recovered or recovering addict. This book contains content that could be e This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warnings: addiction; opioid addiction; extensive drug use (opioid pills, heroin), described in detail; overdose; withdrawal; death; car accident; needles; vomiting**Please use caution going into this review and/or this book if you are a recovered or recovering addict. This book contains content that could be extremely triggering.**Mindy McGinnis is an author who I typically find very hit-or-miss, but her contemporaries always make me think and always tackle difficult subject matter with nuance. Heroine is no exception. In Heroine, McGinnis paints a harrowing and all-too-real picture of the US’s opioid crisis, the myriad types of people affected, and the complexity of the issue itself.We follow Mickey Catalan, a high school softball star in her small Midwestern town. At the beginning of the book, Mickey is driving with her best friend and fellow softball teammate, Carolina, in the passenger seat, when the two are involved in a nasty car crash that leaves both of them severely injured and puts their futures in jeopardy. Mickey, unable to play or condition during her recovery from surgery and learning to live with three new screws holding her hip together, quickly becomes dependent on her Oxycontin prescription to get through each day. What begins as a quick fix for Mickey to escape her problems soon spirals into full-blown addiction.I should say early in this review that I have personally never dealt with addiction, so take all of my thoughts on its portrayal in this story with a grain of salt. However, I think Heroine succeeded in capturing many of the thought processes of an addict. Throughout the book, Mickey justifies her drug use because she’s “not like other addicts”– she was first prescribed the drug completely legally, after all, unlike her newfound Oxy-using friends, who she continually demeans because they began using the drug recreationally. We see the victim-blaming narrative play out in Mickey’s inner monologue, even though she is in exactly the same situation as her fellow addicts. It may be cliche, but it’s true: the first step is admitting you have a problem, and Mickey is in deep, deep denial throughout this story.We see Mickey start to slip away from her friend group and her softball team as she spends more and more time using with her new group of friends. She steals from her mom and stepmom in order to buy more drugs. When Mickey and her friends’ source of Oxycontin is no longer a viable option, they switch to easier-to-access heroin with almost no hesitation. Through all these things, Heroine truly captures the desperation addicts feel and the ways in which addiction can take over your life and your thoughts. It’s difficult to witness as a reader, because all the bad parts of addiction Mickey experiences feel so inevitable from the outside. However, reading from Mickey’s first-person perspective perfectly illustrates how people fall into addiction and why it feels to impossible to escape from the depths of it.Mickey is no stranger to the opioid crisis– it’s taken over in her town, to the point where everyone knows someone affected– and yet that doesn’t stop her own dependency on the drug from happening. Heroine shows how, really, this can happen to anyone. As I mentioned, Mickey is originally prescribed Oxycontin completely legally, and it’s all too easy for her to access the drug even once her prescription runs out. I think this book illustrates some of the irresponsibility on the part of doctors and drug companies in prescribing opioids.While I do think the portrayal of addiction in Heroine, though difficult to read, is a necessary one, the reason I can’t rate this book higher boils down to the complete and utter lack of connection I felt to all the characters in this story. We don’t get to spend any time with Mickey as a character before the car accident, so her whole personality in this book is her becoming a drug addict. We are continually told about her personality before the accident, but we’re never shown it, so it’s almost impossible to feel a real connection with her as a character. Additionally, her parents, softball teammates, user friends, and all other side characters in this story all felt like characters whose sole roles in this book were to further the events of Mickey’s plot– none of them felt like fully fleshed-out characters in their own right. I think this did a disservice to the book overall.In short, this was a powerful read about a subject I’m glad YA is tackling, but don’t expect to find your new favorite characters in this story.
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  • Sylvie
    January 1, 1970
    4.25/5 starsThis was very intense and realistic story.review to come
  • Ellen Gail
    January 1, 1970
    It's 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up. It's dark and I'm driving exactly the speed limit, because I am a good girl. I am a student athlete and the catcher for an undefeated softball team and a senior who needs to get a good night's sleep before her last league game.....I am not an addict. I have a LOT of thoughts on this one, but I need to say this one first, and say it very loudly: Mickey's mother is one of my all time favorite fictional moms. I LOVE HER.Don't worry I'll say it again, I'm sure.I It's 3.5 stars, but I'm rounding up. It's dark and I'm driving exactly the speed limit, because I am a good girl. I am a student athlete and the catcher for an undefeated softball team and a senior who needs to get a good night's sleep before her last league game.....I am not an addict. I have a LOT of thoughts on this one, but I need to say this one first, and say it very loudly: Mickey's mother is one of my all time favorite fictional moms. I LOVE HER.Don't worry I'll say it again, I'm sure.I can't believe this is only my second Mindy McGinnis, the other one being Not a Drop to Drink. She's wonderfully talented.The story at the core of Heroine is pretty straightforward. Girl gets injured, girl gets prescribed powerful painkillers, girl ends up with an opiate addiction.So you know where the story is going from the get go. (view spoiler)[Not to mention that scene of a mass overdose that gets spoiled during the prologue. Which I didn't love. The scene is fine, but I don't think the story benefits at all from the placement. (hide spoiler)]Heroine doesn't deliver grand surprises, but is chock full of nuanced characters and emotionally layered writing.Also, shout out to the AWESOME dear reader / dedication included in the ARC, which I dearly hope made it to the final print. It warns the reader without being like 'omg, my story is so dark and messed up, sensitive people need not apply.' Because I hate those kinds of disclaimers, the ones that write off any criticism by saying the reader must not be able to handle it or it's too mature for them. Lemme shout loud and proud:But this touching and honest advisory passes my test.Lets talk about Mickey's mom. Because she is one of the greatest book parents I've read. Annette is a tiny blonde OBGYN, who loves her adopted daughter Mickey fiercely. She's divorced, but teams up with her ex-husband when Mickey is badly injured in a car accident. She does her best to get along with Devra, the second wife, but can't hide her sadness at seeing Devra's pregnant belly that she herself will never have. She embarrasses her daughter with "Netflix and chili" jokes! Her vibe is very similar to Olive Penderghast's parents. The tone of Heroine is a little more serious for obvious reasons, but the comparison stands. And if you don't know who I'm talking about, I suggest you watch Easy A immediately. I'm doing things I usually wouldn't, saying things I normally couldn't.Right now, I'm not me.And I'm so damn happy. Heroine does a great job detailing exactly how an addiction happens. No one starts out taking painkillers and saying, "whelp, I guess I'd better get addicted to these now!" It just slowly becomes more and more, one more pill, I don't need them, I just need them for now, just two more.The story makes you feel the increasing desperation, the bliss that comes with falling into that opioid haze, and the wedge it drives between people, between life as you once knew it. There was no coasting through this book. I do wish we'd gotten a chapter or two of Mickey's life before the accident, or even flashbacks. Yes, I connected emotionally to the story, but not necessary to Mickey herself. I felt deeply for what was happening, but not so much for who it was happening to. Does that make any sense at all? Maybe. Just pretend it does. There are no tears here, no room for anything other than the feeling that everything is all right, and always will be, and always has been. I can't say Heroine knocked my socks off, but it did lots of things very well - realism, impactful storytelling, and lovely writing. There were some drawbacks, but looking at the big picture, it's a finely told tale of a horrible thing.*Quotes taken from proof copy and subject to change.Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for the drc!*
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  • Madison (life uh finds a way)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow wow wow. If you're in a good and healthy mental state please read this book. It's so eye opening and heart breaking.
  • Adah Udechukwu
    January 1, 1970
    Heroine was an inspiring read. Addictions are bad is a lesson to be learnt from the novel. If you do not control yourself and your addiction your life will be fucked up real bad.
  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Never let it be said that McGinnis takes the easy way out in her books. Each one, at least those that I've read, handles something different and, usually, very dark. HEROINE tackles the opioid crisis through the lens of an injured sports star who is desperate to return to her previous incarnation as strong, capable, and on the fast track.I could absolutely appreciate (whilst also being mostly terrified) of this downward spiral and the desperation that Mickey was driven to just to dull the pain, Never let it be said that McGinnis takes the easy way out in her books. Each one, at least those that I've read, handles something different and, usually, very dark. HEROINE tackles the opioid crisis through the lens of an injured sports star who is desperate to return to her previous incarnation as strong, capable, and on the fast track.I could absolutely appreciate (whilst also being mostly terrified) of this downward spiral and the desperation that Mickey was driven to just to dull the pain, just to be able to get out of bed, just to be ready for the season. To have a future. But I found it very hard to like the journey, and not just because of the topic. Mickey was a challenging character to like because, even before her addition, she was kind of awkward and kind of uncertain about her place in the world and only really had one thing going for her : softball. And it was because of all that which drove her to push harder on the drugs, to do desperate things, because she initially rationalized it for the good of her family, her team. Until she no longer rationalized at all.The middle of the story dragged quite a bit but the opening of the story is explosive in a way that pushes you on to see where things went to get to that point. And I wanted a happy ending. I know many users don't have one and I wondered if McGinnis would challenge us with a challenging, but real, ending. I wanted to know. And no, I'm not telling you either way.So, again, did I like the book? No. But it's a brutal and no-holds-barred reflection on the reality of so many people. And I think that's worth the experience.** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Milena
    January 1, 1970
    I have no sympathy whatsoever for junkies (being raised by one may have to be the reason), and I have even less sympathy for writers who have no idea what the hell are they talking about.
  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    "Sometimes it's hard to decide what's the worst thing I ever did." This was a hard book to read. Mickey feels like any sports-obsessed high school girl, like she could be real and out there. And to a degree, she is. Addiction is an epidemic in America, and it's destroying people's lives every day. Books like Heroine give a face to a disease that is easy to dehumanize. You don't think it could ever be someone you know, or a relative, or even yourself. Mickey thought the same. Seeing her rational "Sometimes it's hard to decide what's the worst thing I ever did." This was a hard book to read. Mickey feels like any sports-obsessed high school girl, like she could be real and out there. And to a degree, she is. Addiction is an epidemic in America, and it's destroying people's lives every day. Books like Heroine give a face to a disease that is easy to dehumanize. You don't think it could ever be someone you know, or a relative, or even yourself. Mickey thought the same. Seeing her rationalize her growing addiction, making excuse after excuse... it hits home how someone can become so caught up in drugs that they change their whole life and personality just to chase that high. Plus this book is set in my home state of Ohio, where heroine use kills people every single day. And this narrative makes it clear that it can happen (or be currently happening) to anyone - no one is safe when they can get drugs like these from their doctor's office. One character points out the fact that oxycodone has the same molecular structure as heroine. That a life-ending addiction can be started at the prescription counter is a terrifying and sobering thought.Heroine is a book about how addiction isn't just relegated to people that the populace consider 'druggies' - it's happening in our parks and public spaces, to people who seem 'normal', and we all need to be aware. 4.25/5, well written and definitely worth your time.
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  • Jaye Berry
    January 1, 1970
    This was so sad and soul-crushing that I'm suing Mindy McGinnis for emotional damages. This book comes with a trigger warning for extremely realistic drug use. And it doesn't take that trigger warning lightly. This book is dark and messed up, so avoid if you aren't in a good headspace.When star athlete Mickey gets sidelined after a car accident before softball season, she refuses to give up and let her spot as catcher go to someone else. Behind the plate is the only place she's felt like she's b This was so sad and soul-crushing that I'm suing Mindy McGinnis for emotional damages. This book comes with a trigger warning for extremely realistic drug use. And it doesn't take that trigger warning lightly. This book is dark and messed up, so avoid if you aren't in a good headspace.When star athlete Mickey gets sidelined after a car accident before softball season, she refuses to give up and let her spot as catcher go to someone else. Behind the plate is the only place she's felt like she's belonged and the prescribed painkillers help her stay there. The pills don't just take away the pain though, they make her feel good. With a new circle of other injured athletes and people who are just bored, Mickey finds acceptance where it's easy to talk about anything and everything, even if it's just the pills. As the pressure to be the star athlete gets worse, her need increases and can send her spiraling out of control.Jesus, this is some hard-hitting stuff. It's so tragic and gives such a hopeless feeling, even days later. The audiobook was really fantastic and this story is well written and told but damn, it really hits. This book had the same heartbreaking energy as The Female of the Species so at least she's staying on track. I think the part that just really got me the most was while people die and suffer in fantasy books, it is still fantasy but everything in this book could happen to anyone you know. You're not going to get eaten by a dragon in real life (sadly) but you can sure get addicted to some bad things.The first person POV shows us Mickey's every emotion and seeing her justify and rationalize her actions as everything falls out of control is heartbreaking. To watch her complete downward spiral into hard drugs was terrible, and honestly horrifying. This book never holds back; it gets gross and messy but is never seen as "if you do weed once you'll die" sort of school age scare tactic. Mickey's situation is all too real and I felt so sorry for her.Very important, very well done but again, soul-crushing. Highly recommend if you're into feeling dead inside after reading a book.
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  • PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
    January 1, 1970
    Mickey fractures her hip just a few months before senior year softball season. After one prescription of OxyContin, she’s hooked. Good thing she has it under control. She’s not an addict like Josie, the girl who gives her pills. She can stop any time she wants. Mickey just needs to be ready for spring training. She’d never crush and snort the pills. Until she does. She’d never mix them with water and shoot them into her veins. Until she does. She’d never switch to heroin. She can stop any time s Mickey fractures her hip just a few months before senior year softball season. After one prescription of OxyContin, she’s hooked. Good thing she has it under control. She’s not an addict like Josie, the girl who gives her pills. She can stop any time she wants. Mickey just needs to be ready for spring training. She’d never crush and snort the pills. Until she does. She’d never mix them with water and shoot them into her veins. Until she does. She’d never switch to heroin. She can stop any time she wants.HEROINE sent chills through my body from start to finish. I wanted to climb into my Kindle and stop Mickey from taking that first extra pill. I was the kid who listened to the Don’t Do Drugs lectures and took them seriously. I tell doctors I don’t want pain meds after surgery. I make the nurses remove the morphine drip the minute I’m lucid. I don’t fill pain med prescriptions. I’ve never had a substance abuse problem because Mickey is my nightmare. I’m lucky those lectures scared me so much, because I can see myself, in Mickey’s shoes, becoming her. Mindy McGinnis has her pulse on the heart and mind of a teen who falls into addiction. She’s seventeen. Goal oriented. Softball. College scholarship. She knows her body better than the doctors the way most teenagers know more than adults. Nothing bad will happen because bad things happen to other people. Addiction happens to other people.HEROINE should be required reading for teenagers, their teachers, coaches and parents. Anyone could become Mickey. Those of us who don’t have more fortunate DNA and get scared by cautionary tales. We are the lucky ones.
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  • Kim Friant
    January 1, 1970
    Whoa. Mindy McGinnis does it yet again! No one captures inner darkness like Mindy. And did she do it in Heroine. I can’t say I like it better than This Darkness Mine, but this one is definitely the most realistic of all her books. Now y’all know that I’m very tough on characters, especially the teens. I expected to go after Mickey. I am an incredibly addictive person and let’s be honest, narcotics are amazing. I absolutely love opiates. The morphine I got after my appendectomy made me fly 5 feet Whoa. Mindy McGinnis does it yet again! No one captures inner darkness like Mindy. And did she do it in Heroine. I can’t say I like it better than This Darkness Mine, but this one is definitely the most realistic of all her books. Now y’all know that I’m very tough on characters, especially the teens. I expected to go after Mickey. I am an incredibly addictive person and let’s be honest, narcotics are amazing. I absolutely love opiates. The morphine I got after my appendectomy made me fly 5 feet off my bed and I enjoyed every second. I got this huge bottle of oxycodone to take home with me. I barely made a dent in the bottle and it now sits in our medicine cabinet, still full. The only time I’m allowed to take a pill is when I have to have my mouth numbed at the dentist’s office. About a year ago, I had a root canal and I was numbed up big time, so I took one pill. The thought entered my mind that once Ivan went to work, I could totally take another pill, even though the numb had worn off. I wasn’t even scared by that thought. When Ivan went to work, I didn’t take another pill. Ever since then, I have been heavily critical of addicts. I’m not talking about people who get hooked on their legal prescriptions that their doctor went crazy with. I mean the addicts who get the illegal stuff. Mickey is that kind of addict, so I was all set. Gonna be tough on her, gonna criticize, gonna shake my head. I didn’t do all that to the degree that I was expecting. Of course I shook my head, cuz this girl decided to risk her future, her life, her everything to chase the dragon. Teens are stupid, we already knew that. But McGinnis broke down the process so well, that I felt far more sympathy than I did judgement. I did judge her parents tho. Who the hell leaves prescription drugs on their kid’s nightstand???? Unsupervised??? In this day and age?????? Morons. But I really did like this book. A lot. I absolutely recommend this book to older teens. McGinnis gives a true to life look at addiction and the drugs themselves. She didn’t shy away from talking about how great the drugs feel. She also didn’t shy away from the overall effects and the consequences. Obviously, I wouldn’t give this book to younger kids. But the older teens could definitely benefit from it. An excellent book; high five, Mindy McGinnis!
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  • Dylan
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 150/286.I don't typically rate my DNFs, but dear god was this terrible. Every other page, the main character brings up the fact that she's adopted when it has NOTHING !! to do with the story, the writing is incredibly clunky and needs to be edited down more, the dialogue is terrible, and I started to skim read because nothing at all interesting was happening.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 starsHeroine is a Young Adult contemporary novel that I would classify as realistic fiction. The narrator is Mickey Catalan (1st person POV). She is a high school senior and a star softball player (she is the team's catcher).This book was so good. I read it in one day. It is not a particularly happy read. This book deals with a very serious and important subject. But it is a book that everyone should read.The book starts with a prologue set a few months before chapter one. The prologue was 4.5/5 starsHeroine is a Young Adult contemporary novel that I would classify as realistic fiction. The narrator is Mickey Catalan (1st person POV). She is a high school senior and a star softball player (she is the team's catcher).This book was so good. I read it in one day. It is not a particularly happy read. This book deals with a very serious and important subject. But it is a book that everyone should read.The book starts with a prologue set a few months before chapter one. The prologue was haunting and sets the stage for the rest of the story.Chapter one begins with Mickey getting into a car accident. She is prescribed pills. This is the beginning of the journey the author takes us on.I liked the format of the story. The chapters were super short. But often a lot happened in each one.This is a harrowing and powerful look at a very difficult subject. This is such an important book. It made me feel a lot of compassion for people who are in excruciating pain. They are being prescribed addictive pills. And it is easy to see how things could go wrong.I have read a bunch of books by this author. She writes different and meaningful books. But they often have crazy endings. This one was different and meaningful. But it was much easier to relate to. This book was riveting. This story felt so real. While reading Heroine I could definitely see how it would be so easy for this story to happen.This book is haunting, disturbing and upsetting. But it is a must read Young Adult book.Thanks to edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for allowing me to read this book.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    When Mickey and her best friend Carolina -- two star players on their high school softball team -- are in a car accident, both receive injuries that could compromise their upcoming season. Carolina suffers an arm injury, while Mickey sustains an injury to her hip so traumatic it needs to be pinned back together. The recovery prognosis isn’t especially great for Mickey in terms of being ready for the upcoming -- her final -- season. But she’s bound and determined to get better.To handle the pain, When Mickey and her best friend Carolina -- two star players on their high school softball team -- are in a car accident, both receive injuries that could compromise their upcoming season. Carolina suffers an arm injury, while Mickey sustains an injury to her hip so traumatic it needs to be pinned back together. The recovery prognosis isn’t especially great for Mickey in terms of being ready for the upcoming -- her final -- season. But she’s bound and determined to get better.To handle the pain, her doctor prescribes Mickey OxyContin. It makes Mickey feel great. So great, in fact, that when she has a follow-up evaluation of her injury, she asks for a refill. Mickey’s come to believe that it’s the Oxy which is helping her recovery, as she’s pushing herself to do a little more than she should each day, the hopes of the upcoming season driving her. The doctor tells Mickey she can’t have a refill and she’s upset. Until she meets a woman who can help her out.McGinnis’s portrayal of one teen’s experience becoming addicted to opioids is anxiety producing in a way that feels all-too-real. Mickey’s addiction is hard to read, especially knowing everything she’s losing in the process of pursuing her drug of choice. It makes her feel great, but she loses her friends, her family, and ultimately, her ability to be a key player on her softball team her senior year. This isn’t an easy read in any capacity, but it’s an eye-opening one and one that really drives home the fact that addiction to opioids can happen to anyone. McGinnis has a great author’s note that explains a bit, too, about why it is some of those who take Oxy become addicted while others do not.The small town setting, Mickey’s identity as an adoptee, and the ways that the pursuit of OxyContin can turn into a full-blown heroin addiction are well-rendered. This isn’t a book for addicts or recovering addicts or anyone triggered by these, which is noted immediately at the start of the book. Powerful, unfortunately necessary, and a book that I hope really gets people talking. Addiction to opioids and a situation relating to “bad drugs,” which comes up later in the book, are both things that have touched people I love personally. I hate how necessary this book is, but so appreciate how well McGinnis handled it. The ending feels a little rushed, with many months moving in mere pages, but because the focus of the story is the addiction itself and not the recovery, this isn't a detriment to the overall book.
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  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    Mindy McGinnis paints a strong, well-researched portrait of the spiral into addiction, but the characters themselves are not all that compelling on their own. While this novel has plenty of nuance, it was pretty middle of the road for me overall.
  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    January 1, 1970
    HOT DAMNI am at a loss for just how effing good this was. I won't be over this for a long, long time.
  • Sarah {Literary Meanderings}
    January 1, 1970
    ♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings- - - When I wake up, all my friends are dead. Mindy McGinnis is an auto-buy author for me, and this book is a prime example of why. She knows how to grip me from page one and keep me hooked 'til the very last page.Heroine blew me away. The book opens up with a glimpse into the future of the story, but chapter one starts out with a terrible car accident. Mickey and her best friend (and softball teammate) are severely injured—Mickey, our MC, gets the ♥ Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings- - - When I wake up, all my friends are dead. Mindy McGinnis is an auto-buy author for me, and this book is a prime example of why. She knows how to grip me from page one and keep me hooked 'til the very last page.Heroine blew me away. The book opens up with a glimpse into the future of the story, but chapter one starts out with a terrible car accident. Mickey and her best friend (and softball teammate) are severely injured—Mickey, our MC, gets the worst of it. She ends up with three screws in her broken hip and laid up in bed two months before spring training. Mickey is frustrated and feels as if her best friend, Carolina, blames her for the wreck. Mickey struggles with her relationships at home as well, and she feels as if she has no control over her own life. Mickey quickly turns to the one thing that makes her feel better; makes her feel as if she can make it to spring training, and numbs the physical pain as well as the emotional—Oxy. I'm a map of pain, needle pricks you could connect all over my skin...I'm not taking Oxy because it makes me feel good.I'm taking it for other people. Mickey quickly realizes her prescription is not enough and seeks out other—illegal—sources. She slowly, but steadily, tumbles down the rabbit hole of addiction. She finds new people to hang around with, and although she feels as if they are her friends, like they understand her, they only seem to be around when there are drugs involved. In no time at all, Mickey moves from Oxy to heroine.This story is just amazing. I haven't read a teen addiction story that really gripped me like this one did. Mindy McGinnis is a fucking genius. I bow down to her storytelling. It's a slow-burn, but it holds onto you like nothing else. I LOVE HER BOOKS. This book was no exception. Watching Mickey fall down further and further as she tried to get up was an emotional experience for me, and this is because it's something people go through every single day; it's a real thing. Addiction is a disease and it doesn't discriminate. I think Mindy did a wonderful job of presenting a true look into what addiction can be like; it isn't a decision someone makes. I love love love the insight in this book, and in Mickey's journey.I also appreciated that the end wasn't really a happily-ever-after. I won't give away the details, but it is, again, a true portrayal of addiction. You don't go to a rehab center and get “cured”. It is a lifelong struggle/decision to never go back to your vice, and that is reflected in Heroine. Amazing storytelling!Overall, this book was perfection. Mindy McGinnis really has done it again, but I'm honestly not surprised. She does contemporary so very well. This book has highs and lows, and it has feeling and intensity. It is an honest look into what addiction can look like from many angles, and how it can happen to almost anyone, even if you've never even thought to expect it. I loved the characters and found them to be multidimensional. The story kept me on my toes and wanting more. There is some sensitive content, obviously, but this is still an important book. I recommend it for all!- - -Book source: Via publisher for reviewPublisher: Katherine Tegen Books• For more of my reviews, check out my blog!
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight When I wake up, all my friends are dead. Well. That's how you start a book. I mean, talk about grabbing me from the start! Not that it even needed to, because I'd read Mindy McGinnis's shopping list, so. Okay look, I think it's pretty clear by the subject matter, synopsis, and first line that this book is going to be dark as hell. But also, most of Mindy's stuff is, so again, no surpr You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight When I wake up, all my friends are dead. Well. That's how you start a book. I mean, talk about grabbing me from the start! Not that it even needed to, because I'd read Mindy McGinnis's shopping list, so. Okay look, I think it's pretty clear by the subject matter, synopsis, and first line that this book is going to be dark as hell. But also, most of Mindy's stuff is, so again, no surprise.We meet Mickey, after that killer (ha, sorry, had to) opening, as her car crashes. And then we travel to actual hell and back with her. Mickey's life completely revolves around softball. This is something I wholly related to, as my entire world from the ages of 7-20 revolved around swimming. Mickey would have done straight up anything to keep playing softball, and I feel like I'd have done the same. I think a lot of athletes can relate to Mickey's situation- who among us hasn't pushed through injuries we shouldn't? Only, Mickey's is worse than tendinitis or some such problem, Mickey's is legit life-changing surgery.So, she does what she has to. And this is where the author excels, at making it wholly believable that this kid who has spent her whole life otherwise on the straight-and-narrow is now a drug addict. Sure, it starts out as a prescription, which is often the case. And then... it morphs into something more sinister. Truly, it's such an important message. Drug addicts are often looked down upon, when in reality, it can happen to any of us. The book not only explores Mickey's addiction, but it explores every other aspect of her life.  Friendships (both her teammates pre-accident, and new friends post-accident), are incredibly fleshed out. And the drug-addicted friends, even the dealers, are as a whole a very likable bunch! The destruction of stereotypes here is not only refreshing, but incredibly important. None of these people are monsters, they have a legitimate illness. It also explores Mickey's family dynamics in-depth, in a way that feels incredibly honest and realistic.I only had one issue that saved this from being a full five-star for me. 'Tis spoilery, so proceed with caution! (view spoiler)[So we know from the first page that her friends are dead. But the book doesn't end at their death, it delves deeper into her recovery. And while I fully understand why she is in panic/self-preservation mode at the time of their death (this isn't a spoiler by the way- it's in the first chapter) why she never fully seems to like, grieve them confuses me. Like- she feels bad, yes. Survivor's guilt, yes. But the actual feelings for them seem missing, and I feel like as she recovered, she'd have to deal with a LOT of residual feelings? But anyway, yeah, after spending a huge chunk of the book caring for these young people taken from the world too soon, I wanted Mickey to care as much as I did, I suppose. (hide spoiler)] Bottom Line: Dark, compelling, timely, and wholly necessary, this is a book that will break your heart as you weave your way through Mickey's life- and start to care for all the players.
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  • Neville Longbottom
    January 1, 1970
    When I wake up, all my friends are dead. So goes the first line of Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. The story follows Mickey Catalan as she’s recovering from a car crash that threatens to keep her from playing softball. She pushes herself a little too hard in physical therapy, and takes a few more OxyContin than she’s supposed to so she can manage the pain. But when her prescription runs out early she has to find other ways of getting the pills she has become dependent on... Emotionally, this is a to When I wake up, all my friends are dead. So goes the first line of Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. The story follows Mickey Catalan as she’s recovering from a car crash that threatens to keep her from playing softball. She pushes herself a little too hard in physical therapy, and takes a few more OxyContin than she’s supposed to so she can manage the pain. But when her prescription runs out early she has to find other ways of getting the pills she has become dependent on... Emotionally, this is a tough book to read. It’s hard to watch the main character spiral so far out of control while she continues to lie to herself about how bad the situation has gotten. There is a lot of graphic content in this book about different types of drugs, methods of use, their effects, withdrawal. Going in I was expecting that maybe some things would be watered down to make it “acceptable” to be in a YA book, but I definitely don’t think that happened. The book opens with a warning that recovered and recovering addicts should proceed with caution, which I think is needed.My one real complaint has to do with the progression of the story and how I felt it was a little bit unbalanced. I don’t want to give anything away so… (view spoiler)[I wish there was more time dedicated to the recovery process. Almost the entire book was Mickey spiraling downward without getting any help. I know that is realistic, I just wish the section about recovery wasn’t squeezed in at the end. I think it might have benefited from spending more time showing just how long and arduous of a process it can be to get clean. (hide spoiler)]I think this is an important story. The opioid epidemic is a massive problem in the US. Showing a story like this to younger readers can illustrate how easy it can be to get addicted to opioids. Even if it’s something that your doctor prescribes to you. If anyone is interested in learning more about the opioid epidemic I’d suggest reading Beth Macy’s book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America.
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  • Maria (Big City Bookworm)
    January 1, 1970
    Well...fuck.That was such a tough one to read. This deals with intense subject matter and contains several trigger warnings. If you have a hard time dealing with drug abuse, I highly recommend avoiding this one.Definitely one of those books that will have you thinking about it long after you've finished reading it.
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  • Nina
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. What an amazing book.I knew Mindy could write but oh wow, this was just incredible. From the VERY beginning, this book DRAWS you in and it doesn’t let go. I read the first few chapters one weekend and then life got crazy and I finished it the next weekend because I couldn’t stop. The story was engaging and honest and raw. I loved Mickey, I felt for her. I knew she was going through something horrible and having the book told from her perspective made everything even more crazy. Ev Wow. Just wow. What an amazing book.I knew Mindy could write but oh wow, this was just incredible. From the VERY beginning, this book DRAWS you in and it doesn’t let go. I read the first few chapters one weekend and then life got crazy and I finished it the next weekend because I couldn’t stop. The story was engaging and honest and raw. I loved Mickey, I felt for her. I knew she was going through something horrible and having the book told from her perspective made everything even more crazy. Everything she said made so much sense to her and I understood. I understood her story and that rarely happens. You read a story about an addict and you think, they knew better, they shouldn’t had, they had a good family, friends, a passion, so why? But with Mickey’s story you understood why she got into it. The only thing that I didn’t like was Carolina. Surprisingly because she was Puerto Rican and the representation was great but she was not a good friend in my opinion. Not only did she abandon Mickey for a BOY, she abandoned her when she found out she was an addict. I get that she was mad but it was not her place to be judgy, and believe me, I’m quite judgy, pretty much all Puerto Ricans are, but come on. Mickey did WORSE things to everyone else, but to Carolina? She didn’t do anything. Carolina got a boyfriend and hung out a FEW times with Mickey and then forgot about her. She was mad because her best friend was an addict but the few times she noticed something was wrong, she would say something and then she would let it go. She didn’t go beyond for her, specially since they were so close. And then Mickey felt bad at the end because she ruined their friendship? Um, you were dealing with an addiction and everyone else forgave you, cause you know... people make mistakes and like I said, you didn’t do anything to Carolina? I was just so mad for Mickey but I guess in some sense, it’s realistic. So I’m mad but it was just one thing and the book was so amazing.
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    4 1/2 stars RTC Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my review copy. Merged review:First, this needs a big warning.  This book is about drug addiction.  It starts with oxy and then moves on to heroin.  It gets extremely detailed, including how it is administered.  If you have addiction issues, you might not be able to read this.I love how Mindy McGinnis deals with the tough topics.  This book is a bit gritty, but in a good way.  I've never done these drugs, so I can't say how accurate ev 4 1/2 stars RTC Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my review copy. Merged review:First, this needs a big warning.  This book is about drug addiction.  It starts with oxy and then moves on to heroin.  It gets extremely detailed, including how it is administered.  If you have addiction issues, you might not be able to read this.I love how Mindy McGinnis deals with the tough topics.  This book is a bit gritty, but in a good way.  I've never done these drugs, so I can't say how accurate everything is, but it felt extremely realistic and well researched.The book starts off with Mickey waking up surrounded by 3 dead friends.   Then it goes back in time to how everything started.  Mickey and her best friend are big stars on their softball team.  They are both excited for their final season and hopefully getting scholarships.  Mickey is the catcher.  There is a car accident and both girls get hurt.Mickey's leg is messed up so much that she has surgery and screws put in.  The doctor gives her oxy for the pain.  She is given a timeline that takes her into training and she's determined to get better before then.  She won't miss her final season.  Physical therapy is painful and she finds herself taking more meds to get through it.  Then she starts to enjoy the feeling.  Not just no pain, but the floating, relaxed feeling she gets.  Mickey's doctor won't give her more pills, but an older woman overhears and gives Mickey her number in the parking lot.  Edith has pills from older patients she drives around.Mickey meets Josie at Edith's and they become friends.  A couple boys start hanging out, too, and they're doing oxy on the weekends.  But Mickey is taking it during the week, too.  She wipes out her bank account and starts to steal.  She lies to everyone around her.  They know something is different, but Mickey functions well when on oxy.  Her issues are when she doesn't have more.  The violent sickness can't be hidden.  She first swallows pills, then crushes them, snorts them, and then finally uses a needle.  Edith is running out of pills and Mickey is out of money.  Josie's sister gives them a number for her heroin dealer.  Josie explains to Mickey that oxy and heroin are basically the same drug.  After more withdrawal issues, Mickey relents and gets the heroin.Things start getting really bad.  Mickey is using more and more.  It can't be hidden much longer and she will lose everything she worked for.  She struggles a lot with being an addict.  That word bothers her, but she finally accepts it.  Mickey makes goals on when to stop the drugs, but even she knows it likely won't happen.  She gets back to the night at the beginning of the book when everyone dies.  It scares her, but not as much as being out of drugs.  This book was definitely intense at times.  The writing is excellent and I needed to find out what was going to happen to Mickey.  I think this book is so important right now when so many teenagers are dying every day from heroin overdoses.  I gave this book 4  1/2 stars (rounded up to 5).  Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my copy for review.  I will read anything Mindy McGinnis writes, but this one is a super important book that I hope everyone will read.Warnings for drug abuse, infertility, language, and overdose.
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