Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Available March 12, 2019

Reader Friends-this book is one of the most heartbreaking and intense novels I have ever read.  There are graphic depictions of drug use and overdose so take care when reading.

Opioid addiction is one of the greatest challenges this country is facing right now.  As an EMS volunteer, I have seen opioid overdoses first hand and those images will always be burned into my memory.  If you have ever wondered how anyone could end up addicted to something that we all know is extremely dangerous, and often deadly, just get an injury.  Almost any injury. It is so easy to be prescribed completely legal, and often necessary painkillers. But what happens if you’re one of the millions of people who are susceptible to addiction?  What happens when your future depends on being at your very best? Who can handle the stress of needing to be perfect in order to succeed? Not everyone, and that’s how easy it is to become a heroine addict.  

What started as a fun night of pizza and girl talk quickly takes a darker turn when their car is hit head on.  Now Mickey Catalan and best friend Carolina Galarza have been badly hurt and their future as the all-star catcher and pitcher duo  or the school’s softball team is in jeopardy. Scholarships and dreams are on the line as the two girls do their best to heal as quickly as they can for the beginning of the season.  Mickey discovers that her doctor prescribed Oxycontin provides more than just pain relief-it gives her all the warm fuzzies and makes it possible for her to go about her limited daily activities.  Her parents have secured the best doctors and physical therapists to help Mickey get well as soon as possible and the pressure to let anyone down only makes Mickey use Oxy more and more. If she doesn’t feel well enough for a therapy session then she’s wasting everyone’s time and money.  If she doesn’t heal on time she’ll lose her chance at a softball scholarship.

As the days go on and her Oxy intake increases, Mickey reminds herself that she is not an addict.  Addicts don’t go to school everyday and pass their math tests. Addicts don’t make it through spring training and physical therapy.  Addicts use illegal drugs-not ones prescribed by their doctors.

Mickey continues to tell herself this as she is forced to increase her dosage in order to stave off the pain and to provide her with the rush of warmth and fuzziness the pills provide.  She tells herself she’s not an addict as she begins to hang with the wrong crowd, lose her best friend, and as the lies begin to overwhelm her, Mickey slowly spirals out of control.

This book is incredibly well written with some of the best developed characters I’ve read in awhile.  When Mickey begins hanging out with Josie, we see another side of addiction. Josie is incredibly smart, rich, and on her way to becoming accepted into college to begin a pharmacist degree.  But she’s bored out of her mind and done with dealing with her mom and her mom’s career of marrying and divorcing men. Drugs for her are just a distraction-something to do when you’re bored.  Through Josie, Mickey begins to become close to Luther and Derrick, students at the rich kid school. Luther is also a star athlete and dabbles in Oxy when he’s with everyone, but never uses on his own.  As he becomes more attracted to Mickey, and attracted by her-her strength, her smarts, her athletic ability, she completely misses it because she’s so caught up in her Oxy-fueled fog. It was heartbreaking to see Mickey throw her friendship with Carolina away and I kept hoping the two of them could work through all of their problems.  The way that Oxy became the main focus of all of her decision making was a stark reminder of the power that drugs have over people.

This book is fantastic and I’ve already ordered a copy for my YA section at the Library.

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