Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rx, by Tracy Lynn

Thyme Gilcrest enjoys Ritalin. It gives her the edge she needs to do well at school and keep up with the smart kids (not quite enough to BE one, but enough to come close). The problem is that she doesn't have a prescription for it, and she starts to trade others with the drugs she can get for the drugs she wants. Before she knows it, she's dealing.

Lynn does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy of an adult society where adults medicate themselves freely and easily, and become so unaware of their surroundings that they don't recognize the way it destroys their lives and the lives of their children. The novel can get high marks for avoiding the easy sermons and cliche events that a more moralistic writer would choose. Instead, this is a pretty taut story.

What isn't so good about the book is all of the topical references. This book is packed full of very contemporary cultural references which will ensure that the book has a shelf life of no more than five years. In general, YA writers avoid this, and they should.

The subject matter had more than a passing interest to me, as I dabbled in a bit of prescription drug swapping when I was in high school (trading Valium for Darvoset and their ilk). We didn't quite have as many fun drugs to choose from or as much readily available anti-depressents and uppers, but I could very much relate to the rather exhaulted place of "legal" drugs (and its higher ground than acid and hash). This is a story that will give parents the willies, but it has a ring of truth to it.

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