Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore
Published by Harper Teen
Published on January 5th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Emotions & Feelings
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Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.
Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.
Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.
Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes.
THICKER THAN WATER is a dark, somber examination of addiction, death, and forgiveness. When CeCe Price admits to killing her drug addict brother, what follows is a fractured narrative between the present and past, leading up to the night CeCe’s brother dies.
During her stay in behavioral therapy, CeCe begins to open up about her life leading up to killing her brother. As the pieces of her story fall into place, readers get a very raw look at a life touched by drug addiction and family trauma. This book isn’t a light read, and it makes no apologies for its darkness. Which was one of the things I loved about it. CeCe is an almost unlikable character, between her surliness with those in her treatment center, and the possibility of her just having killed her brother. But it’s the flashbacks to her past life that gives readers insight into a life of long-term pain, showing CeCe as someone who is truly loving and full of promise. The honesty in which CeCe’s personality was portrayed sucked me in and left me hurting in ways I didn’t know a book could. Her struggle with guilt and anger seemed perfectly believable considering her circumstance, and I rooted for her throughout.
Addiction is a game that no one wins and author Kelly Fiore has a masterful understanding of the dynamics and utter desperation that come with the territory. This, for me, was the draw of the story – watching a family slowly be destroyed by drugs was something I couldn’t look away from. Not because it was a spectacle, but because throughout the duration of the novel, Kelly Fiore had me desperate to save this family. However, as CeCe discovers, once addiction takes hold, there’s not much left to save except yourself.
In the end, that’s what this novel is about: learning to save yourself. And it’s not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps feel good ending. CeCe has to decide if she’s worth saving; a question that’s complicated and difficult for her to answer. Never once does this book take CeCe’s life (or that of her brother’s), lightly. It’s about hope amidst the struggle. Not the false hope that comes from wishing the addiction will leave its victims alone and unscathed, but a deeper hope that life, as different as it may be for CeCe, might still go on after so much pain.
This book isn’t your typical contemporary; the darkness between its pages weighs heavily on the reader. The beauty and joy is found in the excellent writing, believable characters, and the honesty in which the subject of addiction is handled. Whether you’re in the mood for realistic fiction, or a family-centric story, you can’t go wrong with THICKER THAN WATER.
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