Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Flux Books, 2012
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The title of this book is what attracted me to it: the use of the word narc is bold and eye-catching. I'll admit that it also made me think of the film "21 Jump Street" although I did not expect much humor from this book based on the cover.
I was right to not expect much humor because if I had, I would have been disappointed. Instead we have the story of Aaron, coerced into informing about the top drug dealer at his school in exchange for leniency toward his sister (I was very uncomfortable with the way the cop used Aaron's underage sister in this situation and I hope that is atypical behavior for our police officers). Thus stoner and mostly invisible Aaron has to break out of his shell and get close to the power players who have been supplying the kids at his school.
My overwhelming feelings toward this book were a big fat MEH. I could not connect with Aaron and had trouble following some of the plot threads. Why was he hanging out with this person? How did Aaron know that she was involved? Is that really the next logical step in bringing down the drug ring? How is that person related to this situation? I'm still not entirely sure how everything came together and was startled to realize how close to the end I was without feeling ready for any kind of conclusion. I did feel a bit more interested at the end because the action became more intense but it also brought in some completely new characters who pushed the book in a different direction and did not erase my confusion.
I thought the book did a pretty good job of capturing Aaron's moral conflicts during his stint as a narc though. As he grows closer to some of the people they are targeting, he increasingly wants to protect them, seeing them as messed-up kids themselves who are in need of help and trying to balance that against protecting his own family. I just wish I had felt more interested in Aaron's situation.
Overall: A book that failed to capture my interest; cannot recommend.
Cover: The dark grime captures the seedy look into the underground drugs ring at the local high school.