“Why go high tech when low tech causes just as much damage?”
Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC’s elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.
Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus–something about her parents’ top secret scientific work–something she shouldn’t know.
The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.
After attending an elite party in Washington D.C., Emily Bird find herself in a hospital with no memory of what happened that night in the party. She spends a lot of time trying to figure out what happened to her that night and find answers to all her questions. Coffee a fellow student might know something about it but he’s gone into hiding. Meanwhile, the world around her is suffering from a deadly flu epidemic. Cities are quarantined, curfews are forced, and people are dying. What if what happened that night is the key to all the crazy things that are happening around Emily.
What I really love about this book is how it celebrates cultural differences. I can’t remember when was the last time I encounter something like this in YA fictions but it was really a welcome addition. I like that the characters are mixed of black and white, and that the story shows and accepts their differences.
Another thing to love in this book is the characters relationships. I particularly like how the mother-daughter relationship was tackle. The complicated affair of parents maneuvering their child/ren life is well handle.
Emily Bird is fiery and determined – an easily likable heroine in most part of the novel. Her struggle to find her real strength and identity while trying to cope up with the crazy world around her is an interesting read. She’s isn’t really trying to save the world unlike the usual main characters in dystopian novels I have read, which makes her story a bit different that usual. In this book, Emily Bird is an unlikely heroine who just want to find her real self and her strength amidst all the expectations from her.
I got a hardtime liking Coffee and it has nothing to do with his name but more on his involvement to drugs. Unfortunately, even his talent and his genius mind cannot lessen the fact that he is a drug dealer and that is something I never applause.
Another thing that got confusing for me is the general idea that the novel want to discuss — there’s just too much topics and not enough resolutions. There is bio-terrorism, political conflicts, medical and scientific informations, social and racial conflicts, but in the end not everything were resolved or at least discuss with more dept and details.
Overall, Love is the Drug though suffers from too much topic it wants to discuss is still an enjoyable read. With its interesting premise and thought-provoking ideas this new novel from Alaya Dawn Johnson is a frightening glimpse of a possible future.
*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.