Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Published on March 22, 2022
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For as long as Miri can remember it’s been her and her dad, Poe, in Paradise—what Poe calls their home, hidden away from prying eyes in rural Kentucky. It’s not like Miri doesn’t know what her dad does or why people call him “the Wizard.” It’s not like she doesn’t know why Cal, her one friend and Poe’s right-hand man, patrols the grounds with a machine gun. Nothing new, but lately Paradise has started to feel more like a prison.
Enter Fen. The new kid in town could prove to be exactly the distraction Miri needs…but nothing is ever simple. Poe doesn’t take kindly to strangers. Fen’s DEA agent father is a little too interested in Miri’s family. And Cal isn’t satisfied with being just friends with Miri anymore. But what’s past is prologue—it’s what will follow that will wreck everything.
Shining a klieg light on the opioid crisis coursing through this country, WRECKED will have readers on the edge of their seat right up until the explosive ending.
First, let me say that this book is an incredible, wild ride. I love Fen and Miri! Clay broke my heart. For a short book (272 pages) it packs a huge punch in emotions and action.
So I’m not generally the biggest insta-love fan, but I think the whole, “Fen and Miri have just met, but they share this instant connection” actually worked for me in this book. In part it worked because it felt like an emotional connection between outcasts and oddballs, not a connection based on their physical attraction for each other. It wasn’t even overtly romantic at first. That definitely hooked me.
The secrets Miri keeps are huge. Just being friends with Fen could blow her whole life apart. Fen is used to people’s eyes glazing over when he tries to explain his love for his soundscapes, so he’s kind of given up on anyone understanding him, ever, when he meets Miri.
The third POV character is Clay, a boy in love with Miri. A childhood friend of hers who has been brought into the family by Miri’s dad. I liked his character, too. He has such a tragic past. He’s fiercely loyal to Miri and her family. He needs to be recognized as valuable to someone.
All that comes together in a high-intensity story set just outside a meth lab. I’m a little confused because the cover copy talks about this story bringing attention to the opioid epidemic, but I didn’t think meth was an opiate? I thought it was a stimulant? So I don’t know if it’s been reclassified (a quick google search seems to indicate no?) or if that’s kind of a marketing thing. Connect the book to the opioid crisis because it’s higher profile right now than meth addiction? I don’t know.
All in all, I enjoyed the story and read it really quickly. I didn’t want to stop because it felt like all the dominoes were always about to fall. I think fans of books by Ellen Hopkins will like the gritty writing (though this isn’t written in verse) and the gripping characters.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Major characters are white.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between boy and girl. At one point they both take tops off.
More than once a boy is threatened at gunpoint. A boy walks into a burning building because his friends are inside.
Several characters abuse crystal meth and/or drink alcohol.
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