Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Novel: Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson | Goodreads
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Arthur A. Levin Books (Scholastic)
Source: BookPeople Teen Reviewing
From the author of THE SUMMER PRINCE, a novel that’s John Grisham’s THE PELICAN BRIEF meets Michael Crichton’s THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN set at an elite Washington D.C. prep school.
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.
I’m a sucker for books like these. High stakes thrillers with some science and a mysterious male character? Yes, please. So I was excited to get going on this one, mainly because I wanted to see what the scandal was. (And also I’m a total nerd and wanted to see all the cool science stuff that was going on.)
The book started and I was very “ehh” about it. Love is the Drug definitely has a slow start, and it takes a bit to adjust to the style of narrative, but once you’re about halfway in, it really picks up. Suddenly I couldn’t put it down and I was flipping pages right and left. I became attached to Bird, and was invested in her search for the truth and justice. Coffee interested me on so many levels, mainly because he’s a character who you only get the chance to really skim the surface of, and just as you’re getting deeper, you don’t get to know any more. But, there wasn’t really much you could do about that (you’ll see what I mean).
I was very impressed with not only the character development, but also the way in which Johnson navigated the science/political world and the clashes that arose because of it. The investment that scientists make in helping society and the unfortunate times when they get results that are used for things they had never planned. The dynamic between Bird and her parents is a very complicated and stressful one, and for much of the book you see them in the same way Bird does – high-strung, uninterested in Bird’s aspirations, overly invested in work – but as the book goes on, you grow to understand them, and I love this in a novel. I love to understand a character’s motivation as the book progressed, and to dive into the whys of their character. It’s always a rewarding experience.
I was very impressed with Love is the Drug. It’s a high-stakes novel that takes you on a roller coaster of political secrets, science mistakes, and the difficulties of having parents who don’t get you. Bird is one heck of a narrator too; fiery and tenacious, which are two qualities that make any book better.