Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 59,000
Oxycontin, Adderall, and cough syrup are sixteen-year-old Dylan Halstrom's best friends. The drugs dull the shame, but nothing can erase the memories. No, the reality of her father and sister's deaths wait for her on the other side of her high, shining like an interrogation lamp, reminding her she doesn't deserve to be happy after causing so much despair. Desperate to numb her feelings once and for all, Dylan tries heroin. It takes away the pain, but it does more than that. It makes her carefree, something she hasn’t felt in three years. The more carefree she becomes, the more aware she is of her feelings for Matt. He’s the only person in her world that she can connect with and can make her feel something other than pain and guilt.
When Dylan tries meth for the first time out of curiosity, the bad trip ends with her two-year-old sister fighting for her life in the ICU after falling down the stairs. Feeling responsible for yet another tragedy, she pushes everyone away, including Matt. Because if Matt’s too close, he might find out her darkest secret: that she’s unlovable. Now, Dylan must decide if she’s strong enough to quit getting high and finally allow herself to love someone again and be loved in return, despite her flaws. Because if she’s not, the drugs will destroy her, and she’ll end up just like the family she loves--dead.
Red and blue lights dance off the roof of my mother’s car.
I groan and lean back against the seat. The movement makes my head spin and my stomach rolls. The pain is unbearable. Like thousands of ice picks hammering into my temple at once.
Pushing against the steering wheel, I try to shift away from the pain. My hand slips and my elbow slams into something hard. I grunt and cradle my arm against my chest. Blood covers my hand. It’s smeared across my shirt and the soaked fabric clings to my skin. It’s sticky and uncomfortable.
It’s dark. I don’t understand why I’m in the car. I can’t even pin down my last memory. It feels like days ago that I was at Logan’s house. But it was just this afternoon, right? Maybe?
I squint to make out the objects past the cracks in the windshield. A tree has sprouted through the hood of the car, its branches splayed across the glass. I turn stiffly to my right. More trees. How the hell did I make it this far into the woods in a car?
A distant memory floods my consciousness. Lily. My dad.
Panic seizes my body. The air is thick, like molasses, and I can’t get enough as I gulp for more. Each breath I take sends a shock of pain rocketing through my chest as my lungs expand against my tender ribs. The blood rushing to my brain pounds against my skull and I lean over in time to vomit into the passenger seat.