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Thirsty - Review

*I received a physical copy from the author and an audio copy from MacMillian via Netgalley. All reviews are my own.


I have a love/hate relationship with books dealing with denial. I hate it because I dislike its unaccountability. Why can't you recognize that something or a situation is wrong and continue to act like it isn't damaging? I love these types of tropes because I learn how to spot the disconcertment, and I understand more and more how and why people think the way they do. I view these types of tropes as walking guides through life. After reading Jas Hammonds's debut novel, We Deserve Monuments, last year, I immediately had to jump on her sophomore, Thirsty, which deals with alcoholism. And what comes from most addictions? Denial.


"It’s the summer before college and eighteen-year-old Blake Brenner and her girlfriend, Ella, have one goal: join the mysterious and exclusive Serena Society. The sorority promises status and lifelong connections to a network of powerful, trailblazing women of color. Ella’s acceptance is a sure thing—she’s the daughter of a Serena alum. Blake, however, has a lot more to prove.
As a former loner from a working-class background, Blake lacks Ella’s pedigree and confidence. Luckily, she finds courage at the bottom of a liquor bottle. When she drinks, she’s bold, funny, and unstoppable—and the Serenas love it. But as pledging intensifies, so does Blake’s drinking, until it’s seeping into every corner of her life. Ella assures Blake that she’s fine; partying hard is what it takes to make the cut.
But success has never felt so much like drowning. With her future hanging in the balance and her past dragging her down, Blake must decide how far she’s willing to go to achieve her glittering dreams of success—and how much of herself she’s willing to lose in the process."

             

I did dual reading between audio and physical. Alaska Jackson read the eight-hour narration, embodying the characters in this book. Hammonds and her team sure know how to pick a good storyteller!

             

Let's set the record straight: Thirsty is not We Deserve Monuments, and it's not supposed to be. Thirsty is not just a book; it's a journey. It's a journey for those who have spiraled and found a way to get help. It's a journey for those who unknowingly attach themselves to others to fill the void of what's missing. It's a journey for the kids who are trying to grow up and find themselves. Thirsty is about figuring it out, and this journey of self-discovery is what makes it so inspiring.

             

We have three main characters who help shape this story. Blake is the shining star who is trying to live her best life, navigating the complexities of drinking, partying, and trying to get into the secret Serena Society, all while being supported by her beautiful girlfriend, Ella. Ella is the typical pretty, rich enabler in the room. Nettie is the third-wheeling-mama best friend who is overcoming her self-worth. Ella and Nettie are basically the shoulder angel and devil in Blake's life.

             

Blake suffers from peer pressure badly. She finds her courage in whatever liquor bottle she can get her hands on. She's become the life of the party and a more confident version of herself, dubbed "Big Bad Bee." Throughout the book, we stumble with her on her journey of trying to stay seen for fear of being overlooked, as well as handling personal aggression such as her relationship preference and biracial shortcomings—nothing some liquor can't fix.

             

Overall, I rated this book 3-stars. It was a cool book to read, falling down the rabbit hole of Blake's Helter Skelter life. I didn't get as upset with her character as with Malaya in When Oceans Rise, but I'd be okay if I never see the words "I'm fine" in a text ever again. I'd say this book's portrayal of teenage alcoholism is one of the better and most closely related to actual teens who do have an addiction I've seen in a while. Hammonds is making me a fan of her writing, and I can't wait to see her next topic.

             

Thirsty is out now!



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