ARC Review: Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water
Thicker Than Water by Kelly (Fiore) Stultz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: January 5, 2016

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is Cecelia’s story written in retrospective as well as the present. Cecelia is at a correctional facility, being held until her trial – the one for being responsible for her brother’s death. She starts off from a place of guilt, because she feels responsible for killing her brother. As the story unfolds, we see how her circumstances led her to making mistakes, how her brother forces her hand, and lastly the absence of a solid support system that leads her down a wrong road.

Cecelia has pretty much been second place to her brother all her life – and even when he becomes an addict, his needs keep superseding hers in the eyes of her father. Her parents are in denial, and she can’t help not be so, since her very future is tied to the fact that he is bringing it down. To earn money to keep them afloat, she starts selling his pills, thinking that she is also preventing him from taking those in the first place. However, even at the time of the trial, she keeps feeling that she was guilty. At first, she declines the help she is getting but by the end of the story we see her grateful for it.

What’s highlighted in the story is the fact that sometimes kids feel compelled to be responsible, especially if they don’t have a parent that is doing so. Cecelia starts to step up because of her father’s shortcomings, but she has her own limitations that she tries to overcome by the wrong means. Even when she is being helped, she refuses to accept it because not leaning on somebody else has been the norm for her. It’s a different type of coming-of-age because it shows that teenagers don’t need to be expected to turn overnight into adults. The writing was empathetic, allowing us to put ourselves into her place, feel her resentment, her anger, her helplessness and more importantly, her guilt. I loved the book, and the ending was realistic and suited the story, so overall, I was pleased with how this one was.

Received a free galley from HarperTeen via Edelweiss; this does not influence my opinions or the review.

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2 thoughts on “ARC Review: Thicker Than Water

  1. I’ve seen mostly good things about this book, so that’s exciting. I’ll most likely be cracking this one (virtually) open next week, and every review gets me more excited! As a person who felt like I was sometimes parenting my dad when I was in high school (and even still when I’m in college) I’m gonna love reading that sense of adulthood and responsibility in this one. Thanks for the great review!

    ~ Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover

    • It is a bit heartbreaking how she has to become an adult for her family’s sake though. You can see that most of the decisions she makes, center around this fact.

      Hoping you’ll love the book, too.

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