Author: Janie Chodosh
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Length: 304 Pages
Release: March 2014
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
In later November I was contacted about reviewing Death Spiral and the sequel Code Red as part of the release for Code Red in February. After finishing this first installment, I am glad that I decided to give this author and series a try.
This novel deals with some pretty heavy issues, focusing around the death of Faith's mother who is presumed to have died from a heroin overdose. So be aware going in that there will be some discussion of drug use, though it never gets very involved nor does it ever make it out to be a good lifestyle choice.
This novel is quite well written and well researched. Everything seems plausable, even though some of it is obviously fictionalized. It is also filled with realistic characters who have struggles throughout. Faith, our first person narrator, is dealing with the death of her mother and her own inner struggles as she asks herself if drug addiction is in her genes.
There is some exploration of the "nature versus nurture" question and I found it particularly intersting in this context, since Faith was exposed to drugs and addiction from both sides of that question. So is there any hope for her? This is a question she kind of struggles with and it's done in a very realistic manner.
I almost always like characters named Jesse (I have no idea why) and that was the case here. Jesse is a new friend of Faith's and while he did some things that annoyed me, I could understand where he was coming from. He has his own ideas about life and when those clash with what his father expects, the results are less than desirable.
Faith and Aunt T, her mother's sister who is now her guardian, had an intersting relationship that I would have liked to see explored more. There is an interesting family dynamic and it was unfortunate that this fell somewhat into the regular YA trope of unobservant or absent adult figures.
The mystery aspect of this was quite exciting and full of danger. I am not sure that I would ever have the courage to do most of the things Faith was able to do. Throughout her exploration of what really happened to her mother, Faith grew a lot as a person and it was a nice development to see.
This is a story that would be enjoyed by a wide range of people and I hope that more people will pick it up and allow this writer to continue telling Faith's story. I am excited to pick up Code Red in the coming weeks.