Author: Crissa-Jean Chappell
Publish Date: August 8, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
"You're going to hate me forever when you learn my secret."Seventeen-year-old stoner Aaron Foster was offered a choice: go to jail or turn undercover narc to find the dealer who's funneling drugs into Miami's Palm Hammock High School. But Aaron has never been good at getting close to people. He's human wallpaper, a stoner wastecase who's obsessed with video games and street magic.With a cop from Narcotics breathing down his neck, Aaron gets himself invited to parties where the deals go down. To get close to the school's biggest players, Aaron lies to everyone--most of all, the cute but troubled Morgan Baskin. With the Everglades party on Halloween night--and a planned drug bust there--just days away, Aaron realizes that he's falling hard for Morgan . . . and trying to protect her could cost him everything.
Aaron’s life has just gone from bad to worse. A night of speeding with his little sister in the car became a night in jail and the possibility of the situation becoming permanent. The drugs his car changed everything. However, Aaron has the opportunity to clear his slate if he wants. All he has to do is find the inner ring of the drugs being dealt at his school and report it back to the police. To some, this is an easy trade-off. Aaron gets to go to all the parties and simply report the information back. But Aaron realizes there’s more to it than that…especially when he meets Morgan. Being a narc could jeopardize his loved ones, his friends and, quite possibly, everyone he cares about most.
Narc is the brainchild of author, Crissa-Jean Chappell, known for crafting heart-wrenching, emotional and poignant novels regarding the human condition. This novel is no exception. Written from a male POV, which is tricky as it is, Narc embraces the emotional underbelly of society and brings the humanity of all its characters to life. The sparse, haunting prose isn’t flowery or too descriptive. Rather, the emotions, the themes and the pain takes center stage making the story incredibly raw and real, despite the dark tones. With extreme empathy and endless feeling, Narc soars.
I think it would have been very easy for Narc to become a trite, cliché and annoying stereotype of drug and substance abuse in YA literature. What impressed me most was the book not only embraced the male POV with ease, but it did it well. Aaron was entirely believable. His pain, frustration and confusion in regards to his difficult situation was tangible, and I felt for his situation. He wanted to do what was right, but he didn’t want to hurt anyone in the process, and he consistently felt like all he was doing was the latter. Narc lets you put yourself in the characters’ shoes, but it allows you to form your own opinions, as well. It poses the question about what you would do in such a situation without actually asking them; it makes you think. Perhaps the most powerful message within the story, however, was that Narc shows at that drugs do not define the people who take them, and they can affect anyone from any position on the social ladder. Rather than alienating the characters lost in the throes of addiction, the book places them front and center and allows you to access their humanity. With strong secondary characters and no shortage of emotion, Narc feels real. My only issue with the book was that it felt a bit too rushed in the latter half of the book. I, personally, would have loved to have seen it fleshed out a bit more to show a broader range of the fallout.
Overall though, Narc was a tremendous read, and it embodies the parts of contemporary fiction that I actually love. I give it a strong 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA and adult fiction, especially those who enjoy contemporary stories and issue books.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.