Book Review: Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Love Is the DrugLove is the Drug
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Arthur A. Levine Books, October 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-41781-5
Hardcover

Love is the Drug is one of those YA books that doesn’t feel like one. It just centers on some people who happen to be in high school.

And, oh yeah, it is a fun and engrossing book to read. The book opens with a scenario that is quickly becoming a favorite, one where the reader and the main character, Emily Bird, are asking themselves “Just what is going on here?” We will spend much of the book figuring that out.

Each chapter’s title is named for a chemical and if you’re unfamiliar with any of them, I’d recommend looking them up, as each one bears on the upcoming chapter. The writer has a great vocabulary and she isn’t afraid to use it which really adds to the story. There’s a great expression and a spelled out understanding of love in the book as well as lots of social references sprinkled throughout the text.

The only complaint I had was the author’s tendency to end chapters with a change in style, often switching to a first person point of view or at least once, a numbered list. It pulled me out of the story every time and I began wondering if it was meant to foretell some sort of surprise finish. Since it doesn’t, I would have been happier without the distraction. While I generally like the inventiveness behind it, there should have been a point to it.

An enjoyable book with only a minor flaw. Read it. Good stuff.

Reviewed by Constance Reader, July 2015.

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