This is almost the novel I’ve been waiting for from Juno. I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with Juno’s work since moving from her Point Horror homage; I was comfortable with it and not ready to let go. I will always buy her work in the hopes that it will be the next Say Her Name or Hollow Pike; it’s always the cross an excellent writer has to carry. I am delighted to say that the hope paid off; this is Juno’s best work to date.
I can’t say I relate to any of the characters, they are put on a higher level to the reader. However, that’s no bad thing. Had I related to even one of them, this book would have destroyed me. I needed that little bit of detachment.
You can empathise though and what Juno provides is an eclectic group of addicts; food, OCD and sex. It enable the characters to get to the root of their problems.
Our protagonist, Lexi, is one of the Russian elite. There’s enough about the character to make that believable; Baba Yaga, I’m looking at you.
She’s not very likeable; the anger pours off the page in waves. However, her personality won’t stop you reading the book because you know it’s the drugs talking and you will want the best for her. She grows as the story progresses.
Initially, the plot reminded me on my favourite story arc and episode of Private Practice, in which one of the main characters ended up in a private rehab facility.
The chapters are numbered and named after each stage of recovery, which gives you a certain sense of where the plot is going. However, to say it’s a story of recovery doesn’t quite do Juno or her story justice.
It’s more a journey of self discovery, self repair and self acceptance. One that is not easy, or painless. Lexi’s dependancy on other people as well as drugs is something she needs to set right before she can be well.
Juno has found a wonderful voice with this novel. It’s modern, engaging and very real. While I struggle to get along with some of the dialogue, that’s a personal preference and I can accept it was necessary to give the story context and grounding.
The chapters are long, but fit the story telling. As someone who devoured the book, it certainly didn’t come as a hinderance.
It’s a self contained story and while I have questions, I’m not needing a sequel. However, what it has left me with is a want for a trilogy from Juno. I think I’m ready for a Juno Dawson world that I can fall into.