I received this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
‘Toxic’ by Nicci Cloke had a lot of interesting subject matter.
Synopsis: After the girls holiday plans fell through, Hope is invited to Malia for the lads’ one. Having known them all for a long time, Hope didn’t think anything of it and it started off great; alcohol, sun and more of both, however a boat trip rocks the group and the aftermath creates tension. What happened to everyone? Why are some people keeping secrets? Why have some changed since returning home?
Toxic talks about drugs, alcohol, lies and secrets, depression, homophobia and the culture of ‘having a good time’. These topics are heavy alone and in their own right but the mix of them all means a very confusing story. These are things that lured me into the story but I think incorporating all of these issues into a 300+ page standalone was a bit ambitious. I also couldn’t stop myself from drawing a comparison to the popular TV show and book Thirteen Reasons Why.
I’m nearly positive that this book had a message to give. I’m just not sure who to. The book came across much like a letter or some form of prose towards someone in particular and it doesn’t become clear who it’s addressed to until about 80% in. The story is split into three parts; the first is from Hope’s POV, then Logan’s and finally Daisy’s and it centres around a member of their collective friendship group.
I found Hope quite likeable. She was just a normal 17yo, halfway through her A-levels and she was enjoying the summer with her mates. I’ve done the exact same so it was very easy to connect with her. I understood her fear and the mistrust that came with it. Thankfully I’ve never been in a situation like hers but I know it happens more often then not. I liked how she stood up for her friends at the end. She wasn’t a coward to begin with but I was glad to see that other events strengthened her resolve.
Like I said before, I’m sure this book has a message. I’m not sure if it’s to warn girls or tell them it’s their right to have a good time too. I’m not sure if it’s to tell boys to talk to each other more. I’m not sure if it’s to tell people in general that consciousness is essential for consent. I really don’t know. If it is any/all of the above, then the story needs to be revised because it isn’t clear enough. And if there isn’t a message to the story, then I didn’t see the point? However, it kept me interested. It had a level of drama (sometimes too much) and mystery to it that reminded me of TV shows (e.g. 90210, 13 Reasons Why…) and I finished it within a few hours. It’s readable.
“Those memories can just be yours. You can keep them safe. You can let them fester.”
You can get it here