I received this book for free from Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Night Speed by Chris Howard
Published by Katherine Tegen on May 3, 2016
Genres: Action, YA
Source: Katherine Tegen Books
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Only those young enough can survive the pulse-pounding rush of tetra, a dangerous and addictive new drug that fuels a nine-minute burst of superhuman strength and speed. Alana West has been trained to use the drug so she can pursue the young criminals who abuse its power—criminals like the breakneck who nearly killed her kid brother.
On tetra, Alana is unstoppable. The rush makes her an explosive blur as she surges through New York City, battling to bring down breaknecks before they leave more people dead or injured in their wake. But with the clock ticking down to her eighteenth birthday, Alana will soon be too old for the rush...when just one more dose will prove deadly.
Supported only by her strong and steady handler, Tucker, Alana goes undercover, infiltrating an elite gang of breaknecks to stop the supply of their drug. But when Alana gets trapped on the wrong side of the law, she learns the breaknecks are not quite what they seem—especially Ethan, the artistic boy whose bottomless brown eyes seem to see the truth inside her. With her own dependency on tetra increasing, Alana must decide where her loyalties lie before the rush ends. Forever.
A Young Adult book with high-intensity action, drugs, and catching villains in the metropolitan city in the US of A. That sounds like a pretty good premise, don’t you think? Reminds me of all those superhero books we all adore, except this one has young teenagers taking drugs to give them superstrength/speed/and whatever super-what-have-you. Reading this book a few weeks ago, it actually was pretty enjoyable…
…until it didn’t.
Here’s the thing: this book had potential. The first seventy percent was such an amazing ride. Here we are, introduced to a main character who is supposedly the best runner in her department. Her job as a teenage tool of the government? To use the Tetra (which is the drug, if the cliché drug name itself wasn’t self-explanatory enough) to catch people using knock-offs of the drug to rob banks and risk public security. I loved the main character, Alana West, because she was so relatable – she wasn’t the dreaded goody-two-shoes heroine, nor was she an annoying, reckless girl who thought the world revolved around her. She was level-headed, and at the same time, she was oozing with personality and had enough insecurities and self-loathing to balance her character (and no, I am not being sarcastic, she was pretty well-rounded), and trust me I JUST LOVED READING ALL OF IT. I GOBBLED IT ALL UP. I loved the intensity of the first seventy percent in the book, and I loved how in the middle part there was this internal struggle between using the drug to do good and using the drug because you’re addicted to the drug and the 9 minutes of euphoria it gives you. I’m not sure how exactly accurate it was, but I felt like it was somehow a sneak peek into the mind of an addict and how much they justified using illegal drugs. It felt so real and so intimate and so disturbing all at the same time how the hero became a zero all because of a drug (and of course, some political shit, but hey, that’s for you to find out by reading the book, right?) and I just LOVED IT.
And then the last thirty percent came, and it all went to shit.
I don’t know what happened with the book, but for some reason, the last thirty percent flushed down all the complexity, all the rawness of the narrative, all the GOOD THINGS, down the toilet and it become inconssitent, predictable, and just downright insufferable. I wish I could expand more on this, but that would mean spoilers, and I really don’t want to spoil you guys, but let’s just say it felt like there was a change of authors because it became so ridiculous. From a very complex story about users using drugs with government conspiracies at the side, it became a story of some girl who fell head over heels in love with a dude she just met who contradicted herself every time she had a chance, with a cheesy villain coming out which was totally foreseen-able twenty miles away.
Long story short:
First seventy percent: AWESOME AS BEANS
Last thirty percent: I NEED MY LAST TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE BACK PLEASE.
Take that as you will.
2.5 Hot Espressos