Book Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore

Posted March 14, 2016 by Alexia in book review / 2 Comments

Book Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly FioreThicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore
on January 5th, 2016
Genres: contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes

Oh my god, this book did things to me that I hadn’t had a book do to me in a very long time. It left me a blubbering mess in the dead of night. It made me put it down and walk away from it and it made me want to throw it against the wall, but since it was an eARC, I couldn’t exactly do that. Full disclosure: my biological father is a longtime meth & heroin addict who has been in and out of jail & rehab since he was a teenager. So stories about addiction are often very triggering to me, but somehow I still read them. Does that make me a masochist?

This book in particular was triggering to me, and I wasn’t really expecting that. I have dealt with my feelings about my bio dad, so I wasn’t expecting to be so triggered this time around. But I was. When I was about halfway through this book, I answered a Twitter question about the book I was currently reading and I said the book was “captivating and raw” That was exactly how I felt about the book at that exact moment. Despite feeling uncomfortable, and despite the triggering this book did to me, it was captivating and it was raw.

It was captivating because I wanted to see exactly how CeCe was responsible for her brother’s death, just like she claimed she was. I wanted to know what made her feel that way, and how she had found herself in that rehab place. I wanted to know what transpired in those months before Cyrus’s death and how CeCe, her dad and her stepmom, Jane tied into all that.

This book also tackled how the family dealt with addiction and I found it to be a very realistic, albeit difficult, portrayal. CeCe and Cyrus’s dad just looked the other way, buried his head in the sand, however you want to phrase it, was how he dealt with his son’s addiction. It felt like he didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to see that his son was struggling and he needed his father to be a parent.

I got reamed out if I didn’t do the dishes while my fuckup brother could house a miniature landfill beneath our feet and Dad didn’t say a word.

In rehab we meet Tucker. I really liked Tucker, and more importantly, I liked his influence on CeCe. I liked their connection. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what role he’d play, but just as CeCe begins to fall for him, so did I. He was not perfect, but he was working to improve his life. You really can’t fault that. I know I couldn’t. His sister comes to the facility to speak, and it’s not until after her presentation do we find out that was his sister.

The thing is…Nothing stopped him…That’s what people don’t understand about drug addiction. It isn’t the death of a loved one that makes you suffer. It’s their life that’s the real torture-watching them use and use and use with no signs of stopping.

Shortly before her brother’s death, she becomes romantically involved with a boy named Lucas. At first we figure that he’s only interested in her because she’s dealing Oxy, and a small voice in the back of my head continued to think that. No matter how much making out was going on between them, I still wondered if this was the real deal or if it was just a nice bonus after getting the Oxy.

CeCe had so many plans before she started dealing the Oxy. She wanted to go to college and go into chemistry. She wanted to be something, to do something. But she also wanted her family to be okay. When they start having even more financial problems is when she starts dealing. Instead of holding her father accountable, she takes on even more. Trying to keep her family from being homeless, trying to help Cyrus and trying to raise money for college for herself. With the influences of her brother, her boyfriend Lucas, and Lucas’s cousin, Jason, she turns into a completely different person.

This book was incredibly realistic, and it was hard to read for me. I am so glad that I read it though. Glad that I pushed through the uncomfortable-ness and triggers. It was a book I wasn’t prepared to like, but I ended up loving it.

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