Author: Crissa-Jean Chappell
Publish date: August 8th 2012 by Flux
Source: ARC from BEA
“You’re going to hate me forever when you learn my secret.”
Seventeen-year-old stoner Aaron Foster was offered a choice: go to jail or turn undercover narc to find the dealer who’s funneling drugs into Miami’s Palm Hammock High School. But Aaron has never been good at getting close to people. He’s human wallpaper, a stoner wastecase who’s obsessed with video games and street magic.
With a cop from Narcotics breathing down his neck, Aaron gets himself invited to parties where the deals go down. To get close to the school’s biggest players, Aaron lies to everyone–most of all, the cute but troubled Morgan Baskin. With the Everglades party on Halloween night–and a planned drug bust there–just days away, Aaron realizes that he’s falling hard for Morgan . . . and trying to protect her could cost him everything.
When I first read about Narc in the Book Expo America Show Daily, I made a beeline for the Flux booth. With such an edgy premise, the rarer YA male protagonist, and a South Florida setting, I was itching to get my hands on a copy.
Unfortunately, the novel didn’t resonate with me as I’d hoped.
I think my main issue was with the plausibility of the entire premise of Narc. Perhaps a teenage “narc” is, in fact, a method police utilize. However, the way that it was laid out, I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I didn’t have enough explanation, or maybe the deal is thrown on the table a bit too early and with too little provocation. Either way, it made the whole story difficult for me to believe or lose myself in the slightest bit.
There are also several elements that felt a bit anachronistic to me. Narc presumably takes place in the present-day, 2012 and Aaron use tools at his disposal like Facebook. But he refers to Facebook apps like Top Friends that are still technically around, but seldom used. When he sends Facebook IMs, they use screen names, which isn’t how it works. There’s also the fact that even “richer” students that Aaron hangs around with have phones without wifi, which is extremely commonplace these days.
I suppose that’s the danger in relying so much on technology in exposition. There was so much of it and it was just outdated. It served no purpose but to distance me from the novel.
Further, Aaron’s voice didn’t ring true to me. He spends a lot of time composing unsent e-mails and sometimes events are so glossed over that I was left backtracking trying to figure out exactly what had just occurred.
Overall rating: 2/5. Despite a promising premise, unfortunately, Narc just didn’t feel real to me at any point.
While Narc wasn’t for me, if you live in the Miami area and it sounds like a book for you, Books & Books is hosting Crissa-Jean Chappell on September 8th! You can see the full event details here.