Thyme Gilchrest is an honors student.
Thyme Gilchrest is popular.
Thyme Gilchrest is on student council.
Thyme Gilchrest is a drug dealer.
Like piecing together a logic puzzle, Thyme has organized a complex trading system that enables her to obtain the meds her friends need. They all come to her to diagnose their problems and provide the "cure" -- be it Prozac, Ritalin, Vicodin...She's therapist, doctor, and pharmacist all in one. She helps people. And that makes her feel a little more in control -- a little more capable of dealing with her own frantic high school life. Because Thyme Gilchrest is nothing if not good at dealing.
Ambitious Thyme wants to belong to "The Twenty... most overachieving, good-school-bound juniors" at her high school, so she steals a friend's Ritalin, hoping it will boost her ability to study. When it works, Thyme quickly becomes hooked even dealing other prescription drugs to her peers (including other honors students) to keep her pills coming. She likes the power and the popularity, but it is clear she is an addict. She raids the purses of her parents' friends and coworkers for their prescription pills, manipulates her peers, goes through a terrible withdrawal and starts taking other drugs, too. The author definitely has an educational mission here ("In some good public and private schools, up to 30 percent of high school students are on Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, Concerta, or some variation thereof") and plotting can be heavy (near the end, Thyme discovers that her dad hides OxyContin in a vitamin bottle). But the book does raise readers' consciousness about the omnipresence of pill-taking. Thyme's mother trades Xanax with her coworkers, and her dad, just home from work, offers her NyQuil instead of asking her why she's in bed. In the end, the story here is satisfying enough, but Lynn's (the Nine Lives of Chloe King trilogy, as Elizabeth Braswell) message is what will have lasting impact. The book succeeds in bringing to light a much overlooked issue and will certainly give readers plenty to ponder. Ages 14-up.