From the very first page of April Henry's physiological thriller, "Shock Point", I was completely hooked.
Within seconds, readers are swept into Cassie Streng's world. Although it's left unclear if this takes place in the near future or the present day, this compelling tale of prescription drugs, insane stepfathers and coming of age is brutally interesting because it feels so real. Like it could just as soon happen to you or I.
Upon coming home from school on a seemingly ordinary day, Cassie is shoved into a mysterious van. Kidnapped. Things get stranger when she realizes her own mother is watching. And not even trying to help.
After a series of failed escape attempts, Cassie is dropped off at "Peaceful Cove," (where it's anything but peaceful) like a bag of particularly rowdy garbage. Through alternating flashback chapters, we learn about Cassie's stepfather Rick using experimental drugs on teenagers - drugs that end up killing them.
While, sure, Henry's novel was impressive and a page-turner, (This one took me only a few hours to finish, but don't let the small size fool you.) there came a point when I was just like, "Oh, Cassie, please escape from this awful boot camp so you can be interesting again." Cassie was a well-developed and rounded character, but I only wish the same could be said for the background characters, especially Cassie's parents.
Rick is the straight black and white bad guy. Cassie's mom seems to be the victim, and yet she allowed her husband to ship Cassie off to what's essentially a jail! I think there's a story there.
Total: Three stars.
Even Cassie's "Streng"th can't save a book that should be finished many pages earlier.