Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: Love Drugged by James Klise

Title: Love Drugged
Author: James Klise
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: 2010

In Love Drugged, high school freshman Jamie is just trying to blend in and not call attention to his recent realization that he's gay. When Jamie starts hanging out with cute girl Celia from a wealthy family, he plays up the idea that they're dating. Their friendship is sweet and a little tragic; we see how desperately Jamie wants to be straight while at the same time he genuinely enjoys Celia and doesn't want to ruin their friendship.

The story takes a sort-of loose speculative fiction turn when Jamie encounters Celia's pharmeceutical scientist father who is developing a drug to suppress people's inhibitions, including homosexual tendencies. Obviously the idea is absurd, but it works as a device for Jamie to explore what it means to fit in, the cost of keeping his secret, and interestingly enough, a kind of cool exploration into prescription drug culture. Jamie's best friend is on Ritalin, and he compares the experimental pills as just another way to control behaviour.

I liked how this book approached a serious concept from a humorous angle. The story has a lot of light-hearted aspects despite the heavy undertones. Jamie, like kids today, has access to "gay friendly" resources like websites for gay teens, but it doesn't mean the reality of public school is any easier for him. The story touches on bullying, friendship and first love in way that I think is relatable whether it's about a gay or straight character.


  1. This sounds like an interesting take on a tough subject.

  2. Sounds like something I'd like to read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I met the author at a multi-author book event earlier this year. He was funny and kind and had a lot to say about the kids he works with every day as a school librarian in Chicago. I could tell from the book how familiar he is with current school culture. Plus, there's a lot of cool Chicago references if you're familiar with the city.


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