Storti, Kara. Tripping Back Blue. Minneapolis, carolrhoda LAB, 2016.
I wasn’t too sure about whether I would like this book after reading the back cover and discovering that it is about a 17 year old drug dealer with big personal issues, but I took a chance anyway. I am glad that I did! This story is beautifully written and if you don’t mind the odd swear word here and there or occasional sexual content, it grabs your attention so well you won’t want to put the book down! The main character, Finn, is a hard-core drug dealer and user. He is hooked on heroin, so he sells dope to finance his own habit. However, he has another motive for selling drugs – he is trying to make enough money to send his twin sister to Harvard University. His family life sucks – his dad is an alcoholic and his mom is a pill-popper. Abused by his dad when he was younger, Finn is an angry young guy. He harbours a huge guilt complex for allowing his sister to lose one of her eyes when she stepped in between him and his dad during a knocked-down, dragged-out fight. His goal is to make enough money to send his sister to school and away from their dysfunctional family life.
His escape from his miserable life is to spend time bird-watching. He loves birds, is an avid learner of all things bird-related, as they represent freedom to him. As he is hunting birds one day in the local cemetery, he meets an older lady who seems to be suffering from dementia. He observes her snorting some sort of blue powder and is intrigued by what she is up to. He tries snorting some of the blue powder she leaves behind on a headstone and is transported to the most incredible high he has ever had. Realizing that he has found a potential gold mine with which to make money, he convinces the old lady to go into business with him selling the blue powder that he calls ‘indigo.’
I don’t want to give away the whole story, so if you read this story, I think you will like it! Finn has issues to which all teenagers can relate. There is adventure, romance, suspense and honesty in this story. It is really well-written and once I started reading it, I didn’t want to stop reading until I finished it. It may sound like a depressing book, but it isn’t – it ends on a positive note and has a real twist to the plot as it unfolds