Review: Narc by Crissa-Jean Chappell

NarcNarc by Crissa-Jean Chappell

Publication Date: August 8, 2012
Page Count: 288
Published by: Flux
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

"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.

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I wanted to read Narc because the premise definitely interested me, and I really enjoy reading books from the male's POV. I wondered how being a narc would play out in a high school setting. And I was curious how a boy could go from being 'human wallpaper' to fitting in with the 'in' crowd.

I did actually enjoy the story like I thought I would. At times the writing was good. However, I found most of the book to be rushed and a bit clunky and disjointed. Almost as if Chappell couldn't finish writing one sentence before getting to the next - or complete one scene and make it connect to the next scene. Even within certain scenes the storyline jumped around quite a bit, and I couldn't figure out how anyone got from point A to point B. I was lost a few times and had to re-read to try and figure out what was going on. This was a really fast read, but the story did not unfold or flow smoothly.

After he is busted with drugs, the protagonist, Aaron, is forced by the police to find out who is supplying the high school with drugs. He agrees only to avoid jail time. He gets to know Morgan and her friend Skully while attempting to fit in with the drug users at school, who are not his usual crowd. Morgan and Skully are able to introduce Aaron to their inner circle, and he used these connections to gather info on the drug suppliers at school. I really couldn't understand Aaron's attraction to Morgan, especially after he spent time with her and had first hand knowledge of how messed up she was. He turned a blind eye to her faults and it made him seem very naive.

Not all of the characters in Narc are authentic, and I had a hard time connecting and relating to any of them. I thought the characters were one-dimensional and most of the relationships seemed very flat. I wasn't sure if the author was using the disconnect to show that the only true bond the characters had was the drugs.

At times I thought the dialogue was realistic, and other times it felt stilted and forced. I think Chappell was trying too hard to make the teens sound like teens, and it came off as fake. I will admit that I have no personal experience in knowing how drug deals go down, so I'm not an expert, but some of those scenes were very unrealistic to me.

Overall the book was really lacking the emotional depth that it should have had, considering most of the subject matter and situations the protagonist and others found themselves in. I felt the conclusion to Narc was satisfactory and fitting. I think that if given more time and attention, this could have been an incredible book. It just did not live up to it's potential.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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