cover image Breaking Bailey

Breaking Bailey

Anonymous. Simon Pulse, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3308-3

The latest novel in the Anonymous Diaries series, all written and produced in the style of Go Ask Alice, is a stark reminder that even when things are bad, they can always get worse. Bailey, 17, lost her mother two years earlier in a horrific car accident that Bailey survived. Her father quickly remarries, and he and her new stepmother send a still-grieving Bailey to boarding school, where she demonstrates her exceptional skills in chemistry, scoring an invite to an elite group on campus: the Science Club, which makes and sells crystal meth. Brooding genius Warren, who becomes Bailey’s love interest, convinces her that helping the club will make drugs safer for addicts. The group’s camaraderie draws Bailey into a simmering vortex of addiction mixed with a desire not to disappoint her friends or fail in her schoolwork. The subject of addiction, the first-person voice, and the theme of how good intentions can go horribly awry may initially hook teen readers, but the range of implausible circumstances (paying off a security guard to look the other way, being able to use one of the school’s abandoned buildings) and the narrator’s limited emotional range quickly become distracting. Ages 14–up. [em](June) [/em]