Jane has always found herself surrounded by addicts. As a child she and her younger sister were left in foster care while their mother struggled with a need for drugs. Now in high school she and her fractured family are living in Adams County, Ohio. This feels like the middle of nowhere and while this might seem like a place to avoid more addicts, Jane finds herself drawn to a boy who has his own drug problem. Drawn from the personal experiences of Jessica K. Baker, who has loved ones who have struggled with addiction, Opiate Jane follows Jane and she tries to find love with people who are struggling to make a life outside of their addiction.
After her unstable childhood, teenage Jane doesn’t trust that anything in her life will be permanent. Her mother would be granted periodic custody and outside of that she and her sister were often separated. Now that she definitely has her sister back in her life, her sister is much younger, she works to bond with her and show her the love she wishes she had received herself. This connection between the sisters is noticed by the boy who lives next door during a tornado. Landon pushes Jane to acknowledge why she is often standoffish and this element of their relationship makes her want to get closer to him. In this new place she tries to push herself to make friends, but it isn’t an easy transition. Jane is also falling for Landon and feels him tearing down her walls. As she works through her own emotional barriers, Landon is falling down a path that Jane is very familiar with and that frightens her.
Opiate Jane reminded me in some ways of the remarkably well known work, Go Ask Alice. This story though does not examine the person who is struggling with addiction, but rather someone who constantly finds herself shaken by people in her life being addicted. Jane is such a strong young girl with a heart so full of love. She wants to share herself with others and find that love in return. With her sister she is protective and loves her deeply and while she may not completely trust her mother is is trying to be open to a family with the three of them. She also has made new friends, one of whom has become her boyfriend. When she realizes he also experiments with drugs things begin to come crashing down around her. This story shows that love can save and bring others together in a way that can help them to surmount some of the horrors of addiction. Jane is open to caring and pushing others to do better, which makes this story uplifting even in the darkest moments. Opiate Jane re-releases tomorrow, November 12th, and you can pre-order your copy today.