Review: Thicker Than Water by Kelly Fiore

18711172Title: Thicker Than Water

Author: Kelly Fiore

Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cecelia Price killed her brother. At least, that’s what the police and the district attorney are saying. And although Cecelia is now locked up and forced into treatment, she knows the real story is much more complicated.

Cyrus wasn’t always the drug-addled monster he’d become. He was a successful athlete, but when an injury forced him off the soccer field and onto pain medication, his life became a blur of anger, addiction, and violence. All CeCe could do was stand by and watch, until she realized one effective way to take away her brother’s drugs while earning the money she needed for college: selling the pills.

Soon, CeCe becomes part drug dealer, part honor student. But even when all she wants is to make things right, she learns that sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst possible outcome.

Thicker than Water is an unforgettable dark, harrowing look into the disturbing truth of drug addiction and the desperate love of a sister watching her brother deteriorate before her eyes. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Thicker Than Water follows the story of Cecelia (CeCe) Price after the death of her brother, Cyrus Price. Cece has been blamed for the death of her brother and is currently residing in a behavioral health center while waiting for her trial. Cece legitimately believes that she is the reason for her brother’s death and she should spend her life in jail as consequence. Cece’s story is told in current time and flashbacks for the reader to fully comprehend what happened before Cyrus died.

Cece has not had an easy life. Her mother lost her battle with cancer years ago. Cece’s clueless father has remarried and the new stepmom isn’t the slightest bit interested in CeCe or Cyrus. Cyrus has developed a drug addiction which progresses worse over time. To top everything off, the farm that the family lives on is going bankrupt and Cece’s dreams of going to college seem far, far away. CeCe begins to steal and sells Cyrus’s drugs for college tuition. While I do not condone the decisions Cece made, I did sympathize with her. She attempted to make the best of a bad situation.

The main problem I had with this book was how unrealistic it was at times. When CeCe goes the trial, the prosecutor makes it seem as though CeCe was the one who killed her brother. The argument the prosecutor makes, sounds as if he was attempting to receive a murder conviction. While I am not a lawyer, I do work in the legal field. The fact that the prosecuting attorney was arguing for a murder conviction is possibly the most preposterous thing I have ever read. The most the prosecuting attorney could have tried for is distribution and possession charge(s). CeCe absolutely did not kill her brother. Cyrus made his own decisions with his own free will and paid the consequences.

I can have trouble relating to some characters that struggle with addiction or deal with addiction as I have not personally dealt with anyone who has struggled with addiction (thank goodness). However, even though I wasn’t able to connect very well with CeCe, I still enjoyed reading and following her story. Cece’s development from the beginning of this story to the end of this story is almost a night and day difference. Although it does take almost the entire story for Cece to come to terms with her guilt and blame, she does see the error of her way of thinking.

3 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author


Kelly Fiore-Stultz has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA, and her second, Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, was releasted in 2014. Forthcoming novels include Thicker Than Water from HarperTeen in 2016.

Kelly lives and teaches in West Virginia with three children, two dogs, one hedgehog, and a very patient and loving husband.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and her website.

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