ARC review: Blow by Heidi McLaughlin

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I’ve read some really great music-based romances this year, so I was pretty excited to be approved for Blow.  A famous guy, a stint in rehab, THAT COVER.  It sounded great.  Somehow, I didn’t pick up on the fact that it’s about a pop star’s cocaine addiction.  I guess that just goes to show you how sheltered I am.  I mean, the book is called BLOW.

But it’s fine.

It starts off pretty gritty and, as far as I can tell based on other books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched, pretty realistic.  Bodhi is addicted, but he doesn’t see it that way.  In his mind, he’s just using cocaine to further his career.  It helps him stay awake and have a good time at events.  It helps him deal with the constant pressure of touring.  But he can stop whenever he wants.  Or so he says.  But then he goes and does things that he knows aren’t right, just so that he can get high.

When his father and manager stage an intervention, Bodhi is embarrassed and ashamed at what his life has become.  Here he is, a grown man, being given an ultimatum.  Get clean, or get out.  He has thirty days in rehab to turn his life around.  The band can’t wait any longer than that.  It’s going to be hard work.  Thirty days isn’t a long time, and his triggers will still be there when he gets out.

Bodhi heads off to an exclusive rehab facility owned by a friend of his dad’s.  Through a mixture of structure and independence, he’ll learn to live without cocaine.  He’s assigned a patient advocate, and that’s where everything fell apart for me.

Kim is the owner’s daughter, and supposedly she has a degree in psychology.  Supposedly she is highly qualified and highly experienced in helping patients overcome their addictions, but she is only focused on how attracted she is to Bodhi.  She sneaks into his room. She pulls him into closets. She tells Bodhi to convince his doctor that he’s ill so that they can spend the night together in the infirmary.  I’m sorry, but do you realize how dangerous that is?  For a staff member at a rehab facility to encourage a patient to LIE to their physician about how they’re feeling just so that they can sneak in some alone time?  Of course, there are no consequences.

I didn’t feel any connection between Kim and Bodhi, at least nothing more than their attraction to each other.  The romance didn’t really fit with the story, and I absolutely hated that after meeting Kim, Bodhi’s addiction basically disappeared.  He’s in rehab for all of about two days before he’s miraculously cured by his desire to impress her.

Both characters felt very flat and one-dimensional.  Bodhi came off as much younger than he actually was, and Kim?  She was almost comically insecure.  If Bodhi doesn’t text her back immediately, she thinks that he’s relapsed.  She’s offended when he can’t take her calls when he’s working.  (Remember, he’s a pop star.)  She has no trust in him even though he’s been nothing but honest and trustworthy in the (very short) time she’s known him.  This says more about their relationship than anything else I can say.

This isn’t the worst book I’ve read recently, but it certainly didn’t impress me as much as I’d hoped it would.  I’m sure that there’s an audience that will adore this book, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them.

PS: Falling in “love” with someone after two days is still instalove, regardless of whether you consider instalove “foolish.”

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆