Ophelia Dawson is a high student in rural Alaska. She has a twin sister, Bianca but they are nothing alike. Ophelia is a geek. She’s in honor classes and looks at everything scientifically. Bianca is into fashion and movies. She sews new clothes when she’s stressed and always has to be in style. Though they share a room, their unique personalities come out as Ophelia’s side of the room is orderly while Bianca’s is chaos.
About four months ago the hottest boy in school started dating Ophelia. Martin Brynner was everything Ophelia could want in a boyfriend but he’s changed and not for the better. He’s become moody and possessive. Ophelia has told him that she wants to break up but Martin isn’t agreeing. He still shows up and expects Ophelia to be there with him and for him. With Bianca’s help, Ophelia is doing the best she can to avoid Martin but in a small town, it’s really hard.
Ophelia would like to meet the guy who has been sending her little geeky gifts for the past few months. She has no idea who it is but she gets little figurines of some of her favorite sci-fi characters and other neat to things. This guy has made himself known in other ways too like throwing a snowball at Martin to distract him so she can get away.
Ophelia has other problems than just a boyfriend she can’t get rid of. Her diabetes has been acting up. She can’t seem to get it under control even though her mother is the town’s doctor. She’s sure part of it is the stress of Martin. Plus her father is extremely ill and doesn’t seem to be getting better.
Things come to a head at the school Christmas dance. Suddenly Ophelia learns that there are some things that aren’t easily explained. Her diabetes has made her a human lollipop to certain creatures and if she’s not careful, she’s going to be taken. She has others on her side but her best bet is to get out of town, if she’s able!
Sugar Rush is a debut novel and the first in a series about Ophelia Dawson. It lays the groundwork for future stories and starts building a complex world with several different factions. At one point, Ophelia felt confused by all the information being thrown at her and to be honest, I was right there with her. However, the confusion quickly left as the story progressed.
Things are not neat and nice in Ophelia’s world. People get hurt, disappear and sometimes die. There is violence and power struggles. Bad things happen to good people. This is definitely not a feel good type of book where everything is happiness and light.
That is not to say that it is not a good story because it is. Much of the story reflects a normal teen’s life with interests in clothes, boyfriends and school issues. A lot of Ophelia’s problems are due to Martin. How do you get rid of a boyfriend who just won’t go away?
The realities of living in rural Alaska are brought out extremely well. Ophelia and Bianca are looking forward to seeing a movie at a real theater for their 17th birthday. When the airstrip is closed, there is very few ways of getting supplies into town making shopping difficult. There are no malls. At school, everyone knows everyone else and more information than you probably would like. And one of the best scenes is the caribou coming through town.
The character of Ophelia was done very well. She came across as a normal teenager with a strong scientific bent. Still she was likeable and very well rounded. Her sister, Bianca, was equally likeable even though she was nothing like Ophelia. Martin was not as well done but the other main male characters were excellent.
Once I had all the main characters in place, I found myself really enjoying this book. It is a bit dark and violent but there are glimmers of light and happiness. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but I can see where the next book might be set up. The teen drama while there wasn’t overly done. Overall, a superb debut novel and an great start to a series.
Running and screaming will have to wait. A blood-sucking dead guy may be a vampire to you, but he’s an alien/human hybrid to Ophelia and she really must examine his olfactory nerve under a microscope first.
Ophelia longs to be free, free of diabetes, free of her ex-boyfriend, free to live. Something transformed Martin and made her his drug. If he has his way, she’ll never achieve the freedom to learn his true nature and origin.
Adrian’s the new guy in school. He faked his identity to get close to Ophelia, knowing the monsters who took his diabetic sister would try to take Ophelia, too. Then, he’d have them. But, he knew better than to get too close.
Oh, yeah, he did.