Toxic friendships, Toxic community: Toxic by Nicci Cloke

My shot is sugary and sharp in my throat, and the empty plastic glasses slam back onto the table like a drumbeat. My fuzzy drunk feeling from the pool has totally gone now – after a shower and a can of Coke and a bowl of pasta at the restaurant at the end of our dusty road, I feel properly awake and alive and ready to go.


If you read this quote above, you get the feeling. There is a LOT of drinking in this book.


A lot.


Thoughtless, careless drinking, for fun.

Toxic is not only about toxic friendships, but it’s about the toxicity in every individual, and the community we live in. It’s sometimes our parents that poison us, sometimes our friends, sometimes we poison ourselves.

I found it difficult to give a rating to this book. Especially because I am limited with 5 scores. This book for me is a 7/10 or 3.5/5, I must say this first!

Cloke’s writing is definitely enjoyable, this is not one of that disposable young adult novels, there’s something to take away and remember about this story.  But I think it could have been better.

The book is a timeline of events, divided in 3 chapters. Told first from Hope’s perspective, then her ex-boyfriend Logan’s, and finally Logan’s new girlfriend Daisy’s. Things get kick start when Hope Novak goes to holiday with a group of her mates, to Malia, Crete. they drink, party, get wasted.

cover139666-mediumI absolutely enjoyed the Hope’s section, which was nearly half of the book, and I wish this book was just told from her POV or at least was switching through them one by one continuously, rather than giving them a whole slice of chapters. Because Hope is the most well built character in this story, and I can’t help feeling disappointed about not going back to Hope’s feelings and her view point.

One of the heaviest subjects in the book is consent. You know it’s always the females who gets blamed to be drunk. No one questions the male. No one asks them: Why did you drink so much? Why did you go out late? Why did you wear a top (or a shirt) like that? There’s a bit of this in the story as well, although I found it a bit too “in your face”. Too didactic.

As I mentioned in the start, the story is not only about toxic friendships, it’s also about the toxicity in the community we live in, which pushes the young people to behave in certain ways. From depression to binge drinking, consent to rape, the books talks about a lot of things. I appreciate Cloke for making a point in how teenagers try to cope with fitting in, getting appreciation, but Logan and Daisy sections became a bit less interesting.

I wasn’t crazy about the ending, it became a bit too didactic after one point. That’s why I cut it down to 3,5.

Would read Nicci Cloke again.


One comment

  1. I found Logan’s story boring but interesting at the same time…
    Weird, i know. The topic was interesting and important, but it was not written in a very intriguing way. I guess depression isn’t supposed to be intriguing?
    In any case i think it was quite an informative read and the themes quite important.


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