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Opioid, Indiana

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,626 ratings  ·  262 reviews
During a week-long suspension from school, a teenage transplant to impoverished rural Indiana searches for a job, the whereabouts of his vanished drug-addicted guardian, and meaning in the America of the Trump years.

Seventeen-year-old Riggle is living in rural Indiana with his uncle and uncle’s girlfriend after the death of both of his parents. Now his uncle has gone missi
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Soho Press
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Average rating 3.35  · 
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 ·  1,626 ratings  ·  262 reviews

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Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it

even though countless men, women, and children die in Motherfucking Sharks and a world is irrevocably undone by shadows in Sip, this new Brian Allen Carr book is much much sadder than either of them.

because this isn’t set in a world where sharks ride in on raindrops or where shadows can get you high. this is our world and our struggles, stripped of metaphor, where people die and people kill themselves and people get addicted to drugs and people fall in love with people who are ad
This might possibly be the most exactly 2.5 star book I have read. Goodreads doesn't allow for half stars, but usually I can figure out easily if I will round up or round down. With this book, that is not quite so easy.

Disclaimer before I go on. My review is 100% without a doubt influenced by the fact that, from the description in the book, I live exactly where this book takes place. I am not saying there are not some truths to how the area is described in the book, but, the author sets up subur
4.5, rounded up-ioid

Don’t go looking for drugs!

There aren’t any, even though the book title makes you think there are. (Okay, okay, yes, the uncle is a druggie, but that doesn’t really count because it’s barely mentioned.) This is an amazing book about a 17-year-old boy who spends a week talking about his life and the state of the universe, all while searching for his missing uncle in a small Midwestern town. The language is urgent, the observations are phenomenal, the tone is off-kilter. Almost
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Riggle had to move in with his uncle at the local trailer park after losing his over-the-road trucker dad in an automobile accident followed by his mom succumbing to her grief and committing suicide. This is the story of a week in Riggle’s life when he not only receives a 5-day suspension from school for supposedly having a vape pen full of THC, but also the week when his uncle goes missing.

Unlike yesterday’s review, this is a book th
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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What a strange book. OPIOID, INDIANA paints a rather desolate portrait of Middle America under the Trump presidency. Riggle is a transplant from Texas, and in every comparison to the Lone Star State, Indiana ends up falling short. Orphaned, Riggle lives with his drug addict uncle and his uncle's girlfriend, in a town infamous for drug use and abuse, and a host of characters who are all backwards and dysfunctional in their own way.

When h
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
"In the principal's office, they told me I'd be suspended the next Monday through Friday. I thought: How the **** is that supposed to teach me a lesson? I'm getting a vacation . . . What follows is the story of that week." -- Riggle, our protagonist, on page 12

Opiod, Indiana has a lot of great parts, plus a few lackluster bits (the long-winded sections with the hand shadow explaining how the days of the week received their names - don't ask), so that it adds up to an entertaining but not quite o
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's tons of imagination on display here, while still painting a relateable coming-of-age narrative, equal parts funny, truthful, and sad. This is the kind of book that high schools should make their students read, a modern-day heir to Catcher in the Rye. It hit me hard. Really powerful stuff. ...more
Janie C.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A coming of age story with a likeable and totally relatable seventeen year old at its core. Riggle is an orphan who has been through the system and currently lives with his drug addicted uncle and his uncle's girlfriend. After getting expelled from school following a misunderstanding, Riggle interacts with different and unique residents of his small town, which he has nicknamed Opioid for obvious reasons. Through the memorable teachings of his deceased mother and a chance of purpose received fro ...more
Juliet Escoria This book is amazing: funny, smart, weird, sad, and tender as hell.
Matthew Quann
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
What a mixed experience! I enjoyed young Riggle's voice and the book works best when we're getting a tour of his town (nicknamed Opioid, Indiana for its opiate-addicted populace) and its people. Unfortunately, there's these obnoxious fable-y sci-fi sections that make for a terrible diversion from the main story. I liked Riggle's job at the restaurant and the characters he met there, maybe more of that and less of the sci-fi bits would have made it a bit tighter. All the same, I laughed at some f ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr details the hardscrabble life of seventeen-year-old Riggle in an unnamed, small town in modern-day Indiana.

Riggle lives with his uncle and aunt, after being taken in after the deaths of his parents. Money is tight, times harsh and Riggle's uncle has turned up missing with the rent due in just a few days.

Riggle is a teen facing the typical woes of working-class teens, but even more hampered by living on the outside looking in, along with being attracted to hi
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it

Unforgettable is the first word that comes to mind when trying to describe this book. The characters, place, and story are all unforgettable. And current. Riggle’s circumstances and days and decisions are all happening right now out there in the world. Which fucking scares and saddens the hell out of me.

Riggle is a 17 year old suspended high school student living in Indiana. Both his parents are dead and his uncle is currently missing, so readers ride shotgun as Riggle wanders around looking for
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I believe that YA with a male protagonist written by a male author is quite different than a female author writing about a female protagonist. Everything seems a bit less sugar coated—ruder and rougher, maybe.
The “naming of days” stories were a curious addition to the story of a young man trying to find himself after the deaths of both his parents.
Bree C.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book’s description severely over-sells it. The book itself feels like the rambling of a teenager with no real point.
Caleb Wilson
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating window into the mind of a character it would be very easy to dismiss. I loved the fables, told by a hand shadow puppet named Remote, which are recounted periodically through the book -- they're cool in and of themselves but they also do a great job of illustrating the relationship between the narrator and his mom who originally told him the stories. ...more
Tiffany Phillips
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OPIOID, INDIANA picks you up by the collar. There's no putting it down until the last page. I had both laughed and cried by page 24. The plot is compelling, but there's so much more going on in this book about the nuances and complexities in people....the kind of truth that polarized news cycles just can't quite reach. This novel blurs all of the lines in the best way by getting in proximity with people and by storytelling with empathy. There are no throw-away people in this novel. The protagoni ...more
xTx xTx
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
a poor kid ( ifelt bad for cuz his dad and mom died and then his uncle died and he had to move from texas to "opiod" indiana) gets expelled from school for candy clouding (which wasn't even his fault) and roams around the town for a week looking for his missing uncle looking at the weather and life and skin color and it was a nice book. well-written. good words. ...more
Cole B
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was written from the eyes of a 17 year old, and it read like that too. Meandering, mindless, asinine. At least it was short!
Mariah Roze
I read this book for the Goodreads' Book Club: Diversity in All Forms! If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link:

I really enjoyed this book in the beginning, but then I felt like it went down hill. There was no real plot and the story jumped all over. I'm not really sure what it was but I stopped "feeling it" halfway through and it took me much longer to finish it.

"During a week-long suspension from school, a teenage transplant
Tonstant Weader
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Opioid, Indiana chronicles a week in the life of seventeen-year-old Riggle, an orphan living with his uncle in a nameless Indiana town he calls Opioid. He is not being ironic. He has just been suspended for a week thanks to a false accusation, though he doesn’t seem to mind. His uncle is missing and the rent is due on Friday. Peggy, his uncle’s girlfriend, tells him to look for the uncle so they don’t get evicted.

Thus begins his week of adventures that include getting a job, stealing a bike, and
chantel nouseforaname
I thought this was a well-written story rooted in so much reality it was wild. I thought the development of the story took the main character from a place of abuse/abused to empowered/still traumatized. Somewhere in the middle of this novel I got a little bored and put it down for a while to read something else. There's an undercurrent of miserable mundanity at times, or maybe coming from what some would also deem an unreal life, I just wasn't that surprised by certain things.. but the story reg ...more
Lauren Dowell
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Saw this at my local book store, read the first page, and bought it immediately. I loved the book the whole way through and finished in 2 days. The narrator is such an interesting character, insightful without being pretentious, and very unique compared to other books about teenagers. I feared this book may have turned into a John Green novel given the main character/narrator is 17, but was thankfully spared the angsty drama. The writing is what truly keeps the pages turning as the main characte ...more
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I had a love-not in love relationship with this book. In parts, the protagonist's narrative reminded me of Catcher in the Rye, and I loved it. The comic book shadow stories, however, brought the story to a crawl. I tried to find some symbolism in them, but it just wasn't there for me.

Also, this is a small thing, but why is there a trailer park on the cover when Riggle lived in an apartment with his uncle?

I recommend borrowing this one from the library or a friend if you really want to read it.
Erin Charpentier
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book accurately portrays so much of rural Indiana: inexplicable Confederate flags, opioids, poverty, and voting against one's best interest. It was a little implausible at times, but mostly spot on and rife with reasons why it's sometimes hard to accept living in this state. ...more
SUSAN   *Nevertheless,she persisted*
I am still undecided about this book,so I have it 3 stars. At times it was a 5 star book and at times it was a 2 star book.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I’d like to have my NYC high school students read this book. It shows a different way of growing up in America. The book feels honest and somehow hopeful, despite the subject matter.
Opioid, Indiana
Book Review | 📚📚📚📚 4/5
Brian Allen Carr (author) | Soho Press

Growing up as a transplant teenager in Opioid, Indiana isn’t easy. Especially when adults are completely self-occupied, and your only friends are a cellphone-addicted buddy and an insightful hand shadow puppet.

Why I was interested in this book:
Opioid, Indiana is another grit-lit tale, this time from a small midwestern town. Author Brian Allen Carr was written some other gritty and horror-based books that I have not yet re
Kristi Lamont
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Boring, disjointed, sometimes both hyperkinetic and grandiose in its aspirations, often slightly sleazy. In short, like many high-schoolers since time immemorial.

To be honest, I don't think I was the target market for this book. I picked it up at the library on a whim (sigh), but, please note, off an adult bookshelf, not from the YA section. Make no mistake, this is YA genre fiction. And while some reviewers have claimed it "shows us Trump’s America from the point of view of a confused but chari
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Opioid, Indiana is a great book for this day and age. I loved how clearly the town that Riggle, the main character, lived in was portrayed. Growing up and living in a small town myself, I’ve heard it said that the reason there is a drug problem in our town is because kids are bored and have nothing to do. I feel like that basically encapsulates this book. Irreverent and real, this is a book that won’t be for everyone, but those that it pulls in it will pull in and entertain!
Jul 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Imagine being trapped inside the head of a horny 17-year old who thinks all his inane musings are God’s gift to the world. That was this book.
Did not appreciate the thinly veiled misogyny about liking women better than girls, and saying how his uncle’s girlfriend looked less sexy because he was mad at her, etc. fuck off with all that.
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Brian Allen Carr lives in central Indiana.

His novel, Sip , is coming from SOHO Press.


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“It’s weird how some things you remember and some things you forget. And it’s weird how you don’t get to decide. You can’t trim away things from your brain that you wish weren’t there, and you can’t dig out the memories that seem lost forever. Your brain shows you what it wants you to see. Your mind is totally at its mercy.” 0 likes
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