A noteworthy review of Affecting Lives: Drugs and Addiction from Booklist on March 1, 2021
The Affecting Lives series uses sample scenarios to show young readers what can happen when people become dependent on controlled substances. Each book starts with a one-page introduction on what the substance looks like, what it’s made of, how it’s used, and typical physical and mental effects. Then brief chapters share the personal stories. Adderall introduces Dylan, a college student who uses Adderall to stay awake, resulting in a drastic personality change. A parent and a boyfriend are the ones in need of help in Alcohol. E-Cigarettes relates how Lauren drops off the cheerleading squad and starts selling her clothes to support her smoking habit. In Marijuana, 15-year-old Maya becomes dependent on weed, gets kicked off the softball team, and flunks Honors English. These cautionary tales usually have happy endings, with characters on the other side of treatment programs and withdrawal symptoms. Back matter includes open-ended questions (‘Why do you think people continue to use drugs even when it has a negative effect on them?’), a glossary, bibliography, and sources for additional information. The narratives flow smoothly, despite different authors, but the stock photos don’t always align with the text and don’t represent much diversity. Kids who dislike being preached to might appreciate this different approach, and parents, teachers, and counselors may find these stories effective ways of starting important conversations.