BookMark: "Afterparty" by Daryl Gregory
Taking place in Canada during the distant future, Afterparty is action-packed, humorous and bitterly wry. The book’s main character, Dr. Lyda Rose, was once a doctor who helped create a drug to cure schizophrenia. But now, she is a schizophrenic patient with godly hallucinations, locked away in a psychiatric hospital.
The book begins when fellow patient Francine kills herself. Francine, a 17-year-old girl, was put into a psych ward after being betrayed by her church. Lyda needs to discover what drug Francine was on when she died. She needs to know whether the drug was tampered with and about to be unleashed on society Why? Because it may be the drug she helped to create.
When Lyda is released from the psych ward, she leaves behind Ollie, the only person she likes there. She begins on a mission to find the drug that helped kill Francine. She is aided by several interesting characters. There’s Dr. Gloria, a hallucination-created angel who protects Lyda from harm, Rovil, a spineless colleague from her past, and Bobby, an acquaintance with a car and a theory that his consciousness is living inside a plastic treasure chest.
Though drugs are commonplace, they are mainly misused as either a stimulant, party trick, or thought suppressant. Some of these drugs—especially the one named “Numinous,” - alter your mind more than others. For some people like Lyda, Bobby, and Lyda’s former colleague Edo, their reactions to the “Niminous” drug have caused them to see God as a unique hallucination. This hallucination speaks to them and guides them from harm. Because of this, Bobby mentally lives in a treasure chest. It’s also why Lyda is accompanied almost constantly by the imaginary Dr. Gloria.
As Lyda continues on her journey to finding out why a church would be producing and distributing mass quantities of the drug “Numinous,” her own mental sanity is questioned and thrown into doubt. When secrets begin to emerge, Lyda must stop the distribution of “Numinous.” Along the way, she finds the truth behind old rivalries and betrayals, all while trying to stay ahead of her addictions.
While the novel is mostly told from Lyda’s perspective, it sometimes leaps into another character’s consciousness to introduce new characters and subplots. Overall, it was thrilling and unexpected. The book has plot twists you won’t see coming unless you’re on “Numinous” yourself. I’d recommend this book if you want to stretch your imagination and experience a thriller.
"Afterparty" by Daryl Gregory is published by Tor Books. Gregory lives in State College, Pennsylvania.
Reviewer Gabby Barone will be a senior at State College High in the fall. She is a writer who has been published in the digital magazine Young Vagabond and Interrupt.