I bought Wasted when it was first published back in 2001, probably after reading a review in a woman's mag, as none of my friends have any recollection of it, and it's not the kind of book I'd have picked up in a bookshop, as I find neither the title, nor the caption ("a brilliant first novel about madness, addiction and love") or the cover itself particularly inspiring. Unsurpisingly, it's sat on my "to read" pile since then, until hubby picked it up and took it with him on hols earlier in the summer. He read it so quickly and was so taken with it, that I figured I ought to give it a try. I wasn't holding out much hope, but from the first few pages onwards I was hooked and simply couldn't put it down.
Wasted tells the story of 18-year-old Abigail and Jasmine, her elder sister who's a heroin addict and schizophrenic. Abigail leaves home to go to university, where she throws herself into a student life laced with drink and drugs. As she adjusts to living in halls of residence and struggles with a lack of motivation to do any course work, Jasmine battles to stay out of mental institutions.
At the heart of the novel is the complex relationship between the two sisters; their rivalry and their dependence on each other. The book is based on some of Mikki Goffin's own real-life experiences and superficially on the relationship with her sister Lynette, who suffered from mental illness and died in 1997.
Before reading Wasted, I'd not read anything else by this author, I'd not even heard of her, but I have to say this: the book rocks. It's hilarious and touching, simultaneously funny and sad, extremely engaging and very very realistic. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it.