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"Thirsty" by Jas Hammonds delves into the complexities of ambition, identity, and the allure of belonging. Set against the backdrop of the summer before college, the novel follows eighteen-year-old Blake Brenner as she navigates the pressure to join the exclusive Serena Society, a sorority promising status and connections to powerful women of color.

Hammonds skillfully portrays Blake's internal struggle as she grapples with her own insecurities and the weight of societal expectations. Unlike her girlfriend Ella, whose acceptance into the Serena Society seems assured due to her pedigree, Blake feels like an outsider with something to prove. To cope with her feelings of inadequacy, Blake turns to alcohol, finding temporary confidence and validation at the bottom of a liquor bottle.

As the pledging process intensifies, so does Blake's drinking, blurring the lines between celebration and self-destruction. Hammonds masterfully captures the downward spiral of addiction and its impact on Blake's relationships and sense of self-worth. Through Blake's journey, the novel explores themes of peer pressure, toxic masculinity, and the dangers of seeking validation from external sources.

What sets "Thirsty" apart is its unflinching portrayal of the consequences of addiction and the toll it takes on Blake's mental and emotional well-being. Hammonds doesn't shy away from depicting the messy reality of substance abuse, presenting a raw and authentic portrayal of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world.

Ultimately, "Thirsty" is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that tackles important issues with sensitivity and depth. Hammonds' compelling storytelling and vivid character development make it a compelling read that will resonate with readers long after they've turned the final page.