Blood Brothers by S. A. Harazin
This is a story of two best friends who are very different. Joey has it all - a family, good looks, friends, money, intelligence and is on his was to Duke. Clay's mom died when he was born, his dad isn't around much, he has low self-esteem, has to work at the hospital to help pay family bills, has no real friends (other than Joey). Their big plan is to take a bike trip cross-country. Clay doesn't have the money and then Joey makes a life-altering mistake - he smokes "weed mixed with PCP and other". Clay finds him out-of-control in the shed and there is a struggle - Joey ends up in the hospital in a coma. The book is about responsibility - who is responsible for Joey being in the hospital, about choices - why teens go to parties, how they choose "friends" and when to tell the truth about yourself and others. The hospital scenes are real, from everyday stuff to tragedies. The characters are real. It is fast-paced and would appeal to both boys and girls. I give it a YAY.