Gr 9 Up— Faith Flores is convinced that her mother didn't really die of a heroin overdose. Though her mother was a junkie for years, Faith knows that she had been clean when she died, and a visit with one of her mother's former friends confirms her suspicions. When the teen starts to investigate, she is drawn into a improbable conspiracy theory involving a mysterious experimental clinical trial in which her mother had been participating. Chodosh uses this set-up as a jumping off point to explore ideas about identity and predestination. As the daughter of a junkie, Faith feels like everyone expects her to screw up, and she often acts accordingly, pushing away her best friend Anj, love interest Jesse, and Aunt T, the consistently supportive family member who has taken her in. Death Spiral also looks at how genes may play a role in fate. A genetic mutation for a terminal illness could be a death sentence, but what about a gene for addiction? The story moves quickly and incorporates interesting discussion involving topical science issues, though skeptical readers may have trouble with some of the plot twists.—Eliza Langhans, Hatfield Public Library, MA