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A dark, chilling, and perceptive thriller which takes an unflinching but highly imaginative look at addiction and the opioid crisis
Best-selling father and son have turned their attention to the dangers of prescription drug misuse, but as one might expect from the master of dystopian fiction, this comes with a twist. Imagine drugs personified as Greek Gods looking down from Olympus tasked with bringing people to The Party (addiction) and all the way to the ‘end of the line’- the VIP lounge (overdose and death). We know the stakes are high- the book opens with the painful and shocking description of the death of I. Ramey, but when we meet siblings Ivy and Isaac we do not know which of them it will be and their tragic and all too believable journeys keep you completely gripped.
But first, we meet the alluring Roxy (Roxicodone) and the pompous over-achiever Addi (Adderall) and learn about their place in the drug hierarchy. They know they are gateway drugs and in various interludes they talk about their genuine lifesaving moments, but they also know that they can get their ‘plus-ones’ to the VIP lounge alone and so their deadly wager begins. Ivy is the eldest sibling, already running with a bad crowd and overindulging in recreational drugs but wants to turn over a new leaf and reluctantly agrees to treatment for her ADD. Isaac is hardworking and a sports star with a scholarship chance for college until an injury threatens that. Well-meaning help from his grandmother’s pain killer prescription launches him down the slippery slope. The multiple narrative strands weave together effortlessly. From Roxy’s and Addi’s first-person perspectives to Isaac’s and Ivy’s third-person limited viewpoints and combined with interludes, in which other drugs tell their stories, and words emboldened in the poetic chapter headings hinting at themes or plot points, this is masterful storytelling.
A challenging read that pulls no punches nor offers much help to the reader who may need to look up street names for drugs to identify all the ‘gods’, this is a book with a powerful message that needs to be read and discussed.
A chilling take on the opioid epidemic by the New York Times bestselling Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. Above our world is a toxic wonderland where the party has raged for centuries. Humans know the partygoers simply as narcotics , opioids , drugs. But here they are malevolent gods, toying with the fates of mortals. Roxy and Addison have made a wager to see who can be lethal the quickest. Isaac and Ivy Ramey are their targets. Ivy is understimulated and overmedicated. Isaac is desperate to recover from a sports injury that jeopardizes his chance of a scholarship.
This is the start of a race to the bottom that will determine life and death. One Ramey will land on their feet. The other will be lost to the Party. The only question is... Which one?
Featured in The Bookseller's November previews. - The Bookseller
|Publication date:||11th November 2021|
|Author:||Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman|
|Publisher:||Walker Books Ltd|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 4|
Neal Shusterman is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include the acclaimed Arc of a Scythe series (Scythe, Thunderhead and The Toll) and Dry, as well as the Unwind series and Challenger Deep, which won a National Book Award. He also writes screenplays for film and television, for shows such as Goosebumps and Animorphs. Follow him on Twitter: @NealShusterman Jarrod Shusterman writes for film and television, and his talents extend to directing films and commercials. He and Neal are adapting Dry for the screen. Jarrod lives in Los Angeles but enjoys traveling internationally, and is currently studying Spanish. ...More About Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman