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Roxy

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From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that proves when gods play games, even love is a lie. The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that proves when gods play games, even love is a lie. The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life. Ramey, I. The victim of the bet between two manufactured gods: the seductive and lethal Roxy (Oxycontin), who is at the top of her game, and the smart, high-achieving Addison (Adderall), who is tired of being the helpful one, and longs for a more dangerous, less wholesome image. The wager—a contest to see who can bring their mark to “the Party” first—is a race to the bottom of a rave that has raged since the beginning of time. And you are only human, dazzled by the lights and music. Drawn by what the drugs offer—tempted to take that step past helpful to harmful…and the troubled places that lie beyond. But there are two I. Rameys—Isaac, a soccer player thrown into Roxy’s orbit by a bad fall and a bad doctor and Ivy, his older sister, whose increasing frustration with her untreated ADHD leads her to renew her acquaintance with Addy. Which one are you?


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From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that proves when gods play games, even love is a lie. The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that proves when gods play games, even love is a lie. The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life. Ramey, I. The victim of the bet between two manufactured gods: the seductive and lethal Roxy (Oxycontin), who is at the top of her game, and the smart, high-achieving Addison (Adderall), who is tired of being the helpful one, and longs for a more dangerous, less wholesome image. The wager—a contest to see who can bring their mark to “the Party” first—is a race to the bottom of a rave that has raged since the beginning of time. And you are only human, dazzled by the lights and music. Drawn by what the drugs offer—tempted to take that step past helpful to harmful…and the troubled places that lie beyond. But there are two I. Rameys—Isaac, a soccer player thrown into Roxy’s orbit by a bad fall and a bad doctor and Ivy, his older sister, whose increasing frustration with her untreated ADHD leads her to renew her acquaintance with Addy. Which one are you?

30 review for Roxy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Hutchinson

    Haven't read this one yet, but I'm curious. As someone with ADHD who takes Adderall, I'm obviously wary about the inclusion of the medication here. It seriously sucks being treated like a criminal when picking up my meds when the treatment changed my life in so many ways. It was as monumental a shift for me as getting glasses and being able to see clearly the first time. So I hate to think of anything that would further stigmatize the therapeutic use of the medication. However, amphetamine abuse Haven't read this one yet, but I'm curious. As someone with ADHD who takes Adderall, I'm obviously wary about the inclusion of the medication here. It seriously sucks being treated like a criminal when picking up my meds when the treatment changed my life in so many ways. It was as monumental a shift for me as getting glasses and being able to see clearly the first time. So I hate to think of anything that would further stigmatize the therapeutic use of the medication. However, amphetamine abuse IS real and dangerous. Opioids also have therapeutic uses and help people achieve a quality of life they couldn't sustain without them, but we don't deny that opioid abuse is an epidemic in this country. Furthermore, Neal Shusterman has earned the benefit of the doubt from me 100 times over. If anyone is capable of telling this story well, with the depth, compassion, and understanding necessary, it's him. If done well, this could be a really powerful book, and I've yet to read anything by Neal that falls short of impeccable. I'll update again after I've read the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Book Clubbed

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC. While society blithely ignored the opioid crisis as it was ravaging poor and rural America, it is now an "important" and "pressing" topic to explore. Articles, podcasts, and documentaries have worked to establish the wide-ranging devastation, while a recent crop of novels strives to do the same. Of course, some are more successful than others, and every reader will bring their own experiences with drugs (or their family's experiences, Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC. While society blithely ignored the opioid crisis as it was ravaging poor and rural America, it is now an "important" and "pressing" topic to explore. Articles, podcasts, and documentaries have worked to establish the wide-ranging devastation, while a recent crop of novels strives to do the same. Of course, some are more successful than others, and every reader will bring their own experiences with drugs (or their family's experiences, or a friend's, etc) as they interpret this ambitious novel. In Roxy, Shusterman turns each drug, prescription or otherwise, into a walking, talking character, replete with a personality that matches attributes of the drug. This personification, through literal avatars, is reminiscent of shows like Big Mouth, which uses a similar concept to explore another well-worn concept, puberty, through a radically shifted lens. This, in my opinion, is a welcome innovation, as the tropes and routines of addiction are so familiar, especially within fiction novels, that even true stereotypes come off as flattening the characters. As a recovered alcoholic, I know as well as anyone that we all have similar stories, but "similar stories" isn't a concept that lends itself to striking fiction. The question becomes, then, how do you tell the story that is both true to the communal experience of the addict while also unique (and not overblown or fanciful, a bad faith effort to be unique just to stand out). Shusterman, in my opinion, largely succeeds. The two main characters are compelling, rich with depth, and show two plausible arcs of teenagers experimenting with drugs. I admit that I love a playful narrator, and Shusterman doesn't shy away from injecting humor and pathos into his writing, even when the material is dark. The drug avatars let us explore the tantalizing promise of their effects, the little games our minds play to justify this pleasure-seeking, and how dependency often just feels like a welcome release of control. If anything, however, I thought there was too much focus on the personified drugs. We spend too much time establishing their devious desires, how they interact with each other, and their nefarious conversations. While the dialogue between the drugs and the humans allow us to see the emotional interiority of fighting addiction, we drift away from grounded humanity a bit too much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    No. I haven't read it. And if anyone knows me they know how much I love Neal Shusterman. This is so hard for me. I've never done this before but I've tried emailing Neal Shusterman (back when I first heard about the book) months ago. I never heard back. Will I read the book? Probably not. I am on Adderall, to treat my ADD. Being Bi-Polar, ADD while suffering from other diagnosed mental adventures, I fear being triggered. I cannot speak to the OxyCoton side of the story. I am only aware of what is No. I haven't read it. And if anyone knows me they know how much I love Neal Shusterman. This is so hard for me. I've never done this before but I've tried emailing Neal Shusterman (back when I first heard about the book) months ago. I never heard back. Will I read the book? Probably not. I am on Adderall, to treat my ADD. Being Bi-Polar, ADD while suffering from other diagnosed mental adventures, I fear being triggered. I cannot speak to the OxyCoton side of the story. I am only aware of what is happening in the country. I don't have any personal experience with it. I can speak to the relentless stigma surrounding Adderall. Going on the summary of Roxy, Adderall is being put on the same level of OxyCotin in terms of danger, misuse and "seduction" rather than a viable treatment option for some. This is reckless and dangerous, especially for young minds that struggle to ask for help because they fear ridicule. It is also reckless because it promotes the relentless stereotypes that we see in many adult books, online and when I try to have insurance pay for my prescribed medication. I wish my concerns were at least given some heed or even a response regarding the reasons behind writing Roxy. But there has not been. So, I am here. Is it hypocritical to do something I condemn. Yes. I will live with it. I can't live with silence and complicity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura Gardner

    UNPOPULAR REVIEW. But honest. The book begins with an overdosed teenager with the name Ramey, I., but who is it, Isaac or Ivy? Flash back two months… Isaac is a hardworking student with a promising future and a chance at a soccer scholarship to college. Ivy has a deadbeat boyfriend and often stays out late partying. Roxy (oxycontin) and Addison (adderall) are about to enter their lives. Ivy has ADD and decides to finally start taking prescription medication for her disorder and get her life on t UNPOPULAR REVIEW. But honest. The book begins with an overdosed teenager with the name Ramey, I., but who is it, Isaac or Ivy? Flash back two months… Isaac is a hardworking student with a promising future and a chance at a soccer scholarship to college. Ivy has a deadbeat boyfriend and often stays out late partying. Roxy (oxycontin) and Addison (adderall) are about to enter their lives. Ivy has ADD and decides to finally start taking prescription medication for her disorder and get her life on track. A soccer injury causes Isaac to take Roxy to ease the pain and he quickly develops a dependence. Chapters alternate between the humans’ 3rd person points of view and the 1st person POV of the Roxy and Addison personified as gods. Soon Roxy and Addison make a bet -- which can bring a Ramey sibling to the Party (overdose) first? Like Shusterman’s other novels, Roxy is tightly plotted and hard to put down. Interludes from other drugs add further interest. I found myself racing through the novel to get to the conclusion. That said... I find this book very problematic. ADD/ADHD is a stigmatized disorder to begin with and this book will not help. Some people who have the disorder do sometimes abuse the prescribed medication, but research actually shows that most often ADD/ADHD meds actually decrease the risk of drug and alcohol abuse for individuals who have the disorder. To put Adderall on par with Oxycontin in terms of addictiveness and as a gateway drug is a harmful narrative. ADHD meds can literally be lifesaving. I also think it would have been useful to have a glossary of the drugs mentioned in the book. Some readers won’t be familiar with some of the nicknames.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    Book reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com Roxy is a very unusual book in that it is mainly about four characters, Isaac and Ivy who are human teenage siblings, both of whom are taking medication for very different reasons. The other two characters are the drugs that they take, Roxy (oxycodone – Isaac’s pain relief) and Addison (Adderall – Ivy’s medication to treat her ADHD). The siblings through no fault of their own find themselves in need of the medications more and more to just get through the Book reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com Roxy is a very unusual book in that it is mainly about four characters, Isaac and Ivy who are human teenage siblings, both of whom are taking medication for very different reasons. The other two characters are the drugs that they take, Roxy (oxycodone – Isaac’s pain relief) and Addison (Adderall – Ivy’s medication to treat her ADHD). The siblings through no fault of their own find themselves in need of the medications more and more to just get through the day and become addicted. Roxy and Addison are all too happy to see them addicted, that is their job. However, their job is also to hold their human addicted long enough that they then need to move onto the more lethal drugs, where the person will eventually be taken to the VIP room – When the person dies. However, the pair have a bet to see if they can make their human overdose and we know from the opening scene that one of the siblings dies, we just don’t know which. The book had an air of mythology about it and it was intriguing to witness drugs being given a voice and a ‘human’ side. The people taking the drugs interact with the drug characters as if they were normal people just having a conversation. The book is certainly different. It took a little getting used to at the beginning but once I had gotten my head around the behaviours and actions of the drug characters everything fell into place and the plot flowed. Alongside the main plot are interludes from other drug characters as they show you what they do and how they make their humans feel. I particularly liked these sections, even if they do emphasise the opioid crisis that is sweeping the globe, though I never felt like the authors were glamorising it. Overall, it is a fascinating and very different book. It is also a book that will make you stop and think.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brad Sells

    Such a hard-hitting, gritty novel that had my stomach in my throat and turning these pages as fast as I could. Roxy was so hard to read at times and was incredibly dark, but the message of the dangers of falling into addiction was one to appreciate.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for this Arc! This was a tough read for me. I understand the opioid crisis and drug addiction in general very well. I have seen friends taken by this and now older family members who just ran out of choices. This begins with the death of an Ramey, I... alluding to either of the brother sister duo Isaac and Ivy Ramey. Both seem to be down on their luck and it just spiraled downward from there. With the main drugs being Oxy and Adderall. There are so many trig Thank you Netgalley and the publishers for this Arc! This was a tough read for me. I understand the opioid crisis and drug addiction in general very well. I have seen friends taken by this and now older family members who just ran out of choices. This begins with the death of an Ramey, I... alluding to either of the brother sister duo Isaac and Ivy Ramey. Both seem to be down on their luck and it just spiraled downward from there. With the main drugs being Oxy and Adderall. There are so many triggers in this book I don't even know where to start. Drug addiction, depression... everything that comes along with that and also effects the family as a whole. I recommend this for anyone who doesn't have a complete understanding of the dangers of drugs... and if you do: Triggers!!! Overall it's a great way to speak on this issue but I did have a very difficult time pushing through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Roxy in exchange for an honest review. I'm a huge Neal Shusterman fan (as in, I consider him one of my favourite authors and everyone in my life had to know the second I was approved for this) but while I get what the writing duo is trying to do here, I'm not sure it quite hits its mark. I was originally going to brush this off as just being a book I was too dumb to understand but in hindsight, I think that's definitely part of the problem. Roxy pe Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Roxy in exchange for an honest review. I'm a huge Neal Shusterman fan (as in, I consider him one of my favourite authors and everyone in my life had to know the second I was approved for this) but while I get what the writing duo is trying to do here, I'm not sure it quite hits its mark. I was originally going to brush this off as just being a book I was too dumb to understand but in hindsight, I think that's definitely part of the problem. Roxy personifies drugs and addictions with their street names, but none of them are modern street names and while I get this book doesn't take place modernly, I'm not quite sure who it's aimed at if not an attempt to caution modern teenagers about the danger of addiction. I spent a lot of this reading through descriptions of the effects of drugs trying to figure out what was being referenced and it took away virtually all investment in literally anything going on here. So... yeah. Maybe this is a masterpiece and I'm just dumb (I am dumb, it's the masterpiece thing that's up to debate), but I don't think this works as well as the authors wanted it to.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Layla Platt

    As ironic as it is, this book had me hooked. Shusterman's books always make me think and feel deeply and with this book he did it again. I feel like every time I try to tell someone about this book I cannot do its profoundness and originality justice. I found the writing when in the drug's perspective hauntingly beautiful. However, there was some language in the drug's perspective that annoyed me a little bit. All of this "you chose to take me, you choose to take this drug" I don't think is appr As ironic as it is, this book had me hooked. Shusterman's books always make me think and feel deeply and with this book he did it again. I feel like every time I try to tell someone about this book I cannot do its profoundness and originality justice. I found the writing when in the drug's perspective hauntingly beautiful. However, there was some language in the drug's perspective that annoyed me a little bit. All of this "you chose to take me, you choose to take this drug" I don't think is appropriate, as addiction is not a choice for so many people. I think that this book should be read in high schools as at some point it glamourizes drugs a little bit but then does a complete 180 and in a very detailed way explains the awful, and at times deadly, repercussions and consequences that come with drugs.

  10. 4 out of 5

    alana ♡

    Roxy is one of the more unique stories I've picked up recently but still really enjoyable and hard hitting. It follows two siblings that are both taking prescription medications (oxycodone & adderall) and become heavily reliant on them before ultimately abusing them and moving on to harder substances. However, the twist on the story is that it's told from the siblings POV's as well as Roxy and Addison...which are the drugs the siblings are taking - as well as POV's of other drugs like morphine, Roxy is one of the more unique stories I've picked up recently but still really enjoyable and hard hitting. It follows two siblings that are both taking prescription medications (oxycodone & adderall) and become heavily reliant on them before ultimately abusing them and moving on to harder substances. However, the twist on the story is that it's told from the siblings POV's as well as Roxy and Addison...which are the drugs the siblings are taking - as well as POV's of other drugs like morphine, cocaine, heroin, acid...etc. It was super interesting and unique to read about drugs having human-like thoughts on how they cling on to their users and either help them cope with their everyday life or self destruct. And while I did know this was inevitably going to be sad I was still hoping that the book wouldn't end the way it was going to because it would ultimately mean someone would die (not a spoiler since it's literally in the first chapter). I listened to the audiobook of this and would HIGHLY recommend since it has a full cast. Obviously, this is something that some people may find triggering picking up so please do so only if you feel up for it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    BookNightOwl

    Wow! A very different read from the perspective of the addicting drugs out there and the people who get addicted to them. I really enjoyed following along with the audiobook. Was a really hard read if you ever had to deal with anybody who was or has been addicted.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Fensin

    Instead of Greek gods looking down on humanity from Olympus, every drug in history is a god who looks down on the world (or at least the United States) from the Party. Each one plots how they can insert themselves into the lives of humans— sometimes to help but usually to destroy. The story begins with the death of one sibling, either Isaac or Ivy, but we don’t know which until the end of the book. OxyContin (Roxy) and Adderall (Addison) have made a bet to see which teenager will die of an overdo Instead of Greek gods looking down on humanity from Olympus, every drug in history is a god who looks down on the world (or at least the United States) from the Party. Each one plots how they can insert themselves into the lives of humans— sometimes to help but usually to destroy. The story begins with the death of one sibling, either Isaac or Ivy, but we don’t know which until the end of the book. OxyContin (Roxy) and Adderall (Addison) have made a bet to see which teenager will die of an overdose first. They also fight off their pharmaceutical family members who want to poach the teenagers. On one hand, this is a tightly paced suburban thriller which kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. On the other, it comes across as irresponsible. Pharmaceuticals do not have emotions. They don’t care whether they are used. They just sit around in bottles until they’re ingested before setting off chemical reactions. They don’t fall in love with people. The real evil comes from companies who value profit over human life. Ivy and Isaac live with two dimensional parents who are too exhausted with their failing business to be able to do anything other than yell at their children. Much of the book focuses on the mutual emotional relationships Roxy and Addison have with Isaac and Ivy. Are the authors trying to say both teenagers get addicted because the drugs are available and the parents are not? The opioid crisis is rubbed in our face but no viable hope is presented. One teenager comes to and just snaps out of it. Really? Sometimes people need medical help and legal prescriptions just to get out of bed and hold down a job. This story would add another layer of anxiety to the situation. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me an advance readers copy. It gave me a lot to think about.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meliss

    Holy shit, this book is amazing. I truly cannot stress that enough. This is my #1 book of 2021. It's a gut punch of a book, and I loved and was terrified by every second. I ugly cried. Just holy shit, it's insane and a book only a Shustman could write. Holy shit, this book is amazing. I truly cannot stress that enough. This is my #1 book of 2021. It's a gut punch of a book, and I loved and was terrified by every second. I ugly cried. Just holy shit, it's insane and a book only a Shustman could write.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Pre-read/review thoughts: I’m in school studying to become a pharmacist and you thought I wouldn’t add this book to the TBR?😂

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexis

    What a uniquely written book! I really enjoyed it, but it is pretty dark and about drug abuse, so could be triggering.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    Excuse me who the FUCK thought this was a good idea?? Like were the authors on drugs while they wrote this? I listened to a lot of this bullshit but then they decided to name drop the current pandemic for absolutely no reason (that adds NOTHING) and I really said nah you're done. There is so much wrong with this book, where do I even begin? This is a story that begins with someone overdosing. Their name is Ramey, I but who is it- Isaac who gets thrown into the path of oxycontin from a soccer inju Excuse me who the FUCK thought this was a good idea?? Like were the authors on drugs while they wrote this? I listened to a lot of this bullshit but then they decided to name drop the current pandemic for absolutely no reason (that adds NOTHING) and I really said nah you're done. There is so much wrong with this book, where do I even begin? This is a story that begins with someone overdosing. Their name is Ramey, I but who is it- Isaac who gets thrown into the path of oxycontin from a soccer injury or his sister Ivy who has untreated ADHD that leads her toward adderall. In this book the drugs are personified as gods who are competing to get their person to "the party" aka overdosing first. Roxy is oxycontin and Addy is adderall and this was all a bad fucking idea. Other drugs make appearances with their own fun nickname but my dude?? Maybe give a glossary because I had to download a DEA drug street name pdf to know who the hell any of them were. The idea leaves such a bad taste in my mouth for how tasteless it actually is. There are so many ways to write a book about the terrible opioid crisis but this sure is not one of them. All of these drug gods are so romanticized and it was gross. Like why adderall though? People with ADHD are already treated like criminals and I understand people can abuse this drug, especially those who aren't even prescribed it but like bruh. The same level as oxy? No?? The other drugs that have full ass interludes was such a joke. Why are we doing this, why is this damn book even a thing? It doesn't do shit to help bring awareness or whatever the authors actually intended (honestly don't know what they intended besides how many times they used the word "seductive" to describe any drug). Thanks I really, really hate it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Into The Darkness A sad and heartbreaking story of two teenagers caught in the darkness of drug addiction. It starts innocently with legitimate reasons for the drugs but grew to a life threatening addiction. Only one would survive the pull of the drug. Isaac and Ivy are brother and sister. Isaac is a hockey player with an injury that introduces him to Oxycontin and Ivy is a student with ADHD given Adderall. Ivy is the troubled daughter often in trouble with her parents, while Isaac is the shiny st Into The Darkness A sad and heartbreaking story of two teenagers caught in the darkness of drug addiction. It starts innocently with legitimate reasons for the drugs but grew to a life threatening addiction. Only one would survive the pull of the drug. Isaac and Ivy are brother and sister. Isaac is a hockey player with an injury that introduces him to Oxycontin and Ivy is a student with ADHD given Adderall. Ivy is the troubled daughter often in trouble with her parents, while Isaac is the shiny star of the family. This story of the fall of two teens is told from the drugs themselves. Roxy (Oxycontin) and Addison(Adderall). They explain their jobs as drugs to bring their charges to the drugs higher up like Heri(Heroin) and Crys(Crystal Meth). The two drugs Roxy and Addison want to keep their charges to their selves and bring them to the VIP room which is where the charge would perish. They are in competition with each other while other drugs try to steal their charges away. One of them will win and one will lose. This story would be a good one for the YA age group or even upper middle grades to read. It has nothing too shocking, it has no sex or bad language. It does shoe the progression from legitimate drug use to abuse and how it is such a small step to addiction. It is told in a way that young people will relate and understand. It was an interesting read although I was not associated with the drugs talked about and sometimes did not know what the nicknames stood for but I caught on as the drugs talked to each other at the party. I would recommend this book for teenagers and for the parents of teenagers. It might save someone's life. Thanks to Neal and Jarrod Shusterman, Simon and Schuster Children's Books, and NetGalley for allowing me to enjoy a complimentary copy of the book for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    What interesting ideas you have, Neal! It's a sobering look at the world of addictions, with the addictions being represented as people not unlike Greek gods. And like the Greeks, the story is played out time and again with the same themes, and the same addictions winning. A beautiful poetic ending puts a final "chorus" to a life hardly lived. What interesting ideas you have, Neal! It's a sobering look at the world of addictions, with the addictions being represented as people not unlike Greek gods. And like the Greeks, the story is played out time and again with the same themes, and the same addictions winning. A beautiful poetic ending puts a final "chorus" to a life hardly lived.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mandina

    So I haven’t actually read a book by Shusterman in a while, but I loved his Unwind series. So when the publisher reached out to me about reading this one, I was excited to give it a try. This was an interesting book for sure. It wasn’t the easiest read. At times I was a little confused as to who was narrating. And while some of the drug names of the characters made sense, others I had to think a little to figure them out. It definitely made for a very unique story though! It was interesting to rea So I haven’t actually read a book by Shusterman in a while, but I loved his Unwind series. So when the publisher reached out to me about reading this one, I was excited to give it a try. This was an interesting book for sure. It wasn’t the easiest read. At times I was a little confused as to who was narrating. And while some of the drug names of the characters made sense, others I had to think a little to figure them out. It definitely made for a very unique story though! It was interesting to read about the different drugs and their “families” or “uplines” as they may have been called. The different characteristics were creative and such a fascinating way to portray them. I have seen some people saying that this is criticizing all drugs, even those that are helpful, but I don’t feel that it comes across that way. I believe it shows how any drug can be misused and become a bad thing, even when it may have started as helpful. As I said, a unique and different type of story, but I wonder if some of it might not keep certain teenagers’ attention in how the writing was. Of course I’m an adult, so my attention span is different, but there were times that I just kind of got bored and skipped or skimmed as I felt that things weren’t necessarily important to the storyline itself. Still, it is one that I will be putting in my library for my students to give a try and see what they think of it as well. Review first published on Lisa Loves Literature

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight This is such a clever take on drug abuse- anthropomorphisation of the drugs was such a unique way to present the story, and the authors did a tremendous job keeping it appropriately serious. I have a ton of thoughts on this book, and will try to break them down. It isn't even a wholly likes-versus-dislikes list either, it's more of a "here's some thoughts about various topics in this boo You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight This is such a clever take on drug abuse- anthropomorphisation of the drugs was such a unique way to present the story, and the authors did a tremendous job keeping it appropriately serious. I have a ton of thoughts on this book, and will try to break them down. It isn't even a wholly likes-versus-dislikes list either, it's more of a "here's some thoughts about various topics in this book". The Characters (humans): Ivy and Isaac are quite different, and I will say that I knew which I. Ramey was being discussed from the start. I have no idea why; in fact I think I just read it wrong and thought I saw one name. Regardless. I think I wanted a bit more in terms of their development, but I also understand why that would have been near impossible (or, lead to a six hundred page book). They were so different, but they still both ended up having particular issues with drug use. Ivy had been on and off Adderall for quite some time, and when we meet her, she's currently off of Adderall, and kind of floundering, making some bad decisions, etc. Isaac, on the other hand, is destined for great things, but an injury puts him in the clutches of Oxycontin. I cannot say much more about the trajectory of their respective stories, because they're kind of the whole point of the story. But I definitely felt a ton of empathy for each of them, because neither road is easy. Their parents are fairly absent, which didn't quite work for me. It felt like a pretty heavy case of Parent-in-YA Syndrome™, which as you may recall, is when parents go AWOL basically because their existence doesn't lend itself to the plot. But part of it does showcase that hey, maybe kids need present parents, which I am here for. The Characters (drugs): This is interesting. I have read reviews that claim irresponsibility in personifying drugs, and I get that to an extent. But I also find it a genius idea (as I find most of Neal Shusterman's, and now his son's, ideas). The thing is, drugs have functions, and in some cases, those functions are good! While I'll delve into that more in a bit, obviously Adderall has been immensely helpful to many people. And even Oxycontin has its appropriate uses, of course. And to me, that is what the authors are trying to get at here: medication is not inherently bad. But at the end of the day, if you are addicted, it will stop at nothing to keep you hooked. Obviously this is an oversimplified version of what is happening in this book, but you get the idea. Roxy (who is Oxycontin) is quite likable at times, and you get the feeling that Addison (Adderall) is genuinely not a bad dude. Which is the thing- Adderall is helpful to so many people. And yeah, it can also be abused. Ditto the situation for Roxy. Interestingly enough, they are quite well-developed in their own rights, and I was quite interested to see how their stories would end as well. The Drug Use Plot: So, I think this is the part that some people struggled with. I have seen some rather harsh reviews concerning the inclusion of Adderall, that perhaps it is deterring people with ADHD from taking necessary medical treatment, or even stigmatizing the use. And look, as someone who's not used the medication personally, I certainly cannot say. But from my (admittedly limited) perspective, I didn't infer that. I felt like the authors did a good job of showing that medicinal use of these substances was incredibly valid. And that when Isaac began taking the Oxycontin, it was under appropriate medical prescription. But the truth is, even the best intended use of drugs can go astray, and that is exactly what is being illustrated here. Isaac was basically the last person you'd think would develop a problem- which is what happens with a great many people. Much like Mindy McGinnis's Heroine, Roxy is able to showcase the very human side of drug addiction. It removes the stereotypes, and as such, decreases stigma. This isn't a cheerful story. Please be aware going in that there is death, as well as (obviously) significant drug use. And because of this, a lot of unhealthy behaviors as a whole. Look, I didn't like this book. Who likes a book about the harsh realities of drug addition? But I am absolutely glad to have read it.  Bottom Line: Beyond clever, definitely heartbreaking, yet very important.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Edes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love Neal Shusterman, and I was ready to love this book. I was intrigued by the story being told in the voice of the drugs being used/abused. Unfortunately, the reader is left to figure out what drug is "speaking" most of the time and I actually had to keep a list of street names for various drugs open on my phone so I could get an idea what drug was speaking or being referenced. There was also a great deal of jumping from the main characters (Isaac and Ivy) to the various drugs they were being I love Neal Shusterman, and I was ready to love this book. I was intrigued by the story being told in the voice of the drugs being used/abused. Unfortunately, the reader is left to figure out what drug is "speaking" most of the time and I actually had to keep a list of street names for various drugs open on my phone so I could get an idea what drug was speaking or being referenced. There was also a great deal of jumping from the main characters (Isaac and Ivy) to the various drugs they were being controlled by. I found it confusing to keep track of the drugs and the story line at the same time, as there were times when there are numerous drug "family members" present. The "wager" between Roxy (Roxicet) and Addison (Adderall) is not clear either. I assumed it was won by the drug who overdoses his/her "mark" first? I wanted to enjoy this book, but was very disappointed. I couldn't in good conscience recommend it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book wasn't for me, clearly. I am all for a social commentary, but this book made that so overt that it was painful. Siblings Isaac and Ivy both have to deal with their share of teenage issues -- Isaac is the academic, sporty kid and Ivy is known as the party girl. As both of them turn to drug use to help solve their respective problems, they both fall prey to the addictive nature of them. However, in this book, the drugs are personified and made into characters by their street names. I was This book wasn't for me, clearly. I am all for a social commentary, but this book made that so overt that it was painful. Siblings Isaac and Ivy both have to deal with their share of teenage issues -- Isaac is the academic, sporty kid and Ivy is known as the party girl. As both of them turn to drug use to help solve their respective problems, they both fall prey to the addictive nature of them. However, in this book, the drugs are personified and made into characters by their street names. I was aware of nearly every one of those names, which made the personification fall flat for me. To me they read as caricatures and not as characters. And to make the villain a prescription-drug-person feels inauthentic when it comes to their motivations. Instead of having any complex reason for Roxy (OxyContin) to ensnare her marks, there is literally no motivation beyond bringing them to the VIP lounge of "The Party" (ODing from what I could understand). To be fair, that would definitely be the motivation of an inanimate object, but as characters, it needed more for me. Long story short -- there are so many other ways this could have been written and capture the same warning -- don't do drugs kids, including those that you can find in your parents' medicine cabinet or those that have been prescribed to you.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ann Marie

    Special thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and Simon and Schuster Young Adult Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my own opinion. Ugh I hated reading this book because I am one of those kids who were put on Oxycontin as a 20 year old , iI am now 50 and still struggling. I was put on an unheard amount of oxycontin.. Doctors today will not and cannot put patients on the amount i was on. I would say I applaud Neal Scusterman, but as I've seen in his comm Special thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and Simon and Schuster Young Adult Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my own opinion. Ugh I hated reading this book because I am one of those kids who were put on Oxycontin as a 20 year old , iI am now 50 and still struggling. I was put on an unheard amount of oxycontin.. Doctors today will not and cannot put patients on the amount i was on. I would say I applaud Neal Scusterman, but as I've seen in his comments he has experience with Adderall and not with Oxycodone, I am not sure he should write about it and not experience what its really like, especially for someone like me that was pushed on it for back problems., Oxycodone, Oxycontin or Roxy's as they are called on the street, are not party drugs. . I wish he new the real dangers of how it can destroy your life as it did mine. But maybe if this book was written 30 years ago, would I even pay attention to it???. I'm not sure. I will not give a good rating to this book. Because I don't think anyone could write about opiates having never experienced the real things that happen, such as doctor shopping, going to heroin, how the drugs (even prescribed) ruin your teeth, the withdrawals which lead to anxiety, depression and in some cases suicide because some people don't have the means for help. I know adderall is also addictive but I can't speak for that drug, just as I think Neal Scusterman can speak for oxycodone. If his reason is to warn kids against drugs, I didn't get that, but to be fair, I stopped reading it because I'm angry what this drug has done to my life. I'm not sure that I like what this book is about. It doesn't scare young adults enough I don't think. I think if he made it more scary, I would've gave it a shot., instead of the world being a party or rage!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Haley Frailey

    Reads like a cheesy D.A.R.E special comparing apples to opiates, while vilifying a medication people need to function. 🖕🖕🖕

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Dulaney

    Only a Shusterman could create a riveting book about anthropomorphized pharmaceuticals who are all hell bent on leading as many people as possible to the big party in the sky and, ultimately, to their deaths. I knew when I heard him describe his upcoming release that it was a “must read” book. And from the first chapter, I was engrossed and certain that Roxy (OxyContin) and Addison (Adderall) absolutely could challenge each other to attack one of a brother-sister duo and see who would be able to Only a Shusterman could create a riveting book about anthropomorphized pharmaceuticals who are all hell bent on leading as many people as possible to the big party in the sky and, ultimately, to their deaths. I knew when I heard him describe his upcoming release that it was a “must read” book. And from the first chapter, I was engrossed and certain that Roxy (OxyContin) and Addison (Adderall) absolutely could challenge each other to attack one of a brother-sister duo and see who would be able to get their sibling to that final dance upstairs. ADHD and physical injury are the vehicles used to introduce Isaac and Ivy to the medically necessary use of their drug, but life turns and abuse begins. This book by Neal and Jarrod will keep readers interested at the basic plot level, but when the allegorical and societal implications are added, it becomes one that may be read in one long and very intense sitting! Since Unwind, I have loved the many levels of Shusterman’s works and how much social commentary there is when you read and think below the surface! Thanks, Simon & Schuster, for sending my friend a print ARC so it could be shared with me!

  26. 5 out of 5

    julia sikora

    this book was so captivating. after getting over the initial confusion trying to riddle out the different characters and their respective drug, i could not put it down. the characters were all so complex and well developed, this story will stay with me for a long time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wondrous Reads

    Holy hell. I was not expecting that to be as intense, raw, chilling, and harsh as it was. But damn. Writing about the topic of addiction is never easy. Even when reading it portrayed fictionally, it is hard to get through. It's raw, it's powerful, and it is above all else, a difficult concept to grapple with on a good day. But damn. I have to say, in my opinion (which anyone can take with any amount of grains of salt that they wish), I think that Neal and Jarrod Shusterman did a really, really g Holy hell. I was not expecting that to be as intense, raw, chilling, and harsh as it was. But damn. Writing about the topic of addiction is never easy. Even when reading it portrayed fictionally, it is hard to get through. It's raw, it's powerful, and it is above all else, a difficult concept to grapple with on a good day. But damn. I have to say, in my opinion (which anyone can take with any amount of grains of salt that they wish), I think that Neal and Jarrod Shusterman did a really, really good job. This novel requires a trigger warning, with depictions of intense addiction as well as overdose. This the narrative of this story revolves around the central idea that drugs are personified as powerful godlike beings, with emotions and motivations and personalities. We follow two popular substances, Oxycodone and Adderall, as they make a bet on which of the two can lure a human target to the "Party" (i.e., an overdose), more quickly. The humans they chose are siblings Isaac and Ivy, with "Roxy" choosing Isaac and "Addison" choosing Ivy. Both siblings spiral down into the depths of addiction, with only one sibling returning from the "party". However, while the drugs may be gods, to humanity, they are still only seen as the substances they are until they are used. This was a very very intense read. It is a very emotional read. I am having trouble finding the right words to describe this book to you, because my emotions are in such a jumble. I can tell though, that I really do feel sad. I feel.... almost hopelessly melancholic, in a weird way? I honestly feel sad. But also moved. This was a really powerful story. It was gripping in it's humanity. Both Isaac and Ivy were so humanly vulnerable, it was hard to both watch and hard to look away. It hurts because the Shusterman's writing was so effective, and you get even more attached to these very vulnerable characters. I had moments where I wished, (because I was the reader and could see/guess, how everything was going to go down), I could get past the barriers of the pages and help. The characters of the drugs themselves, particularly Roxy, were also really eye opening. It is so clear to see how Roxy in particular seemed to have traits of addiction herself. She becomes as addicted/reliant to her over-users as they are to her. It was an interesting dynamic. I also wanted to compliment how the Shusterman's wove in both the potentially helpful effects of some various substances, like Adderall, as well as the presence of Naloxone. Especially towards the beginning and throughout the novel, the authors make sure to point out that these drugs can have amazingly helpful and healing qualities, but only if they are used correctly, and not abused. The drug Naloxone was also given his own role in this universe, but unlike most of the other pharmaceuticals was more intent on saving lives rather than owning them. Honestly though, sad of a story it was, I still really recommend reading it. Just like "Dry", the writing from the father son duo was incredible. The story flowed at the perfect pace, and (as you can probably tell from the fact that I finished it in a day), was very attention grabbing. I connected deeply with all of the characters, and really felt immersed in this universe. This was really, very good. I honestly highly recommend it, but do so with the fair warning that this is not a happy story. This is going to make you feel things, but they are not all going to be pleasant. It is sad, it is real, but it is most of all an important narrative to read. Substance addiction hotline number: 1-800-662-4357

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leah (Jane Speare)

    I really am not sure how to rate this because I have two completely different opinions depending on what part of the book is being rated, so we will go middle ground. 3.5 Two parts for this review: One: Anthropomorphizing drugs and giving them a seductive, competitive narration in order to communicate the dangers and allure of drug addiction is, objectively, creative and brilliant. Stylistically it’s flawless. Listening (I recommend the audio), I was completely immersed and sucked into the minds I really am not sure how to rate this because I have two completely different opinions depending on what part of the book is being rated, so we will go middle ground. 3.5 Two parts for this review: One: Anthropomorphizing drugs and giving them a seductive, competitive narration in order to communicate the dangers and allure of drug addiction is, objectively, creative and brilliant. Stylistically it’s flawless. Listening (I recommend the audio), I was completely immersed and sucked into the minds of Addison and Roxy (and Lucy and Hero and all the other drugs at this party) that it really got under my skin. If anyone is to tackle such a controversial part of our society, I’m glad it was Shusterman and son. Due to the intensity and subject matter, if you have a past with addiction or have an addictive personality, please be careful if you decide to read this book because it can be triggering and portrays very detailed descriptions of drug misuse, withdrawal, and overdosing. Two: I question Shusterman’s choice to make Adderall (Addison) the second party drug in this story. He could easily have picked another drug to focus on and had an equally strong story. Adderall is a medication a lot of people with ADHD (including a handful of my friends personally) rely on to function on an everyday basis. While OxyContin (Roxy) is often a party drug and a really powerful painkiller, in my opinion, Adderall should not be equated to it on the same level. Yes, all drugs have the power to be misused, especially amphetamines, but Ivy, who takes it, does have ADHD and I fear the portrayal of her ‘reliance’ on it could be interpreted as demonizing people who take it for legitimate reasons and in turn, looking at ADHD as a harmful illness instead of as a type of neurodiversity. I think depending on personal experiences, and how you think of mental illnesses/neurodiverse minds will shape your enjoyment of this book, and I have no doubt opinions will be polarized. Also, I think addiction resources and helplines should have been included at the back of this book for readers—the ending is not exactly comforting. (At least, my audio and arc do not have a list of resources, I haven’t looked at a finished copy yet.)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Star

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to Walker Books Australia for the advanced readers copy of this book. Content warnings: (view spoiler)[major character death - it's literally in the first chapter, but still (hide spoiler)] , drugs (like SO much omg), drug abuse, drug romanticisation, drug abuse, drug personification (this is hard, gosh), underage drinking, vomit, drug withdrawal. I literally don't know how I feel about this book. Was it well written? I think so. Was it necessary? I don't think so. Do I have lots of opinions Thank you to Walker Books Australia for the advanced readers copy of this book. Content warnings: (view spoiler)[major character death - it's literally in the first chapter, but still (hide spoiler)] , drugs (like SO much omg), drug abuse, drug romanticisation, drug abuse, drug personification (this is hard, gosh), underage drinking, vomit, drug withdrawal. I literally don't know how I feel about this book. Was it well written? I think so. Was it necessary? I don't think so. Do I have lots of opinions? You absolutely bet I do. This is really hard to write because I just don't know how I feel about this book. I wanted to know what was going to happen, the outcome, the fallout, the process of it all. But things took a particularly weird turn for me. Spoilers under the cut. (view spoiler)[ The start of this book felt quite slow, and then we're suddenly picking up steam, and then Isaac is an addict all of a sudden. It makes sense, given the how and why he's acquiring "roxy", but it felt so fast to me? Then there's the fact that the drugs were speaking to Isaac and Ivy? I do get that they were personifications, and that they were able to do this in the narrative, but it was so bizarre to read. Especially when Roxy started falling "in love" with Issac? And don't get me started on Addison's own addiction to getting Ivy to "The Party" (future me, if you're reading this, "The Party" is where drugs take their humans to go to 'dance' before dying. The VIP lounge is literally the place the humans go to die. Their goal is to literally murder people and they're all hunky dory with this. Bizarre. I am a mess of conflicted feelings. This entire post is going in the spoiler thing. I don't even care. No rating because I am never going to be able to give this a rating. I just can't. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Hodge

    NOT A SUPER FAST PACED BOOO BUT STILL A 5 star for me! Wow! Whoa! The ending has me in tears. It’s one of those books that truly, even as a novel, shows you the grey in something you’ve always seen as black and white. Addiction. At times it was hard to determine what was and wasn’t real, the best comparison I can think of is rugrats, lol, where one thing is really happening, but there is some bigger story going on in the minds of the children that explains the reality of their choices. This book i NOT A SUPER FAST PACED BOOO BUT STILL A 5 star for me! Wow! Whoa! The ending has me in tears. It’s one of those books that truly, even as a novel, shows you the grey in something you’ve always seen as black and white. Addiction. At times it was hard to determine what was and wasn’t real, the best comparison I can think of is rugrats, lol, where one thing is really happening, but there is some bigger story going on in the minds of the children that explains the reality of their choices. This book isn’t extremely plot driven. But it is DEEP, and beautifully written and the ending will get you. It’s a lot of character building. Characterizing OxyContin and Adderoll and all the drugs could not have been an easy feat. Roxy-OxyContin prideful romantic that eases pain but becomes a lover to the death. Addison- Adderoll who is mad he isn’t higher up on the drug chain, his cousin Cry’s (Crystal Meth) always taking his plus ones to the death. Al- Alcohol just is a lazy character that likes to hang out at parties. Roxy and Addison join a competition to entice two young people to be their “one and only’s” all the way to the end. death. Who will win? Read this...

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