Live the ultimate high. Pay the ultimate price. The shocking return to YA by the author of SMACK.
A new drug is on the street. Everyone's buzzing about it. Take the hit. Live the most intense week of your life. Then die. It's the ultimate high at the ultimate price. Adam thinks it over. He's poor, and doesn't see that changing. Lizzie, his girlfriend, can't make up her mind about sleeping with him, so he can't get laid. His brother Jess is missing. And Manchester is in chaos, controlled by drug dealers and besieged by a group of homegrown terrorists who call themselves the Zealots. Wouldn't one amazing week be better than this endless, penniless misery? After Adam downs one of the Death pills, he's about to find out.
Burgess (Smack) returns with a boundary-pushing thriller that all-too-believably builds on contemporary threads including income inequality, the Occupy movement, and a YOLO mentality. On the night he attends rocker Jimmy Earle's final concert, Adam knows that his life has changed. Earle's on-stage demise supposedly from Death, an expensive drug that provides the consummate one-week high followed by death has awakened a riotous fervor in depressed Manchester, England, which may mark the beginning of a larger revolution. The high of Adam's night out with his girlfriend, Lizzie, comes crashing down when Adam's older brother, Jess, is reported dead. Suddenly, taking Death means a way out. Burgess's prose is straightforward and fast-paced, and his third-person narration hopscotches from character to character while giving readers clear insight into the motives that drive them. His plot swerves are unexpected but well-maneuvered, and his characters' flaws and self-absorptions make them complex and real. Amid violent action, existential anguish, and the heightened appreciation for life that death can bring, Burgess has created a premise that readers will find hard to forget. Ages 14 up.