A spellbinding trip of a novel about three friend breaking apart in their quest to stave off boredom and sameness.
It's not about the drugs. It's not about the girls or the fights or the fading streetlights. It's about two nights that weren't going to be different from the rest, but then took a turn. It's about trying to find out who you are and who your real friends are. It's about everything being the same, the same, the same. It's about nothing being the same again. It's about Brendon, WIll, and Kevin -- three friends on different paths -- and the weekend that put them to the test.
This compact, first-person confessional by debut novelist James is an acid trip. Literally. Teenage Brendon good student, eccentric dresser, shy around girls trips regularly with his friends Kevin and Will. The story covers 48 hours of their lives as they wander the streets of Philadelphia, after scoring some tabs of "pure sunshine" ("a sheet of California acid little yellow suns illustrated on each tab") from their dealer. As the others revel in excess, Brendon begins to feel alienated from his clique and disillusioned with the path he's been taking. "I could feel the ghosts in my spine," he says. "Kicking and whining. I couldn't keep it up much longer . I headed to the park and toward the promise of recovery. Had to detox." James's airy, hallucinogenic imagery and nonjudgmental portraits of teenage behavior will appeal to fans of Melvin Burgess and Chris Lynch. "We emerged from that candlelit extravagance like nuclear holocaust survivors from their backyard bomb shelter. The pupils of our eyes were in full eclipse." There's not much of a conclusion Brendon finally talks to the girl he likes, figures his conflicts with his friends will blow over, and decides to take a long walk. Unlike Smack, there is no clear anti-drug message, either. Instead, readers may close the novel with the uncanny feeling that they've just come down off a couple tabs of acid. Ages 13-up.