Author: William Sutcliffe
Genre: YA Dystopian
Page Length: 256 Pages
Publication Date: January 19th, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher
In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8–a behavioral modification “miracle” drug akin to Ritalin–the city’s residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before.
Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick–the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn’t see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear–none of them will ever be the same again.
Told from the perspective of multiple characters in a world familiar to our own, this searing look at a group of teens who push back from the margins of society is perfect for fans of thoughtful fiction like Panic and The Program series.
” Although some biological psychiatrists were puzzle by the fact that stimulants seemed paradoxically to calm hyperactive children, the belief in their effectiveness was such that, in some cases, stimulants were used as a diagnostic tool: if they calmed down an overactive, impulsive child, then the child likely had hyperactivity. More important for parents, however, was that stimulants were quicker, easier and less expensive treatment modality than arranging for psychotherapy or analyzing and attempting to change the social factors that might be contributing to such behavior. Such drugs appeared to be veritable magic bullets…. Stimulants did what psychotherapy could not do: they calmed children down within minutes. “- Matthew Smith, Hyperactive: The Controversial History of ADHD
In order to understand what Concentr8 is about you need to have some background information about what is happening in this futuristic London setting, because the story is told from multiple perspectives it can be easy to become confused in the beginning about what’s going on just like I was. In this world the drug, Concentr8, the government has been using it as a form of social control, until it has been abolished by the Prime Minister. Which is the reason why there are riots allover London.
In the beginning it was extremely difficult for me to understand what was going on and I’m not sure if it was because we are reading mostly from the perspective of a character going through withdrawal or because of the slang. I know that it was important to the characterization of these teenagers who were from the projects but, as someone who isn’t familiar with many of those terms it became frustrating to sometimes have to re-read pages. And with all of the different point of views it was difficult to connect with any of the characters.
While Concentr8 may not of had the most engaging characters, it did have some really good points. Such as, is medication really the solution when it comes to mental health? Should school administrators be so quick to recommend medication to “problematic children”? Do social and environmental factors contribute to mental health problems, or in this case ADHD? Before each chapter there is a quote, book excerpt, or sometimes even a tweet that provide interesting facts about Ritalin or ADHD, but, it’s not until the end that you realize their purpose in the story. I really enjoyed the way the author addressed issues pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD instead of trying to have an accurate portrayal of a mental disorder that has such a wide spectrum, from attention deficit to hyperactivity.
Overall, this was a three star book that while I wish that I had been able to connect more with the characters, I did think that Concentr8 was a unique, memorable and though provoking young adult novel. I would definitely recommend picking it up if you are interested in reading more YA that discusses mental health.
Thank you so much Bloomsbury and the Irish Bananas Tours for providing me with a physical copy for review. In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must state that I received this book for free and was in no way compensated for my review.
2 Finished Copies of CONCENTR8
1/21: Kelly Vision – Review
1/22: The Cover Contessa – Q&A
1/26: Go Read A Book – Top 10
1/29: Avid Reader – Review