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Junk' by Melvin Burgess

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Gemma longs to break free of her parents' overprotective grasps, so she can have the freedom she's always dreamed of. She loves Tar, a boy who ran away from an abusive father, and wants to protect him. After running away herself, she finds she adores the street life. But some of the friends she makes are dangerous, and soon she and Tar find themselves sinking into the depths of drug induced hopelessness. As everyone grapples with their addiction, questions arise. Who will fight it off- and who will be consumed?

This is a wonderful and important book. The author tackles the subject of drugs with precision and empathy. The characters all have hidden sides, and it is very clear how they change as a result of the drug use. Other issues are brought up, too: squatting and domestic violence, just to name a few. However, this book doesn't read like a textbook of cautionary tales; the author skillfully weaves the issues in among a story of the twisted paths love can take people down. Readers will find themselves feeling sickened towards the end, of the excuses the characters make for their addiction, and the things they do to fuel it. While they repeatedly say they can control it, it is very obvious they can't, and the description of their mindsets are vivid and heartbreaking. The changing points of view build up the story three-dimensionally, and the reader becomes so involved they can feel the characters' lives spinning out of control as if they were beside them. This book raises many questions, about whose fault it is that they ended up they way they were, provoking rich discussion. A must-read, but also a book that must be discussed.




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