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Annotation: "Two siblings get caught up in a wager between two manufactured gods, Roxicodone and Adderall, in this new thriller inspired by the opioid crisis"-- cProvided by publisher.
Genre: [Suspense fiction]
Catalog Number: #299889
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 377 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-534-45125-0 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0095-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-534-45125-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0095-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2021006900
Dimensions: 21 cm
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Ivy and Isaac Ramey are a brother and sister following divergent paths. Isaac's athletic achievements and knack for machines give him a hopeful college outlook, while Ivy's party-girl lifestyle has her on the fast track to nowhere. Their fates, however, are not entirely in their hands. Presiding over the siblings' lives are the drugs, presented as anthropomorphized deities, that fuel the modern-day addiction epidemics. Two of them, Roxy (Oxycodone) and Addison (Adderall), have a grand wager over which can bring a Ramey sibling to a final end. This allegorical take on the opioid epidemic provides an utterly unique point of view on the lives of those struggling with drug dependencies. Surprisingly, this approach does not water down the stark realities besetting Ivy and Isaac as they sink into addiction. Rather, it captures the drugs' allure, from granting small benefits and initial highs, before taking the reader through the horrible spiral that addiction can entail. Gritty and unflinching, this book portrays the opioid crisis in a way older YA readers can feel and understand.
Kirkus Reviews
Personified as gods, drugs Roxicodone and Adderall are at the center of this novel inspired by the opioid epidemic.Human siblings Isaac and Ivy Ramey orbit different worlds. Isaac wants to study engineering. Ivy, who has ADD, feels like she’s tried everything and still has trouble focusing. When an ankle injury jeopardizes Isaac’s chance at a soccer scholarship, he turns to Roxy to alleviate the pain, while Ivy looks to Addi to find the focus to get her life on track. Their resulting struggles with addiction drive the once-close siblings apart as they find ways to feed their dependence—Isaac’s on Roxy’s comfort, Ivy’s on the clarity of purpose Addi brings to her life. The siblings head down a path to destruction when seductive Roxy and pragmatic Addi make a bet to see who can get their “plus-one” to the Party (an unearthly rave serving as a metaphor for altered states) and all the way to the VIP lounge—“the end of the line.” The novel feels like a stage drama from the tense first chapter to the tragic end. Interludes, in which other drugs tell their stories, punctuate the main narrative. The narration switches easily from Roxy’s and Addi’s first-person perspectives to Isaac’s and Ivy’s third-person limited viewpoints. Words hidden in chapter titles hint at themes or plot points. Isaac and Ivy are assumed White.Powerful and chilling. (Fiction. 14-18)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up Oxycontin and Adderall, personified as Roxy and Addison, take center stage in this chilling novel about the opioid epidemic. The scene is set not unlike a dramatic stage production, opening on a teenage drug overdose told cleverly from the perspective of the Naloxone being injected into the victim's veins. The ID reads Ramey, I. Rewind two months, and two Ramey, I's are introduced: athletic, college-bound Isaac, and his sister, willful and unpredictable Ivy. Both lead very different lives but are as close as any siblings, until their relationship is threatened by two powerful entities. A sports injury introduces Isaac to the devious Roxy, while Ivy, whose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder inhibits her focus, reluctantly brings Addison into her life. As the Rameys start to spiral from their dependence on the substances, Roxy and Addison secretly compete to be the first to bring their plus-one to "the Party." The race is on. Seamlessly alternating between Roxy's and Addison's first-person points of view and Isaac's and Ivy's third-person points of view, this novel is a fresh take on an important and prevalent topic, albeit a disquieting one. The two young leads are strongly and realistically developed, and readers will hang on to and sympathize with their individual struggles. Meanwhile, the sly and cunning voices of Roxy and Addison are intriguing and at times believable. Just as Roxy pleads with Isaac, this novel begs to be devoured in one sitting, from the shocking beginning to the pulse-pounding end. The characters are cued white. VERDICT Highly recommended. Neal and Jarrod Shusterman have outdone themselves from their last thriller, Dry . Amanda Harding, Elmwood Elementary School, Wauconda, IL
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Kirkus Reviews
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Chapter 1: Naloxone 1 Naloxone
I am no superhero. But I can save you from the one who claims to be.

I am no wizard. But I cast a spell that can bring back the dead.


And never often enough.

I am, if nothing else, your final defense--your last hope when hope itself has spiraled into that singularity that crushes not just you, but everyone around you.

And so here we are, you and I. The scene is set. Never identical, yet always the same:

Today it's a room in a house on a street that was born when dreams were milky-white appliances, and cars were like landlocked ships, too proud to ever be slung with seat belts.

This was once suburbia, but it was long ago consumed by a gelatinous urban tsunami. The neighborhood struggles and sometimes even thrives. But this street? This street is dead. It has been sacrificed for the greater good.

The trees on either side have already been taken down, their trunks turned into firewood, their limbs fed into a chipper. Most doors and windows have been stripped and salvaged, leaving the homes with the deadest of eyes and gaping, silent mouths. Nearly a mile of this. And just beyond are bulldozers and rubble, and beyond that, towering concrete pillars reach skyward like the columns of an ancient temple.

Because a freeway is coming. A six-lane corridor that will cleave the neighborhood in half, right along this very street, in a brutal rite of passage called eminent domain.

When night falls, the doomed street is engulfed more completely than anywhere else in the city.

And there you are. In the fifth house on the left.

You're not from this part of town, but somehow you found this place, drawn by darkness so dense you can wrap it around yourself like a blanket.

Now flashlights illuminate a familiar tableau. One officer, two paramedics. And me.

A medic leans over you--presses a finger to your neck.

"Hard to find a pulse," she says. "If it's there, it's weak."

This room was once a bedroom. But there's no bed, no dresser. All that remains is a warped desk and a broken chair that no one deemed worth saving. You lie on carpet mottled with mold that has left it looking like a wall-to-wall bruise. It is the very epicenter of abandoned hope.

"I can't detect any breathing. Beginning CPR."

Rats would complete the scene, but vector control has already been here with some of my more vicious cousins to kill the vermin. But they can't get rid of the roaches no matter how hard they try. They are the victors of this world, the roaches. Truly undefeatable.

You, on the other hand, are defeated. How defeated is yet to be seen.

Thirty chest compressions, two rescue breaths. Repeat.

The other medic prepares me for what I've come to do, while the officer gives a description of you on his radio. They don't know who you are. I don't know who you are either--but soon you and I will be close. I will be inside you. A kind of intimacy neither of us wants but both of us need. It is, after all, my purpose. And you? You have no choice.

"Administering the naloxone."

"Make sure you get the muscle."

"I never miss."

The needle plunges deep in your left thigh--and I surge forth into muscle tissue, searching for capillaries that will carry me to larger and larger vessels. And yes--you're still alive! I do hear your heartbeat! Slow, faint, but there!

I ride the long sluggish wave of your beat into the chambers of your heart, and out again, up and up toward your brain. Only there can I save you. I will rip you free of the hold they have over you.


The others. Who care for you only as long as they have you locked in their embrace, as if you are nothing more than a child's tattered toy. They do not know love--only possession. They promise you deliverance and reward you... with this:

Thirty compressions, two breaths. And me.

It is you, and those like you, who gave them power, and continue to give them power day after day. Because who but you can generate current enough to feed the bright flashing lights of their eternal Party? How could you not see that the others--my brutal cousins--are the cancer at the core of seduction? The void at the heart of your craving? They see themselves as gods, but in the end they are just like me. Nothing but chemicals. In complex combinations, perhaps, but still no more than tinctures, distillations, and petty pharma. Chemicals designed by nature, or by man, to tweak your chemicals.

If they live, it is only because you gave them life. As well as the license to end yours. And if they act in roles beyond their purpose, it is only because you placed them upon the stage to perform.

Thus the stage has been set. The audience cool and dispassionate--waiting to be entertained but too jaded to believe it ever will be.

But we must try, must we not?

And so here, between the chest compressions and the lifesaving breaths, I will do my part, struggling to wrest your fate back from the capricious "gods."

I am no superhero. I am no wizard. But I can save you. Although half of the time I don't. Too often I am too late. Victory and tragedy will forever fight for purchase on this stage.

And today the dimming footlights find tragedy.

Your heart begins to fibrillate. Then it seizes like a furious fist... and then releases. The wave is gone. I can't do my work if I can't get to your brain. Still, the medics keep working CPR, but it will not change the fact that you have surrendered your life in the bruised room of the rotting house, on the street that will soon be gone.

They tag your toe with the last name on your ID, and your first initial:

Ramey, I.

Then they wheel you out, and I have little left to do but settle in your veins--one more chemical to parse in the autopsy.

And I curse the others.

My soulless clan who brought you to the Party, then left you in this desolate place, where even those who tried to save you are too world-weary to shed a single tear.

If I had a voice, I swear to you I would tell your story. At least enough of it so that I might know who you are.

Excerpted from Roxy by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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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