GO Greek Diaspora and Migration since 1700
Author: Dimitris Tziovas
Page Count: 324
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From Publishers Weekly 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 [with] 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. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. From School Library Journal Grade 10-Up The story follows Brendon through two days that include an LSD trip where he engages in impish behavior and giggles with his buddies and an outing gone wrong in a garish club. The required day of school is sandwiched in between. The teen's fear of talking to a girl he really wants to connect with rings poignant as he muses: “I used to think that I could pass through life in a fantasy, that if I did enough drugs and dreamed hard enough then I could leave this hellish world on a permanent psychedelic holiday.” He wanders with his friends, characters who are appropriately developed, through excellent descriptions of the streets of Philadelphia. Brendon learns: “-how carried away I'd gotten as tends to happen when the highs and the drugs exceed pleasure and become motivations-bring you to the extremes of fun and leave you down and bored and disinterested in the things that suck. But I guess you gotta be part of some of the things that suck if you are going to ever enjoy the highs again.” Language is raw and gritty, but true to Brendon's voice. The conclusion may not be grounded in reality, but sustains the mood and plot created. Although the subject of drugs may appeal to reluctant readers, they may find Brendon's journeys too meandering and philosophical. The style and subject matter may appeal to teens who liked Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (MTV, 1999) and Melvin Burgess's Smack (Holt, 1998).Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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