S. & S. Nov. 2021. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534451254.
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.

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