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ROXY by Neal Shusterman


by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-534-45125-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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)