Hello everyone and welcome back to The Reading Room where I talk about the upcoming/recent releases I’ve read recently and am excited to talk about.
Today I am excited to wrap up my three post series featuring Neal and Jarrod Shusterman and their most recent release: Roxy.
*I received a free copy of Roxy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect that of the publisher or author.
About the BookRoxy by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 9, 2021
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.
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?
About the Author
Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his latest series, Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Neal is the father of four, all of whom are talented writers and artists themselves. Visit Neal at StoryMan.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.
Jarrod Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of Dry. He has a passion for storytelling across many mediums, with love and multiculturalism as an ethos. Jarrod writes and directs with his partner Sofia, under their company Dos Lobos Entertainment. Together they enjoy traveling the world and learning new languages, living between Los Angeles and Spain. They can be found on Instagram @DosLobosMedia.
This heavy hitting YA contemporary from the same duo that brought us Dry- I never knew a book could make me thirsty!- tackles issues of drug addiction and the far reaching consequences of substance abuse in a creative and compulsively readable package.
While not thirst inducing, Roxy tugs from the heart string from the very first pages when the reader is enveloped into the mind and effects of Nalaxone, the drug used to treat overdoses. The medical intervention ultimately failed and the tag is placed on the body: Ramen, I. Sealing the fate of one of the characters from the very beginning.
The narrative unfolds in four parts. First, we have siblings Ivy and Isaac. Ivy is the older, struggling sibling who has tendency to run with the wrong crowd and wrestles with untreated ADHD. As someone who was diagnosed with the same disorder as a child I appreciated Ivy’s perspective as well as the complexities of taking medication. Enter Addison, or Adderall if you will but I’ll get to his viewpoint in a moment.
The second point of view comes from Isaac. Responsible and put together Isaac who has his life laid out. Then Isaac gets injured playing soccer and he ends up in a tantalizing dance with the beguiling and alluring Roxy (Oxycontin).
But this the thing. Like with every Shusterman novel, there’s a twist.
Because on the surface Roxy seems like just a sibling story about drug addiction and that would make her just a fine little thing and still important in the ongoing conversation about the opioid crisis and it’s impact on teens specifically.
But that’s not all Roxy is.
Let me welcome you to “The Party”
Reminsicent of a Greek chorus the party is full of the addictive substances that fill our world and floor our streets. There’s party loving Al (Alcohol) and the big shot Coke brothers. These characters, drugs personified, move in this mythical sphere looking down on the mortals who come to them seeking escapes, from anything that ails them.
It is this world in which Roxy and Addison make a bet, gambling with the lives of Ivy and Isaac as a way to prove their superiority. It’s a careless thing but then again, addiction never was a cautious mistress and the reader is guided as subtlely through the propulsive plot as carefully and expertly as Ivy and Isaac are welcomed into the arms of complete dependency.
Even as the reader knows the fates of one of the characters, the ominous foreshadowing only serves to propel the story, sending it careening precariously towards it’s despairing and tragically realistic conclusion.
Framed by interstitial chapters featuring other drugs, their varied uses and myraid of effects, Roxy is a commentary on addiction on broader scale as well as an opining on our system’s perpetuations of a dependency based system.
Ultimately, I gave Roxy 5 unflinchingly, adoring stars and would recommend it to anyone looking for readlikes to the likes of Kathleen Glasgow, Mindy McGinnis and Cori Anderson.
What About You?
Have you read Roxy? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!