Disruptive behaviour in class can lead to criminal
behaviour outside, runs the theory which leads a future
London's citizens to administer a new drug for ADHD
wholesale to young people. When the drug CONCENTR8 is
suddenly withdrawn, riots begin.
We follow first a youth without much charm or sense as he
gets led by a more sinister friend into a day of theft,
abduction and street rage. Troy knows he isn't the
brightest, but he's sure that Concentr8 was supposed to
prevent all this chaos. Anyway, he thinks the bankers,
politicians and police had it coming to them. But tying up
a guy in a suit, locking him in an old warehouse, that's
somewhere he wasn't prepared to go.
The mayor of the city is interviewed by a female
journalist, putting on the smarm as he tries to assure this
young woman that all is really under control. She's a
tougher cookie than he realises, and just wants her
interview. Professor Pyle, inventor and advocate for
Concentr8, believes perhaps naively that doping young
people before they turn into criminals is a good thing and
will stop such tendencies. Until, of course, the supply
is halted. When people who have never learned self-control
or been taught to respect people and property, are cast
adrift from what Pyle assures the journalist is not an
addictive drug, bad events can only follow.
The constant jumps between characters and mindsets can be
distracting, but maybe author William Sutcliffe is
trying to let us in on the mind of someone with attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder. We get quotes from reports
about ADHD on top of each chapter. Among them, we're told
that providing tranquilisers to stressed housewives and
unruly children in tower blocks is cheaper than providing
better homes and playgroups. Ritalin, the currently
prescribed drug, is controversially growing in popularity
worldwide. The new CONCENTR8 is supposed to have advantages,
including fewer side effects and being cheaper. If I had to
guess, I'd say cheaper was the priority.
Love or loathe the story's warning on combining mental
health with social control, I believe we need to have this
discussion. William Sutcliffe, an English novelist, speaks
with several voices including strong language in this
tension-filled young adult novel.
In a future London, CONCENTR8 is a prescription drug intended to help kids with ADD. Soon every troubled
teen is on it. It makes sense, doesn't it? Keep the undesirable elements in line. Keep people like us safe from
people like them. What's good for society is good for everyone.
Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze have been taking Concentr8 as long as they can remember. They're not exactly
a gang, but Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet, watchful sidekick – the only one Blaze
really trusts. They're not looking for trouble, but one hot summer day, when riots break out across the city, they
What makes five kids pick a man seemingly at random – a nobody, he works in the housing department, doesn't
even have a good phone – hold a knife to his side, take him to a warehouse and chain him to a radiator? They've
got a hostage, but don't really know what they want, or why they've done it. And across the course of five tense
days, with a journalist, a floppy-haired mayor, a police negotiator, and the sinister face of the pharmaceutical
industry, they – and we – begin to understand why ...
This is a book about what how we label children. It's about how kids get lost and failed by the system. It's
about how politicians manipulate them. Gripping and controversial reading for fans of Malorie Blackman and