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 find it. 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.
Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe looked like an interesting read when I first got it. Concentr8 is a book about a bunch of kids who have ADD and are on a drug called as Concentr8 which seems to be doing more harm than good. The kids decide to kidnap a person and so the story goes over the course of 5 days. I couldn't relate to a single person in the book and that is why I didn't enjoy the book.
The book goes on from several different perspectives, the kids, the journalist, the mayor, the hostage. To make the book more authentic the kids' perspective is written in wrong English or I guess how you would expect a kid to think with ADD. There were no punctuations at all and the grammar was a mess. I get that it was done on purpose but I found myself getting distracted and paying attention to the grammatical details instead of the book itself.
Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze had unique personalities and it was not difficult to differentiate between them. But again, and this may be my problem alone, there wasn't much of a dialogue or reason behind the actions. I got bored of reading pages full of paragraphs. It just couldn't hold my interest and I had to force myself to finish the book.
In the beginning of each chapter we get a paragraph which has extracts from various books regarding ADHD, how pills are doing more harm than good etc. It was really weird and sad and very creepy if children are actually being given drugs just to behave more obediently. The book is more like a documentary than anything.
I won't say the book is bad if you are interested in the subject matter and want to get the children's point of view where ADHD and such drugs are concerned. I on the other hand just felt like the book wasn't for me as I didn't enjoy myself while reading it nor could I immerse myself in the world. Concentr8 was an average read for me.
*Note: A copy of this book was provided by Bloomsbury India in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.