Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. Simon & Schuster, 2021. 9781534451254

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 2

Format: Paperback ARC

Genre: Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book? The book begins with an overdosed teenager with the name Ramey, I., but who is it, Isaac or Ivy? Flash back two months… Isaac is a hardworking student with a promising future and a chance at a soccer scholarship to college. Ivy has a deadbeat boyfriend and often stays out late partying. Roxy (oxycontin) and Addison (adderall) are about to enter their lives. Ivy has ADD and decides to finally start taking prescription medication for her disorder and get her life on track. A soccer injury causes Isaac to take Roxy to ease the pain and he quickly develops a dependence. Chapters alternate between the humans’ 3rd person points of view and the 1st person POV of the Roxy and Addison personified as gods. Soon Roxy and Addison make a bet — which can bring a Ramey sibling to the Party (overdose) first? 

Like Shusterman’s other novels, Roxy is tightly plotted and hard to put down. Interludes from other drugs add further interest. I found myself racing through the novel to get to the conclusion. That said…

Anything you did not like about the book? I find this book very problematic. ADD/ADHD is a stigmatized disorder to begin with and this book will not help. Some people who have the disorder do sometimes abuse the prescribed medication, but research actually shows that most often ADD/ADHD meds actually decrease the risk of drug and alcohol abuse for individuals who have the disorder. To put Adderall on par with Oxycontin in terms of addictiveness and as a gateway drug is a harmful narrative. ADHD meds can literally be lifesaving. I also think it would have been useful to have a glossary of the drugs mentioned in the book. Some readers won’t be familiar with some of the nicknames.

To whom would you recommend this book? High schoolers who like reading about addiction might enjoy this book, but I don’t recommend it.

Who should buy this book? I don’t recommend the book personally.

Where would you shelve it? Young adult fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date of review: September 7, 2021

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