professornana (professornana) wrote,

Dope Sick

Walter Dean Myers offers readers a sobering experience in his forthcoming book (HarperTeen, February 2009), DOPE SICK. I do not have a cover to show, but that should not matter in the least when it comes to sharing this book with teens. Lil J is broke sick. His life seems to be one huge downward spiral. He does not do well in school because things are not well at home. He can't get a job; there seems to be no escape. Now, he is wounded in a drug deal gone south. Wandering into what he thinks is a vacant apartment building, he encounters Kelly, a stranger who sits with his remote showing Lil J what is unfolding on the streets below. If he could change his life, Kelly asks, what would Lil J do?

Pondering when things truly went wrong is something new to Lil J and, I suspect, to many readers as well. Making decisions, living through rationalizations (so guilty here myself), and coming up with excuses do nothing to cure what ails Lil J. Broke sick or dope sick or just sick of the cards life has dealt: how many of the teens we see know this life? How many feel as helpless as Lil J? Myers has given readers lots to ponder and to talk about.
Tags: walter dean myers, ya books
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