07. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

The Hit by Melvin Burgess, 303 pages, read by Courtney, on 03/29/2014

Imagine a world, not too unlike our own, where a drug exists that can give users the ultimate high for an entire week. The drug, Death, makes everything about you better: your appearance, your mental process, your physical ailments, everything. The catch? Death is completely, one hundred percent lethal. Within a week of ingesting it, the user will die of heart failure. Ostensibly created as an euthanasia drug where the terminally ill could get one last good week before death, the drug has hit the black market. Thousands of disaffected citizens have taken the drug (and died, of course), but everything reaches a fevered pitch at a concert in Manchester where the lead singer of one of the most popular counter-cultural bands dies at the end of a sold-out concert after a week on Death. Adam and his girlfriend, Lizzie, are at that concert; front-row and center. Shortly after the singer collapses, the riots begin. As Adam and Lizzie slowly make their way through town, they feel like they’re on top of the world – it’s a revolution!
The next day, things start to turn sour for Adam. His brother has gone missing and is presumably dead, which means that Adam will be forced to support the family in his brother’s absence. He fails to tell Lizzie about it and winds up being a complete jerk to her. With his brother gone and Lizzie being over him, Adam finds himself spiraling into a serious funk. It’s bad enough that when he gets an opportunity to take Death, he actually swallows the pill, condemning himself. Then things start getting really interesting.
I felt that the premise to “The Hit” was fascinating, but Adam was not the most likeable of characters. He’s insanely selfish and it tended to bother me that Lizzie was willing to put up with it (even if he is dying). I really just kept wanting Lizzie to walk away from the whole thing, but she sticks with her boyfriend no matter how bad he gets or how bad the situation he’s created has gotten. This book does get major props for having genuinely evil and creepy mob-style villains. They’re positively chilling. Overall, this is an interesting and diverting read that manages to pose some serious questions. Consistent action sequences (with plenty of violence) and a fast pace make this a good pick for reluctant, but mature readers.

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