‘Concentr8’ – William Sutcliffe


Due to be published 27th August 2015, I have to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Childrens for giving me an advance digital copy of this novel.

The cover stands out, but it was the description of the book that stood out for me. Set in a future London, Concentr8 is the cheaper version of drugs used to treat children with ADD. It quickly becomes the ‘go-to’ drug, and a way of keeping what are perceived to be troubled teens in line.

Blaze and his crew have been taking Concentr8 for as long as they can remember. When supplies are removed, rioting breaks out across the city. What makes Blaze and his friends take hostage one of the Mayor’s employees we never really find out. What we get is an account of the five days following this decision.

We witness these events from many viewpoints, but never Blaze’s, and this was one of the most infuriating things about the novel. We are granted a tantalising glimpse into Blaze’s mind when he arranges an interview with a broadsheet journalist. He is evidently articulate and has academic potential, but social policies have ensured he is denied opportunities that would make a difference.

This was an interesting concept, and it certainly gets you thinking about how certain behaviours are managed, but I would have liked more.