Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Review: Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

If you could change one
thing about your life,
what would it be?

Seventeen-year-old Lil J is in trouble, big trouble. He's living a hard life in Harlem with his drug addicted mother. Out of money and without a job he looks for some easy cash. When a drug run goes bad, an undercover cop is critically wounded and his buddy is caught. Lil J goes on the run. With the police in pursuit he hides out in a crack house. He's been shot in the arm and is desperate to escape but sees no way out. A television is playing in an upper apartment where a spooky man named Kelly sits and waits. He knows Lil J and he knows his life because he's watching it on TV.

His life is a mess and he would do anything to change it. Kelly may just give him the chance. With a flick of the remote control he shows Lil J his future if he tries to run to the roof. He's surrounded by cops and is holding his own gun to his head. Unsure of what he is seeing but with few options he is forced to stay. As he hides out in increasing pain and needing a fix his desperation builds. Unable to leave he is reluctant to answer Kelly's questions but he is persistent and somehow he can play Lil J's past, present and future. As he watches the TV his story unfolds but can he identify where his life went wrong? If he had the chance to change just one thing, what would that be and could he prevent this moment?

This was a short, intense read that pulls you into a young man's despair. The descriptions and dialogue depict a bleak life in the inner city but the hope of redemption and the possibility of a second chance is intriguing. Through Lil J's introspection he is forced to confront his reality. We may be a victim of circumstances but we all have choices to make in how we handle it. The author provides a very creative and effective story about those choices in today's society. This is the first book I've read by Myers but it won't be the last.

Thank you to HarperTeen (HarperCollins) for an ARC of this book.

author website -
publisher -

Release date: 2/10/09
Pages: 192
Price/format: $16.99/hardcover
Type: Young adult urban fantasy
Age: 14 and up


  1. This kind of sounds like a modern day version of A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life. It sounds like it will really make you stop and think about what some kids endure these days.

  2. I read a fw of his when I was younger and this one sounds good. Thanks for the review.

  3. Thanks for the review. Not my typical read but I surely would give this one a shot.


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