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Smack [Library Binding]

Melvin Burgess
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)

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Hardcover --  
Library Binding, April 11 2008 --  
Paperback CDN $9.92  

Book Description

April 11 2008 1435232798 978-1435232792 Reprint

I can give it up any time I want...
Sometimes maybe you need an experience. The experience can be a person or it can be a drug. The experience opens a door that was there all the time but you never saw it. Or maybe it blasts you into outer space. This time it was Lily and Rob and Gemma spending all that time to make me feel one of them, but it was the drug too. All that crap—about Gemma leaving me, about Mum and Dad, about leaving home. All that negative stuff. All the pain...
It just floated away from me, I just floated away from it... up and away...
I leaned back and I looked at the book and I looked at them and Gemma smiled at me, a big soft smile, and her eyes were like marbles.
“Better?” she said.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Like so many teenagers, Tar and Gemma are fed up with their parents. Tar's family is alcoholic and abusive, and Gemma feels her home life is cramped by too many restrictions. The young, British couple runs away to Bristol in search of freedom, and finds it in the form of a "squat." This vacant building is also occupied by two slightly older teens who share everything with Tar and Gemma (including their heroin habits). For a while, everything is parties and adventures, but slowly Tar and Gemma find themselves growing more and more dependent on the drug--whose strict mandates are even less forgiving than those of the parents they fled. As Gemma says, "You take more and more, and more often. Then you get sick of it and give up for a few days. And that's the really nasty thing because then, when you're clean, that's when it works so well."

With Smack, winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize for Fiction, Melvin Burgess brilliantly sketches a gradual descent into drug addiction. There is no preaching here, just the artful revelation of cold, hard facts. Burgess's use of the first-person voice--for not only the main characters but those in the background as well--brings you into the mind of every character in this homeless, hooked culture, offering a (sometimes terrible) glimpse of the motivations and transitions of each person. (Tar's personality changes dramatically over the course of the book, from sweet-natured, lonely boy to hard-edged, hit-seeking addict.) More subtle and less graphic than Beauty Queen, Linda Glovach's tale of a girl's downward spiral into heroin addiction, Smack will linger in the your mind long after its haunting conclusion has been reached. (Ages 13 and older) --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a starred review of this "searing" account of teens who become addicted to heroin, PW wrote that the "unflinching depiction of the seductive pleasures as well as insidious horrors of heroin... will leave an indelible impression on all who read it." Ages 12-up. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book! Jan. 14 2003
Format:Hardcover
I really like this book and i recommend everyone to read it... ... trust me everyone will love this book! ...this is my favorite book of all time! You should buy this book for yourself or for a friend that you would know who would like this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars As addictive as the drug itself Jan. 24 2002
By Julia
Format:Paperback
Smack is an amazing, powerful, amazingly powerful book. It portrays a side of the world that you don't normally see. It pulls you head first into a world of drugs, sex, and booze. Mainly drugs, particularly smack (smack, junk, heroin, whatever floats your boat). And there are some strange parallels between smack and Smack. When you start the book, you think, "This is a good book. I like it. I can take it or leave it, but I'd rather take it." Then, as the book progresses you find it harder and harder to put down. And when you HAVE to put it down for something else, you find your mind wandering back to the book, and you become more absorbed in its reality than your own. And finally, you may as well be surgically attached to it, because you just CAN'T put it down. And (here's where it's different) when it's all over and the dust clears, you have NO regrets. So, I guess, the book is better than the drug. But read it in moderation because you may get so wrapped up in the characters' lives and neglect your own, eventually causing your friends and family to leave you all alone with Smack. And the lesson: Be careful with Smack, kids; it could ruin your life.
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By Hanna
Format:Paperback
My gosh the beginning is pretty boring. Okay the first 2 pages or something are pretty interesting but when you enter the first chapter you begin to lose motivation of reading the book. Then you just can't continue. At least not with me. I'm sorry but I need books to be consecutively interesting. This one was not. So I never finished it. But I'm sure it would be pretty good later in the book. It's just I never got that far. If you're a reader who really likes reading and isn't that picky of books and stuff like that, then go for it. Read it. But if you're not, then DON'T!
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5.0 out of 5 stars heroin Jan. 10 2003
By lindsey
Format:Hardcover
this book was really good and i enjoyed reading it, the beginning seemed to drag on but later on in the book it began to get interesting and i really liked it. the growing epademic of heroin usage is amazing and this book shows the real side of kids my age using the drug and how is messes up their life. its a narley book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Opinion July 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is not only about two runaways from their home life. It is about the alienation that your environment has on you. You can tell when Burgess puts a chapter coming from a girls veiw (Lilly's) that in the chapter afterwords the other girl (gemma) is acting almost identical to lilly. It is about people who need love from others to survive, and people who dont understand their weakness.
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5.0 out of 5 stars everything you never knew about heroin May 27 2002
Format:Paperback
This book tells you what it's about right in the title; it's about smack, heroin, junk, whatever you want to call it. Smack is about two fourteen-year-olds living in squats in England in the 1980s. One of them, Tar, has an alcoholic mom and gets beat up by his dad so he runs away to live in a squat. His girlfriend, Gemma, hates her parents' restrictions, so she runs away to live with him. In Bristol, they meet two other teenagers, who introduce them to the drug that consumes their lives, heroin. Over the next four years, they are faced with addiction, prostitution, and numerous other things they didn't count on as they fall into and out of love with each other and heroin. They struggle with getting out of the deep hole of addiction, facing their parents, and regaining the lives they've created but have lost control of; all while learning many lessons about life, love, and themselves.
Burgess' style of writing each chapter from the view of a different character really pulls you into every side of the story, so that you feel like you are there. You come to know the characters inside and out, love them; you feel their pain and their joy. You worry for them and cheer for them throughout the whole book. But in addition to knowing the characters, you end up knowing the drug, heroin. This book reinforces everything you've ever been taught about drugs in a way more real than any health class.
I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants some drama, excitement, and emotion in a book. Teens especially will enjoy this book because they can relate to the feelings and the mindsets of the characters and what they are experiencing in this modern setting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars smack May 21 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Smack is a very good book, it is my favorite book ever. It talks about a kid having trouble at home and his dad beats him and his mom, so he runs away and gets involved in drugs and his life falls apart. He then gets his girlfriend to run away and come and live with him (witch is a bad mistake). She doesn't really like living with those people but then she meets a girl that changes her whole life. She soon gets offered her first hit of smack her and tar both so they do it. If it sounds interesting to you, read the rest of the book. The reason why I like this book is because it relates to real life stories. I really liked this book a lot it is my favorite of all time and I recommend this book to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars smack May 21 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Smack is a very good book, it is my favorite book ever. It talks about a kid having trouble at home and his dad beats him and his mom, so he runs away and gets involved in drugs and his life falls apart. He then gets his girlfriend to run away and come and live with him (witch is a bad mistake). She doesn't really like living with those people but then she meets a girl that changes her whole life. She soon gets offered her first hit of smack her and tar both so they do it. If it sounds interesting to you, read the rest of the book. The reason why I like this book is because it relates to real life stories. I really liked this book a lot it is my favorite of all time and I recommend this book to anyone.
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