cover image Concentr8


William Sutcliffe. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-61963-919-5

In a story set in a fictionalized contemporary London, Sutcliffe (The Wall) blends scathing political commentary with Jonathan Swift's sarcasm and Lord of the Flies%E2%80%93esque anarchy. On the heels of rioting in London due to the sudden scarcity of Concentr8, a state-prescribed medication for controlling hyperactivity, six teens take a hostage from the city housing department. Over the course of five days of introspection and interplay, these young people from London's projects come to a better%E2%80%94and horrifying%E2%80%94understanding of exactly how the political machine and society operate. With a writing style that is both entertaining and stark, Sutcliffe uses broad, vivid strokes to highlight societal injustice while filling in details that focus on the interconnectedness of friendship and the dangers of unquestioningly following a single leader. The varied perspectives of several narrators offer nuanced insight and a sobering glimpse at a population oppressed politically, socially, and in spirit. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Felicity Rubinstein, Lutyens & Rubinstein. (Jan.)