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Written by Melvin Burgess

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Junk Review

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Winner of the 1996 CILIP Carnegie Medal  When it was published in 1996 it created a Storm of Protest - especially from those who didn't bother to read it. The book, however, is credible, honest, realistic, moving and sympathetic - not to drug taking, but to some of the reasons for it and how the young fall into it and then, with luck and a bit of help, get themselves out of it.  Junk not for the faint-hearted for it is utterly compelling and terrifying by turns – from bliss through to complete despair we see all manner of emotions that at times will make you feel utterly drained.  It’s a real roller-coaster and yet it is completely honest and real to today’s world.  Controversy has always gone where this book has gone for it’s hard-hitting approach to the subjects of drink, of drugs and of sex.  Junk is an absolute must-read for any teenager and an essential eye-opener to any parent of a teenager.

Winner of the Carnegie Medal 1996 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

A Note from the Author, Melvin Burgess  This book is set roughly in the early and middle 1980s, when I myself was living in Bristol. All the major events have happened, are happening and will no doubt continue to happen. I saw many of them myself and heard about many more. As for the people here . . . some are pure invention, some are seeded from real people and then fictionalised, some are fictitious with bits of real people stirred in. The only proper portrait is Richard, one of the nicest and strangest people I’ve ever met, who is beyond praise or prosecution, bless him. He died on the motorway some years ago. The book isn’t fact; it isn’t even faction. But it’s all true, every word.


Junk Synopsis

This is the love story of two runaway teenagers, Gemma and Tar, and their struggles with heroin addiction. Melvin Burgess' most ambitious and complex novel is a multi-faceted and vivid depiction of a group of young people in the grip of addiction. It is told in many different voices, from the addicts themselves to the friends watching from the outside who try to prevent tragedy.

Junk Press Reviews

Everyone should read Junk. The Times

Melvin Burgess's ground-breaking Junk remains the best book about teenagers and drugs to this day Julia Eccleshare, Guardian Online

Occasionally a 'teenage novel comes along which makes one reconsider the whole genre and its potential. Such a book is Melvin Burgess's Junk. -- Robert Dunbar Children's Books in Ireland

Brilliantly and sensitively written, it encompasses the raw, savage and ecstatic world of the adolescent mind... a superbly crafted and important book TES

Moving and provocative  Observer

A powerful talent who offers few easy solutions The Times

Believable and rivetingly readable. I couldn’t put it down  Evening Standard

One novel that will leave an indelible impression on all who read it  Publishers Weekly

It is the real thing – a teenage novel for teenage readers  The Scotsman

An honest, authentic look at drug culture  Time Out

Haunting and remarkable for the insight and understanding with which the author develops the characters  Guardian

Uncompromising but utterly convincing  Mail on Sunday

Will make a huge impact on all who read it  Herald

Junk is guaranteed to shake you and make you realise how awful and brilliant life is Scotland on Sunday

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781783440627
Publication date: 03/04/2014
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780141315935
Publication date: 06/03/2003
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback (b Format)

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783440627
Publication date: 3rd April 2014
Author: Melvin Burgess
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Suitable for: YA readers
Genres: Gritty Reads
Recommendations: eBooks

About Melvin Burgess

Melvin Burgess was brought up in Sussex and Berkshire.  As a child, his reading included The Wind in the Willows and Gerald Durrell's animal stories. He went on to enjoy The Hobbit and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books. A generally unconfident student, he became interested in writing when he was twelve and an English teacher praised one of his stories  - "it was about the first time I'd ever done anything that got an A. I was so pleased I never stopped."  After leaving school, Melvin moved to Bristol  where he worked on occasional jobs, mainly in ...

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