Friday 12 April 2013

The Hit by Melvin Burgess

With Jimmy, it was all about the fans. People often say a performer gave everything, but no one ever promised more for a show than he had tonight.
Published by Chicken House on April 4th 2013
Pages - 305
Goodreads Summary
Take it. Live it. F*** it.
A new drug is out. Everyone is talking about it. The Hit. Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It's the ultimate high. At the ultimate price.
Adam is tempted. Life is rubbish, his girlfriend's over him, his brother's gone. So what's he got to lose? Everything, as it turns out. It's up to his girlfriend, Lizzie, to show him...
This book is not for the faint hearted. Within the first few pages you are thrown into this world forty years in the future when unemployment is at its highest and the recession has taking full control. The book portrays an extremely realistic and frightening view of what the UK could one day become. On the death of the rock star Jimmy Earle from a recreational drug that gives you the best week of your life, followed by your imminent death, the country erupts into violence and revolt. Everyone wants to live like Jimmy and the drug Death, floods onto the streets via the cult organisation, Zealots. You get a chill speeding through your body, as the riots occur and spiral out of control, reminding you all of the violence and demonstrations that took place  on the streets of the UK a few years ago. It makes you feel uneasy and uncomfortable, but you find yourself compelled to read further to find out what will happen.
The Zealots are a rather scary organisation with hints of present day terrorist groups flavouring their image. Suicide bombing is as natural to them as taking a stroll in the park; the group members are brainwashed and happy to die for the cause. With the added ingredient of gangsters, mob mentality and drugs flooding the market, you have a strong, gritty and determined contemporary thriller. A YA version of Martina Cole’s adult novels.
I didn’t like Adam to begin with. He came across as a desperate money grabbing hormonal teacher, intent on shagging  a rich girl and making her pregnant. An instant turn off to any girl. I suppose if the world had turned in such a way, he would represent a major group of teenagers with the same mentality. Lizzie came across as a stronger and more likeable character. She wasn’t perfect, she had that selfishness inbred in many teenagers oozing out occasionally but on the whole she wanted to the right thing for Adam.
The idea of a drug that would give you the best week of your life is an interesting one. As the story progresses, you realise the drug doesn’t do a lot to create the exhilarating experience anticipated. A lot of it has to do with attitude and the drug takers overhaul the way they view their life – with one week to live they are determined to live it to the fullest and do everything they can. If you knew you had one week to live and you were feeling healthy, you would go utterly wild, it’s human nature.
The violence in this book is hard hitting and graphic. Not a book I would let the younger readers of YA read. In fact the content is verging on a cross over novel. There were scenes that made me flinch, enough to give me nightmares. Christian scared the hell out of me; he was sick in his mind and attitude. His gruesome obsession with the spinal cord was extremely disturbing.
I do think this is a book you will either love or hate, depending on how much violence your stomach can take. Melvin Burgess is known for his hard hitting, no nonsense Young Adult books, well this one is a classic example that the author doesn’t bow to niceties.
A fast paced, gripping story that kicks you right in the gut.


  1. Sounds incredible! This came through the postbox today and I'm really looking forward to it!

  2. I read this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it so I'm glad you did too. I agree; Christian scared me too!


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