Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. DOPESICK. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978061214776 [Suggested Grade Levels 8- 12]
Lil J has lived through the layers of pain that are difficult for inner city youths to transcend. His path from "brokesick" to "dopesick" leads to a drug deal gone bad and the shooting of an undercover cop. Lil J suddenly finds himself in an abandoned crack house with a bullet wound to the arm. He would do anything to change the last 24 hours. The possibility becomes real when he stumbles into Kelly, who is set up in front of a TV set with remote control, about to provide Lil J the opportunity to assess and confront his own existence and ultimately provide a chance to change the direction of his life.
DOPESICK is a short, intense novel that pulls the reader into a young man's despair. The descriptions and dialogue depict a bleak life in the inner city and also the hope of redemption and the possibility of a second chance. Through Lil J's introspection, he is forced to confront his reality as readers question their own. Myers provides a very creative and effective story about teens’ choices in today's society.
While reading, readers should think of the significance of the book’s title. They can focus on the questions: Why does Kelly continue to ask Lil J what he wished that he could change? What answer could Kelly be looking for? Does he get an answer at the end of the novel?
Readers can create a wanted poster for Kelly using the description from the novel with information about the crime that he committed and his possible whereabouts.
Other novels by Walter Dean Myers:
GAME. ISBN 9780060582968
MONSTER. ISBN 9780064407311
STREET LOVE. ISBN 9780064407328
By Brandi D. Grant