Friday 9 August 2013

Review: The Hit by Melvin Burgess

Summary (from Goodreads):
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...

What surprised me to no end is just how British this book is. I have gotten so use to reading books set in America, I open up a teen book and expect to read about what to wear to high school, studying for SATs and going to college and malls... despite living in England. It was a shock for me to open up The Hit and recognise the dialect as what I tend to hear on the streets and that really made the characters feel that much more real.

Both Adam and Lizzie, and the secondary characters also, are extremely realistic and I applaud Burgess for being able to create characters that are not only interesting to read about, but also believable. Adam isn't exactly the most likeable of characters, what with his inability to really think about anybody but himself and Lizzie also, grated me due to her constant naivety but flawed, slightly irritating but realistic characters are better than perfect and unrealistic ones any day.

Similar to the characters, the romance isn't fiction perfect. Adam and Lizzie don't get together and unconditionally love each other after overcoming the problem of their social class difference. They fight, they both do things wrong, they don't communicate well so they often keep things bottled up inside and Adam, like most teenage boys, really wants sex to the point where he repeatedly nearly drives Lizzie away. What I liked about this romance is that even by the end of The Hit, all their problems aren't resolved and it isn't written as if the two are destined to live their whole lives together; it is a teen romance through and through.

The plot is probably the best thing about The Hit. The Hit is about Britain on the very cusp of a revolution.. it is truly thrilling to read. Emotions run high and loyalty runs deeper than blood. It is a world where the rich are simply getting richer and the poor seem to getting more poor by the day so people group together to really do something about it. This isn't a dystopian book where a group of rebels and outcasts are fighting a tyrannous government hundreds of years in the future... it is hundreds and hundreds teenagers who would rather live a week of bliss than their whole lives and it is every day people wanting more for themselves.. and it's something that could happen. I would have actually preferred more attention to the actual revolution to the romancing of Lizzie and Adam.

Nonetheless I enjoyed reading this book and the premise is both plausible and terrifying making for a fascinating read, especially for a teenager living in England. One thing is for sure, I will definitely be delving into the world of British YA literature much more after reading this.

Music choice: I thought at first what could be more British than Power To The People by The Beatles' John Lennon but I didn't really think that the song epitomised the anger and desperation of the Zealots in The Hit so... I've picked TWO QUEEN SONGS. One of which is We Are The Champions for the revolution side of things...

..and the other being Don't Stop Me Now for the insane high of Death. 

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