- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (24 April 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140380191
- ISBN-13: 978-0140380194
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Junk (Puffin Teenage Fiction) Paperback – 24 Apr 1997
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Junk is an extraordinary book, and walks a terrain that is at once terrifying and totally compelling.
Tar and Gemma are in love. Tar has reasons for running away from home that run deep and sour, whereas Gemma, with her middle-class roots firmly on show, has a deep-rooted lust for adventure. Together they explore the dark world of the streets as, together, they explore the dark world of drugs, moving quickly on from the first hit of heroin that takes them towards bliss, to the next hit that ultimately leads to despair.
Melvyn Burgess packs one hell of a punch in Junk, a book that is certainly unnerving in its honesty about two teenagers and their very different reasons for wanting to flee their families and their lives.
The narrative is simple and to the point, adding fire to the characterisation of the two main protagonists as they dive deeper into their love affair with heroin and each other. Burgess hits hard with his convincing handling of controversial subjects ranging from alcohol abuse, prostitution, teenage pregnancy and child abuse, skilfully moving the plot and the characters forward with a pace that mirrors Tar and Gemma's spiralling relationship.
Junk is a must-read for any teenager who enjoys gritty realism and a gutsy, honest approach to the books they read. But be warned, this book is not for the faint-hearted: the language is realistic, the situations are occasionally terrifying, and Burgess certainly does not glamorise any aspect of Tar and Gemma's lifestyle. Parents of teenagers should take a close look too. Age 12 and over--Susan Harrison
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)
The most talked-about children's book for years (Mail on Sunday)
Brilliantly and sensitively written, it encompasses the raw, savage and ecstatic world of the adolescent mind... a superbly crafted and important book (TES)
Beautifully written (The Times)
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Top Customer Reviews
What particularly impressed me is the way that Burgess plays with the reader's sympathies. At the beginning of the book, you find yourself really sympathising with the hapless Tar who is running away from two alocholic parents - one of whom emotionally abuses him, the other physically abuses him. Gemma by contrast is shown as being quite selfish - her biggest concern is to get away from two parents whose love is suffocating and she's happy to use Tar as a means of getting away, giving him sex even though she knows that she doesn't love him. As the book progresses however, you see how drugs affect both characters and as Tar steals to fund his habit and Gemma sells her body to fund hers, you become aware of how selfish and hard Tar is becoming and how Gemma is starting to realise that she can't lie to herself much longer. It's particularly interesting to see Gemma become the stronger character towards the end of the book - she's given something to get clean for and she's determined to do it, even though it means having to return to everything she gave up. There's a good contrast here between Gemma and the apparently glamorous Lily who is unable and unwilling to make the same choices and who is revealed to be living in a pathetic state of self-delusion.Read more ›
I really enjoyed the story once I got into it but found the jumping about of characters confusing and strange at times.
It's accurate, believable and one everyone should read especially those bringing up kids.
I'd recommend this book and only the jumping about stopped me giving it 5 stars. I'd definitely read other books by Melvin Xavier
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A favourite book that I have been waiting to come out on kindle. Heartbreaking story but so good.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Bought it for grandson but think he's not yet ready for the contentPublished 1 month ago by atedwards
Wow. This was a powerful book.
Tar and Gemma are fourteen year old friends. Tar comes from an unhappy background, filled with abuse. Read more
This has got to be one of my favourite books of all time, it's an enthralling whirlwind of events that will leave a lasting impression on it's readers. Read morePublished 6 months ago by SweetLulita&Co
I originally read it during my teacher training. After rereading it, ten years later, I am very impressed with the split narrative! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Christine
Very easy to read in-spite of the subject. Scarey too from a parents perspective because it seems to be all very realistic.Published 8 months ago by rabbit
It was a buy for my open university course. I takes me a while to adapt to this kind of literature but I must to admit it was worthy. I enjoyed a lot reading it.Published 10 months ago by Mercedes Rosales Jiménez