Pure Sunshine [NOOK Book]

Overview

A spellbinding trip of a novel about three friend breaking apart in their quest to stave off boredom and sameness.

It's not about the drugs. It's not about the girls or the fights or the fading streetlights. It's about two nights that weren't going to be different from the rest, but then took a turn. It's about trying to find out who you are and who your real friends are. It's about everything being the same, the same, the same. It's about ...
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Pure Sunshine

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Overview

A spellbinding trip of a novel about three friend breaking apart in their quest to stave off boredom and sameness.

It's not about the drugs. It's not about the girls or the fights or the fading streetlights. It's about two nights that weren't going to be different from the rest, but then took a turn. It's about trying to find out who you are and who your real friends are. It's about everything being the same, the same, the same. It's about nothing being the same again. It's about Brendon, WIll, and Kevin -- three friends on different paths -- and the weekend that put them to the test.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This compact, first-person confessional by debut novelist James is an acid trip. Literally. Teenage Brendon good student, eccentric dresser, shy around girls trips regularly with his friends Kevin and Will. The story covers 48 hours of their lives as they wander the streets of Philadelphia, after scoring some tabs of "pure sunshine" ("a sheet of California acid [with] little yellow suns illustrated on each tab") from their dealer. As the others revel in excess, Brendon begins to feel alienated from his clique and disillusioned with the path he's been taking. "I could feel the ghosts in my spine," he says. "Kicking and whining. I couldn't keep it up much longer. I headed to the park and toward the promise of recovery. Had to detox." James's airy, hallucinogenic imagery and nonjudgmental portraits of teenage behavior will appeal to fans of Melvin Burgess and Chris Lynch. "We emerged from that candlelit extravagance like nuclear holocaust survivors from their backyard bomb shelter. The pupils of our eyes were in full eclipse." There's not much of a conclusion Brendon finally talks to the girl he likes, figures his conflicts with his friends will blow over, and decides to take a long walk. Unlike Smack, there is no clear anti-drug message, either. Instead, readers may close the novel with the uncanny feeling that they've just come down off a couple tabs of acid. Ages 13-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This compact, first-person confessional by debut novelist James is an acid trip. Literally. Teenage Brendon good student, eccentric dresser, shy around girls trips regularly with his friends Kevin and Will. The story covers 48 hours of their lives as they wander the streets of Philadelphia, after scoring some tabs of "pure sunshine" ("a sheet of California acid [with] little yellow suns illustrated on each tab") from their dealer. As the others revel in excess, Brendon begins to feel alienated from his clique and disillusioned with the path he's been taking. "I could feel the ghosts in my spine," he says. "Kicking and whining. I couldn't keep it up much longer. I headed to the park and toward the promise of recovery. Had to detox." James's airy, hallucinogenic imagery and nonjudgmental portraits of teenage behavior will appeal to fans of Melvin Burgess and Chris Lynch. "We emerged from that candlelit extravagance like nuclear holocaust survivors from their backyard bomb shelter. The pupils of our eyes were in full eclipse." There's not much of a conclusion Brendon finally talks to the girl he likes, figures his conflicts with his friends will blow over, and decides to take a long walk. Unlike Smack, there is no clear anti-drug message, either. Instead, readers may close the novel with the uncanny feeling that they've just come down off a couple tabs of acid. Ages 13-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
This novel is supposed to be about everything being the same and nothing being the same, about the contradictions of growing up and finding one's self, and about two drug-filled nights in the life of a teenager. The acid trip is the real main character in the book, not the narrator, seventeen-year-old Brendon. There is only a glimpse into Brendon's life before the trip and most of it is superficial. He has a crush on his friend's ex-girlfriend, he has known his best friend since they both trashed a bathroom in the sixth-grade, and as long as he goes to school in the morning, his mom is happy. Brendon experiences an intense trip after two nights of dropping acid, alienating his friends who want to continue the party despite his increasing discomfort. Even his best friend lets him down when he looks to him for support. There is interesting potential in Brendon's story but not enough to build it up. With no in-depth character development, Brendon never becomes a meaningful, interesting person. Because much of the book focuses on the acid trip, which could have been more interesting, the characters get lost in the shuffle. James just scratches the surface of Brendon's world, and his book reads more like a short story than a fully developed novel. Teens looking for a book about drugs would be better off reading Melvin Burgess' Smack (Henry Holt, 1998/VOYA February 1998). [Editor's Note: This new Scholastic imprint combines reprints and original publications of debut authors, many of whom are quite young. The target audience is older teens, those who have outgrown middle-grade books.] VOYA CODES: 2Q 2P J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with aspecial interest in the subject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Push/Scholastic, 165p,
— Jennifer Rice
Children's Literature
Brendon is a seventeen year old high-school student who drops acid with a couple of his friends in an attempt to experience as much life as possible before they grow to old to enjoy it. While James only provides commentary on two consecutive nights of Brendon's life, he gives the impression that Brendon and his friends have already experienced everything else and that acid gives them an opportunity to view their life through its effects. On the second night, not all goes as planned and Brendon is abandoned by his friends. It is during this abandonment that Brendon sees the direction that his life has taken and determines to choose a different path. James is a very talented writer; his words provide striking detail and visual images that make the reader want to continue reading long after the novel is completed. However, the story that James tells seems to glamorize drug use, especially since it is under the influence of acid that Brendon determines what direction his life needs to take. 2001, Scholastic, $6.99. Ages 15 to 18. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
KLIATT
Brendon and his high school chums ingest LSD on two successive evenings, roam the streets of Philadelphia, and make valiant attempts to be cool. While the author has done an excellent job of depicting both the paranoia and self-conscious wittiness to which teen boys under the influence can be prone, Brendon and his world remain for too many passages here a collection of journalist's sketches rather than a novelist's cast of characters. The alienation evoked in the reader suits the storyline, but not enough happens to keep that reader engaged and caring: Brendon clearly is intelligent, analytically inclined, and uncertain of his status in the herd of his less conscious and equally stoned peers, but that doesn't go anywhere in and of itself. The author's youth, skillful and sophisticated style, and subject matter will attract bright young readers, especially those who also write. But there is more style here than substance, a disappointing departure from this new imprint's other offerings. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Scholastic, Push, 160p.,
— Francisca Goldsmith
School Library Journal
Gr 10-Up The story follows Brendon through two days that include an LSD trip where he engages in impish behavior and giggles with his buddies and an outing gone wrong in a garish club. The required day of school is sandwiched in between. The teen's fear of talking to a girl he really wants to connect with rings poignant as he muses: "I used to think that I could pass through life in a fantasy, that if I did enough drugs and dreamed hard enough then I could leave this hellish world on a permanent psychedelic holiday." He wanders with his friends, characters who are appropriately developed, through excellent descriptions of the streets of Philadelphia. Brendon learns: "-how carried away I'd gotten as tends to happen when the highs and the drugs exceed pleasure and become motivations-bring you to the extremes of fun and leave you down and bored and disinterested in the things that suck. But I guess you gotta be part of some of the things that suck if you are going to ever enjoy the highs again." Language is raw and gritty, but true to Brendon's voice. The conclusion may not be grounded in reality, but sustains the mood and plot created. Although the subject of drugs may appeal to reluctant readers, they may find Brendon's journeys too meandering and philosophical. The style and subject matter may appeal to teens who liked Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (MTV, 1999) and Melvin Burgess's Smack (Holt, 1998).-Debbie Stewart, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher

This compact, first-person confessional by debut novelist James is an acid trip. Literally. Teenage Brendon--good student, eccentric dresser, shy around girls--trips regularly with his friends Kevin and Will. The story covers 48 hours of their lives as they wander the streets of Philadelphia, after scoring some tabs of “pure sunshine" ("a sheet of California Acid [with] little yellow suns illustrated on each tab") from their dealer. As the others revel in excess, Brendon begins to feel alienated from his clique and disillusioned with the path he's been taking. “I could feel the ghosts in my spine," he says. "Kicking and whining. I couldn't keep it up much longer.... I headed to the park and toward the promise of recovery. Had to detox." James's airy, hallucinogenic imagery and nonjudgmental portraits of teenage behavior will appeal to fans of Melvin Burgess and Chris Lynch. "We emerged from that candlelit extravagance like nuclear holocaust survivors from their backyard bomb shelter. The pupils of our eyes were in full eclipse." There's not much of a conclusion-- Brendon finally talks to the girl he likes, figures his conflicts with his friends will blow over, and decides to take a long walk. Unlike Smack, there is no clear anti-drug message, either. Instead, readers may close the novel with the uncanny feeling that they've just come down off a couple tabs of acid.--Publishers Weekly, Dec. 10th, 2001

The story follows Brendon through two days that include an LSD trip where he engages in impish behavior and giggles with his buddies and an outing gone wrong in a garish club. The required day of school is sandwiched in between. The teen's fear of talking to a girl he really wants to connect with rings poignant as he muses: "I used to think that I could pass through life in a fantasy, that if I did enough drugs and dreamed hard enough then I could leave this hellish world on a permanent psychedelic holiday." He wanders with his friends, characters who are appropriately developed, through excellent descriptions of the streets of Philadelphia. Brendon learns: "-how carried away I'd gotten as tends to happen when the highs and the drugs exceed pleasure and become motivations-bring you to the extremes of fun and leave you down and bored and disinterested in the things that suck. But I guess you gotta be part of some of the things that suck if you are going to ever enjoy the highs again." Language is raw and gritty, but true to Brendon's voice. The conclusion may not be grounded in reality, but sustains the mood and plot created. Although the subject of drugs may appeal to reluctant readers, they may find Brendon's journeys too meandering and philosophical. The style and subject matter may appeal to teens who liked Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (MTV, 1999) and Melvin Burgess's Smack (Holt, 1998).--School Library Journal, July 1st, 2002
This novel is supposed to be about everything being the same and nothing being the same, about the contradictions of growing up and finding one's self, and about two drug-filled nights in the life of a teenager. The acid trip is the real main character in the book, not the narrator, seventeen-year-old Brendon. There is only a glimpse into Brendon's life before the trip and most of it is superficial. He has a crush on his friend's ex-girlfriend, he has known his best friend since they both trashed a bathroom in the sixth-grade, and as long as he goes to school in the morning, his mom is happy. Brendon experiences an intense trip after two nights of dropping acid, alienating his friends who want to continue the party despite his increasing discomfort. Even his best friend lets him down when he looks to him for support. There is interesting potential in Brendon's story but not enough to build it up. With no in-depth character development, Brendon never becomes a meaningful, interesting person. Because much of the book focuses on the acid trip, which could have be

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545231947
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Series: Push
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,142,258
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 327 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Suckiness

    I did not really like anything about this book; it was dull, repetitive, and boring. I could not remember what happened after a day of reading it because it was so boring that I became very disinterested. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone, because it just drowns on and on with no direction.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2007

    Brian James Rocks

    I thought this book was very god and was beautifully written. it kind of reminded me of Catcher In the Rye. it's about a boy who in these 2 days starts to question the way his living and he wants to change. i thought it was in awesome book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    hooked

    you can stop reading it.. you keep telling yourself one one chapter.. the plot keeps unfolding into new exciting situations.. its a must read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2006

    Wow!!!

    This was a great book about the world of drugs. It was so good i read it in a day! You get so rapped up in the main characters thoughts its incredible.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2011

    Great book. It is well written and really keeps you engaged.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    An Okay Book

    Pure Sunshine by Brian James is the perfect book for someone interested in the life of a drug addict. The novel tells the story of Brendan's adventures with his friends over a two day span. Brendan and his friends, Kevin and Will, take acid at dusk. They then roam downtown Philadelphia. They walk around scaring civilians, go into expensive, upscale restaurants to cause ruckus, and over all act like they rule the city and everyone else is in their way. They look at other people with disgust automatically assuming that they are judging them. Brendan and his friends then go back to Kevin's house at four in the morning to get some sleep before school the next morning. They boys wake up and exchange clothes. They go to school and drag themselves through the day. The only bright part of the school day is English for Brendan. Not only does he love English, but Melissa is in the class, his love interest, but also his friend Ryan's ex-girlfriend. After school has ended Brendan, Kevin, Will, Ryan, and Taylor go to their drug dealers apartment to get some more acid. They buy their acid, but become frustrated with the dealer when he tries to con them into buying more drugs. Already irritated, all the friends take their hit of acid. The boys then go to a Beatles themed club. All the boys have fun, expect Brendan. Brendan begins to feel ill due to the acid; however, his friends want to take another hit. Brendan says no, this angers his friends, especially Kevin. Kevin becomes so enraged that he screams at Brendan, revealing his most private secrets. Brendan storms out of the club realizing he has no true friends and disappointed in himself for who he has become. Read Pure Sunshine to find out what happens next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    alright

    It's a pretty good book if you're looking for a quick little something for boredem. I started and finished Pure Sunshine in one night. The main character (i thought) was not developed quite enough. It lacked emotional attachment because there wasn't enough substance. However I liked how the first time he trips, he and his friends have an awesome time but then the second day everything goes wrong. That is basically the whole plot. I think it's for a younger audience, but it's really not bad all in all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2005

    Great Read

    Brian James' writing is beautiful and real. Something poetic about it and forced me into his world. I loved this book. It is an inspiration.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2004

    Encredibly written, Brian James rules

    This book was fantastic!!! I loved it begging to end. Brian James is a fantastic writter. This book is a great exmple. I loved the ending, it was soo good, i had to read it again. brian James is my favorite author, I love him!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    READ THIS TODAY!!

    Brian james is brilliant, he is one of my favorite authors and this is my favorite book, he uses such vivid details and i almost feel like i am there with him for his trip. if you havent read this book make time for it! you will never see teenagers and drugs the same, its not the drugs, its lfe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2003

    A Honest Book Written For Teenagers

    the book was captivating. i carried it with me to every class for a day, unable to put it down. so many people asked me what it was about after seeing the title, and they're practically in line to borrow it. it shows what teenage life is like so clearly and lets you know you're not alone. it's NOT about the drugs ... it's about everything else.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    A GREAT BOOK!

    This book was great. I thought it was great how the author showed the pros and cons of drug use. it was interesting and i would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2002

    Pure Sunshine

    It was very entertaining for me and it really captured the true life of teenagers. Most books are unrealistic or stupid...but this one meant something. WORTH READING

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2002

    Pure Sunshine

    it was well done...and it really shows the truth ups and downs of teenage life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2002

    You have once again found your path! Great Job

    Wow! There is so much to wirte about this book. Its amazing to see what Brian went throught. It was like i was right there and felt everything he did. I have never gotten that into drugs and since i have read Pure Sunshine i have never wanted to. It just shows teams alot about life. Brian found out who he was and i was so happy for him at the end. If you like to read sorrys where people find there lives again and get on the right path, you with love Pure Sunshine! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2002

    hillarious

    the book is funny. you read it, and people watch you b/c you look like an idiot laughing so hard. then it gets deep, and it's impossible to put down. i loved it, and brian, you need to write some more books asap.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    Pure Sunshine

    Pure Sunshine is a great book. Very real, very engaging, and very well-written. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a book that keeps things real about life and that isn't afraid to be honest about drugs or anything else.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2002

    Essential for high school

    i dont think high school life and drugs could have been captured any beter than from this book. it really puts the reader in an acid trip

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2001

    Bravo Bryan!

    Painfully honest depiction of teenage life. I couldn't put it down, even though it was emotionally draining. An exceptionally talented author from whom I can't wait to see more books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2001

    Pure Sunshine is the best book I've read in years!

    It's a great debut by a great new writer. I can't wait for his next book! Pure Sunshine is beautifully written, honest, and I couldn't help, but fall in love with the narrator.

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