Teen Book of the Month: Concentr8

Category: Parents


Author: William Sutcliffe | Age category: 12-16

Intense, urban and gritty: adjectives that would indicate this is not a light-hearted read and ... it’s not. It is pretty heavy but it is very enjoyable, informative and definitely worth picking up.

This story tells of a society where the behaviour of children is controlled through the use of a drug similar to Ritalin, called Concentr8. Soon, through official policy, every troubled teen is medicated and when the programme is stopped and the drug depleted, chaos, squalor and riots ensue. We join the story when these riots are in full swing and are greeted with a dystopian London in complete disorder and anarchy.  

This is a very thought-provoking novel with an intriguing premise that would lend itself to great discussions within a book group or act as a stand alone read that will enlighten a reader who does not know a great deal about the topic of ADHD.


Q&A with William Sutcliffe 

What kind of research did you do for this book? Did you enjoy the research?

I did a huge amount of research for Concentr8, reading every book I could find on the topic of ADHD. I didn’t know anything about it when I started, and I have no science background whatsoever, so the research for the book has been a fascinating voyage of discovery. Gradually inching your way towards some kind of expertise on a particular subject is one of the great excitements of being a writer. Something sparks your interest, and you can pursue it as far as you like. I am now passionate about the subject of ADHD, and how children are often unjustly labelled with a disorder and given powerful drugs that are unlikely to help them over the long term.

What else have you in the pipeline?

I have recently finished the third of my Circus of Thieves books for younger readers (8-12), which is due out next year. They are illustrated by the superb David Tazzyman, so even if the text isn’t as funny as I think it is, his pictures certainly are.

A few months ago I started another YA book which I have just decided is rubbish, so I’ve ditched it and I am working up a new idea.

What tips can you give to any aspiring writers?

You have to enjoy the process of writing. Do it for its own sake, without worrying about the end result. If you want to run a marathon, start by running around the block. It’s the same principle. And if you enjoy running, you will gradually find yourself running more often, going a little further each time.



We have 5 copies of Concentr8 to be won! To be in with a chance of winning one, just answer this question:

William wrote a teen title that was nominate for the 2015 Scottish Children's Book Awards. What is the title of this book?

Send your answer to Miriam Morris at miriam.morris@scottishbooktrust.com. Competition closes on  Friday 30 October 2015. 

Entrants outside the UK must cover postage.

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