Melvin Burgess: Junk (2060 words)

Leah Phillips (University of Warwick)
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Melvin Burgess’s Junk — or Smack in the US — marked a turning point in young adult (YA) fiction in the UK, a field within YA now known as UKYA. The novel’s bleak yet realistic portrayal of two teenager’s descent into heroin addiction offers frank, honest discussions of drugs and drug culture, including squatting, prostitution, and teen pregnancy. First published in 1996 by Andersen Press, Burgess contends that Junk was “an experiment”, both for him and his publishers, pushing the boundaries of “teenage fiction” in the UK, which, at the time, was aimed at younger teens, not those over thirteen/fourteen (Burgess, “Junk (Smack)”). Addressing the …

Citation: Phillips, Leah. "Junk". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38831, accessed 24 October 2021.]

38831 Junk 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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