A.D.D. (Adolescent Demo Division) Book Poster Image

A.D.D. (Adolescent Demo Division)

Sharp critique of gamer culture told as sci-fi story.

What parents need to know

Educational value

A.D.D. (Adolescent Demo Division) offers a sophisticated critique of how corporations and the entertainment industry use youth culture to promote their own agendas. Games, teen stars, and music/sex videos are presented as the means of controlling society and boosting corporate profits.

Positive messages

A.D.D. critiques consumer culture and how it uses youth for its own devices. The intent of the story is to raise questions about how today's entertainment, pharmaceutical, and sports industries both pander to and exploit teen consumers.

Positive role models

The each of the members of Lionel's gaming team has his or her eccentricities, but they all work together for the good of the team. After tragedy strikes, Lionel, Takei, and Kasinda have the courage to begin questioning everything they've been told by their corporate masters.


The multimedia games in which the teens compete are full of simulated gunfire, stabbings, and other mayhem. In real life, there is a fist fight, one character is shot, falls from a great height, and dies in a puddle of blood, and three people are shocked with electricity.


One character is fascinated by what appears to be 3-D holographic pornography. A woman's naked breasts are depicted. Lionel is sexually attracted to one of his female teammates and is frustrated by her inability to enjoy being touched. At one point, she takes off her T-shirt while he prepares to masturbate. (No naked body parts are shown in that scene.)


The author uses an invented slang for the teens' dialogue in A.D.D. "Pre-f--ked" is used to describe something that is truly messed up, but "frack" is usually employed as a substitute for "f--k." "Gash" is used as a derogatory term for a woman, and the bullies often use "fag" as an epithet.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lionel's rivals are shown illegally purchasing some kind of prescription drug.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A.D.D. is a graphic novel that offers a sharp critique of consumer culture and how gaming, sports, reality TV, and teen stars combine to promote a corporate agenda. The characters use a tech-based slang ("frack" is usually employed as a substitute for "f--k," for example), so some readers may need to make a mental adjustment toward the dialogue. There is a fair amount of gaming and real-life violence depicted, but not excessively so for older comics readers. The multimedia games in which the teens compete are full of simulated gunfire, stabbings, and other mayhem. In real life, there's a fist fight, one character is shot, falls from a great height, and dies in a puddle of blood, and three people are shocked with electricity. There are a few references to sex, masturbation, and one or two depictions of naked breasts. Bulllies use "fag" as a slur.

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What's the story?

Sometime in the near future, Lionel and the other members of the Adolescent Demo Division have been raised to excel at playing video games. They live in luxury and have hordes of fans, but what happens when it's time for them to graduate, enter the real world, and be reunited with their families? Able to see beyond the screens he looks into, Lionel begins to suspect that Nexgen, the company that raised him, doesn't have his best interests in mind.

Is it any good?


A.D.D. (ADOLESCENT DEMO DIVISION) raises some interesting questions about pop entertainment, mass media, game culture, and corporate greed. Readers will be intrigued by how the author extrapolates from current trends to create a dystopian future. But the language Rushkoff invents for this futuristic setting sometimes sounds needlessly clunky and opaque.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about positive and negative aspects of gaming. What is a healthy amount of time each day to spend with digital devices?

  • Why do audiences enjoy reality TV programs so much? Why do television networks produce so many of them?

  • How are teen stars used by the entertainment industry today? What is it about young performers that make them useful to corporations?

Book details

Author:Douglas Rushkoff
Illustrators:Goran Sudzuka, Jose Marzan Jr.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 31, 2012
Number of pages:152
Publisher's recommended age(s):16 - 17

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