Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They're addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. Read more...
Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They're addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don't want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they'll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there's nowhere to go but down, down, down.
- ISBN-13: 9781442413443
- ISBN-10: 1442413441
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publish Date: July 2011
- Page Count: 272
- Reading Level: Ages 14-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-08-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Through the alternating perspectives of five very different protagonists, the author explores the lives of teenagers in a rehabilitation center and the factors driving their addiction. Readers will find their back stories fairly scripted: Jason is an alcoholic with an abusive father and guilt over an accident that left his younger sister brain damaged; rich Olivia's diet pill addiction was driven by her quest for perfection—and her mother who "decided that fourteen was too old for baby fat." The teens write personal essays, attend group therapy sessions, and become friends as they face their pain and the hard truths about their disease. "It is a permanent chapter in my story, something I cannot undo, a page I cannot rip out," says Kelly, the "pretty girl" addicted to alcohol and cocaine. Reed (Beautiful) delivers some emotional and smart insights, but the book's more dramatic moments, such as Jason's father's bullying behavior during Family Day, lack credibility. The use of multiple narrators results in a briskly paced, vignette-driven story that suits the frenetic lives of the teens, but prevents the characters from feeling fully developed as individuals. Ages 14–up. (Aug.) Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 Richard Paul Evans Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink, .99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4516-5650-3 Evans (The Christmas Box) enters the YA market with this fast-paced, if predictable tale of a teenager with superpowers and the conspiracy that created him. Years ago, a medical equipment accident killed dozens of newborns and left 17of them with assorted "electrical powers." In present-day Idaho, 14-year-old misfit Michael Vey, who can create electricity and has Tourette's syndrome, is one of the last two living outside of Pasadena. Coincidentally, the other "electric child" is Michael's crush, cute cheerleader, Taylor who is able to mentally "reset" people's brains. When a mysterious organization called Elgen kidnaps Taylor as well as Michael's mother, Michael, his best friend Ostin, and a pair of school bullies venture on a cross-country trip to rescue them. Taylor, meanwhile, learns that Elgen is just as dastardly an organization as she'd feared. Evans delivers a pair of believable lead characters—Taylor has wits and personal integrity, while Michael's Tourette's syndrome, coupled with an emotional jolt from his past, adds dimension—but generic dialogue and lackluster villains result in a by-the-numbers thriller. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
No ordinary rehab
Amy Reed sets her new novel, Clean, in a drug and alcohol rehab clinic for teens. Actually, she tosses us in and locks the door behind us until graduation, and it’s a tough but fascinating sentence to serve.
Clean follows five teens through treatment: Christopher (“the nerdy guy”), Kelly (“the pretty girl”), Jason (“the tough guy”), Eva (“the emo/Goth girl”) and Olivia, who just got there. Through journal entries, medical forms and transcribed group therapy sessions with hard-nosed counselor Shirley, we learn each person’s story a little at a time. While the path to becoming an addict is always bleak, teasing out the details makes Clean unfold like a mystery. Is the guy climbing in Christopher’s bedroom window real or imaginary? Olivia is “just” hooked on diet pills; does she really belong here?
With a subject as broad as addiction, Reed uses small moments to show us daily life in rehab. A simple thing like watching a movie now requires kids to sit two feet apart with no blankets, after previous residents were busted in a moment of intimacy under the covers.
When it’s time for graduation, we don’t know who will stay sober, but the characters in Clean make us hope for the best, for them and for anyone facing a similar challenge.