Author: Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: August 9, 2011
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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. 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.
Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason and Eva have next to nothing in common except their addictions, but even their addictions are nothing like each other's. Each facing emotional baggage, addiction and a desire to lose themselves, they're forced into rehab in Seattle to regain a handle on their lives and get back to the promising futures they once had. To change though, they must first admit their problems before they can take the necessary steps to get better. Some want to, but the others are in denial. One thing is certain - they have to learn to accept themselves, but they might just need each other to do so.
I don't read too many books about addiction. Disorders, yes. Diseases and death, yes. Addictions though...not so much, and I don't know why. Addiction is not something I'm really familiar with, but I know that it can grip one's life and never let go. Clean does a remarkable job of accurately portraying addiction, the effects it has on one's life and what might be behind a teen's addiction, as well. Amy Reed presents the reader with a no-holds-barred account of life in the grips of an addiction that's debilitating to the minds, bodies and souls of everyday teens. Filled with raw emotion, realistic situations and a powerful, resonant theme, Clean is tangible and powerful.
I think one of the most intriguing things about Clean was the style in which it was written. I have a fascination with books and authors that break the mold and dare to do something a little different. In the case of Clean, the book is told through a series of essays, narratives and sessions, lending the reader an insider perspective to the teens' lives in rehab. This could easily have been botched and felt false, but Clean presented it in a very real, believable manner, making the characters relatable and harrowing. I felt for them. I laughed for them, and I definitely teared up for them, as well. Though featuring a large cast of characters, Clean managed to fully flesh out each one, too, and each character had a specific impact on the book, which was great. The only issue I really had with Clean was the crass language that was so prominent throughout. Don't get me wrong...I know that teens swear. Hell, I swear. That said, I don't necessarily want to read it on every page to the extent that it actually makes me cringe. However, the positives did outweigh this negative for me in Clean.
All in all, Clean was a powerful and intriguing read that made me step out of my comfort zone and read about something new. I give it a strong 3.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and issue books. I also recommend it to an upper YA audience due to graphic language.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.