Clean is one of those books that I honestly wasn’t sure that I would love as much as I did! I haven’t read Beautiful by Amy Reed, but I have heard some really good things about it, so I grabbed this book in a trade because it sounded really interesting. Unfortunately I kind of forgot that I had it and it ended up sitting on my shelf for two years, but I finally got around to it!
I’m one of those people who absolutely love realistic fiction and any kind of book that deals with tough situations. I’ve read a lot of YA books about rehab for eating disorders, but I can’t think of any that I’ve read about drug addiction and rehab.
When I saw that there were going to be five characters in the book, part of me panicked. I’m not good with keeping track of a lot of characters, especially in a book like this, so I was worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. However, it’s mainly told from only two of the main characters’ perspectives: Kelly and Christopher. In between are group therapy sessions and personal essays that help the readers get to know the characters and essentially their back stories and what landed them in rehab.
“We get high so we can feel invincible and perfect, but the feeling never lasts. Gravity always wins, and we fall fast, to a place lower and darker than many people will probably ever know.”
Clean tells the story of five teens in a drug rehabilitation center – all with different stories, personalities, and drugs of choice. From alcohol to prescription pain medications, each of the characters in this novel will walk you through what it is like to have an addiction, how they hid it, and what finally led them into rehab to get clean.
Along the way, they will get to know each other, making friends with each other along the way and creating a sort of support system.
Clean is a book that I honestly think that everyone should read. It has its dark spots, and it has its uplifting spots, but either way, it’s a great book with a powerful message, which it drives home.
Clean does not glamorize drug use and make the reader think that it’s all fun and exciting. It shows the dark sides of drug addiction – within the pages of this book, you will see the unraveling of the lives of five teenagers, all from different backgrounds. They struggle to get clean, they struggle to get back the lives that drugs had stolen from them. Whether they have supportive parents, absent parents, or parents who are in denial, they realize that they have one constant: each other.
I love how the book is broken up into sections; for example, one chapter is told by Kelly, the next told by Christopher, and then there is a group therapy session, where all the characters get the chance to speak. In some chapters, there are personal essays or drug and alcohol questions that all five of them answer, allowing us to get a glimpse into their lives and what led them into rehab. If you’re worried that all their personalities will be alike, since there are five characters, don’t be – every character was wonderfully fleshed out and he or she had their own personality, traits, and characteristics that made them unique. I loved that I could tell which character I was reading about without even reading the header that told me.
With such a love for realistic fiction, I had high hopes that I would I would enjoy this book, and I did. I can’t wait to go back and read Amy Reed’s Beautiful next, because I’ve heard amazing things. If you’re on the lookout for a book about addiction, give Clean a try. It’s kind of lighthearted, yet still has drama and an important message that will stick with you long after you turn the last page.