Review Blog

Jun 06 2018

Clean by Juno Dawson

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Hodder Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781786540362
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Lexie Volkov is many things, but she is not a drug addict. Everyone does a little coke now and then, right? That's normal for rich kids in London.
The first step to getting clean is admitting you have a problem. But what if you don't have a problem? That's Lexie's question anyway, after her brother kidnaps her and forces her into rehab on some remote island. Stuck with a handful of misfits recovering from their own illnesses and addictions, Lexie must play the game to get back to her boyfriend, Kurt, and the sweet retreat of heroin. But with each sober day, Lexie finds her outlook is changing and her Kurt-centred life is no longer the same when there are girls dealing with anorexia and eating disorders right beside her, and Brady, a boy with a mysterious addiction no one talks about. Lexie is no stranger to therapy and determined to give nothing away - nothing that matters anyway. They talk about her family and status, but Lexie carefully avoids school, something Goldstein eventually picks up on. Something that might explain Lexie's drug habit. With the death of a patient after drugs were smuggled into the facility Lexie and Brady are drawn closer together. It seems a relationship is blooming, or are they simply using one another as a crutch on the road to recovery? Soon secrets spill out and everything changes.
Kids are always taught (rightly) to "say no to drugs"; however, there is often an experimentation period and it is important that they know the consequences of their actions. This is one of the things which Clean does well. It shows how easy it is to not know you're suffering from an addiction (be it drugs or otherwise) and how simple it can be to get caught up in the crowd. I would recommend this novel for people fourteen and up.
Kayla Gaskell

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