Wednesday 4 July 2018

CLEAN by Juno Dawson

It's a dirty business getting clean. 

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom. She's wrong. 

 Because rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility. 

 From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. 

 As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all ...


I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous ARC of this book, and have to admit that I went in slow. I wasn't sure if this story would be hard to get into, and even harder to read. 

Well, it's definitely not a happy tale, and doesn't shy away from the many disturbing faces of addiction. But once I started, it was definitely hard to put down. 

Lexi Volkov is the heiress of the V Hotel Group. She's rich, glamorous, beautiful, and definitely likes to party. Actually, she parties so much that before she knows it she's hanging around dealers, is convinced she's in love with one of them, and is addicted to drugs.

Fearing for her life, her older brother forcibly takes her to rehab. But Clarity Centre isn't your average facility. This place is on a remote island and is especially there for privileged kids whose parents can afford the luxury while their children get the help they need.

Here, Lexi meets a bunch of people with many problems, and is forced to face the past and future if she's going to have a present...

This is such an unbelievable book. Not just because the story hooked me instantly or because the writing is awesome, but because there were so many reasons why I shouldn't have liked Lexi. Too many reasons why I should've given up on her as easily as she gives up on herself.

She's selfish, spoilt, stubborn, a liar and has lost total control of herself in a way that frustrated me throughout. But you know what? All of those things also kept me glued to the page.

I also enjoyed meeting all of the other messed up residents in Clarity, and soon realised I was totally invested in their lives. I wanted all of them to get better. Wanted them to really live and love, and respect themselves. But addiction screws up priorities and fills each one with self-loathing that can only be silenced by more drugs, or alcohol, or food, or no food at all. It's a vicious cycle and this book showed the whole sad and heartbreaking spectrum brilliantly.

The snappy, short chapters were a great way of telling this story. They made the experience go fast, making an almost 400-page book dealing with some very serious and heavy issues, a breeze to read. Well, that and the awesome writing style and voice. 

Clean is such an addictive book! I had a lot of trouble putting it down. As soon as I started, I fell down the rabbit hole with Lexi and didn't want to stop until we reached the other end. 

This story makes the reader go through a bunch of emotions: anger, sadness, excitement, disillusionment, hope. And turns you into a cheerleader, because as awful as these kids could be, I really wanted every single one of them to recover.

I'm really glad I read this. It's an important story.

Clean, April 2018, ISBN 9781786540362, Quercus Children's Books

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