Author: Juno Dawson
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication Date: April 5th 2018
Format: Paperback (400 pages)
When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.
She’s wrong. 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 …
It’s a dirty business getting clean …
My Rating: ★★★★★
NOTE: Let me start this review by saying that this book will NOT be for everyone. It contains a lot of different triggers and I think it is for each individual to carefully consider whether this is a book that is good for them to read or not. The list of triggers would be huge and includes (but is not limited to) self-harm, drug abuse, eating disorders and a range of mental health issues. I’m not going to go into this during my review but if you want to know more before deciding whether to pick this up then do get in touch.
Clean is brilliant. It is far from an easy read but its strength lies in just how gritty and real this book feels. Dawson shies away from nothing throughout this book and it is the honesty in that which really drew me into the lives of these characters and their journeys.
The majority of the characters in this book were completely unrelatable to me: but I am not classing that as a bad thing here. There were certainly aspects of some of their personalities that I could kind of glimpse in myself but not to the extremes written here. But that’s why this book felt so refreshing. It took the unseen lives that most of us will never experience and put them out there in the forefront. I couldn’t keep my eyes away from the pages as I so desperately wanted to know what would happen next for the characters. Seeing how vulnerable and broken some of them were just automatically made me love them and I really ended up caring about what would happen to them.
Lexi is a fantastic protagonist; there is no doubt about that. Whilst she may not initially be the most likeable character you’ll ever read, as her therapy sessions peel back her layers and reveal more about her you are able to start overlooking some of her more bratty, socialite behaviour and see the vulnerable, flawed young person beneath. Lexi’s journey throughout this book is far from easy and I loved the honesty in the process. The book is structured using the recovery steps of the Clarity programme and it was interesting to see how the different steps sparked a slight change in Lexi as she slowly began to accept herself and her addiction.
There are a whole host of wonderful young people in the treatment facility and I really liked the fact that Dawson showed the extent to which addiction can be a problem. Whether it be drug addiction, food addiction, sex addiction or a whole plethora of mental health issues, this book faces it all head on. I am a sucker for friendships and relationships so reading about how Lexi’s relationships with her peers changes and develops from her first initial few days at the treatment centre was something I really found addictive.
As I said at the beginning, this book will not be for everyone and I think that is definitely something to be considered before picking it up. Personally, I loved this book because it was so gritty and real. Nothing about Clean feels fluffy or light, there are no easy way outs or simple solutions and that’s exactly how life really is. It’s about learning to love yourself, fighting for yourself and realising you don’t always have to be perfect. Brilliant!
Have you read Clean? Is it on your TBR?
What books have you read that you found addictive?