Monday, December 05, 2011

Clean, by Amy Reed

In an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility for teens, five kids talk about how they got hooked, why they stayed addicted, and why they finally came in for help. Along the way, they try to understand each other with mixed success. In this carefully-planned story, each major character represents an archetypal addict -- smothered Christopher, abandoned and neglected Eva, physically abused Jason, sexually abused Kelly, and hooked-up-by-her-own-mother Olivia. Through a series of assignments and interactions, we get to understand each of them.

It's well-written and well-researched, the characters say compelling things, and the whole thing is amazingly predictable. You know where this story is going. Everyone starts off obnoxious and gradually melts by the end of the book. The tears are jerked out at the correct moment. All contractual obligations are met. It is, in sum, very sufficient. If you've never read a book on teen substance abuse, this isn't a bad read, but if you're looking for something new and compelling, this isn't the book.

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