CLEAN by Amy Reed


Age Range: 14 & up
Email this review


An affecting drama about five teenagers in an upscale rehab facility for drug addiction.

The story begins with the arrival of Olivia, an anxious rich girl who abuses diet pills. She is placed in a counseling group with four other recognizable characters: an emo goth girl, the angry son of an abusive father, a Christian homeschooler and a hypersexual girl with low self-esteem. Olivia, Eva, Jason, Christopher and Kelly take turns narrating, sometimes in straight prose, sometimes in alternating journal paragraphs on an addiction-related theme. Each chapter is short, and some have no single narrator; facilitated group sessions appear as transcripts, and a few chapters are poemlike pastiches of the five teens' words. The author handles complex issues deftly and honestly, from family dysfunction to attempted rape. Interactions between the teens feel genuine, and the story is aware both of its rarefied setting (“The only things you have going for you are race and money and the fact that someone cares enough about you to get you help,” no-nonsense counselor Shirley lectures) and the statistical likelihood that one rehab stint will not end the teens' struggles with addiction.

The hard-hitting scenarios and abundance of white space make this a perfect suggestion for Ellen Hopkins fans. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 19th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4424-1344-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2011


ChildrenUNFORGIVABLE by Amy Reed
by Amy Reed
ChildrenINVINCIBLE by Amy Reed
by Amy Reed
ChildrenDAMAGED by Amy Reed
by Amy Reed


ChildrenADRENALINE CRUSH by Laurie Boyle Crompton
by Laurie Boyle Crompton
ChildrenIMPULSE by Ellen Hopkins
by Ellen Hopkins