Kirkus Reviews QR Code
RECOVERY ROAD by Blake Nelson


by Blake Nelson

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-10729-7
Publisher: Scholastic

High-school badass and party girl "Mad Maddie" lands in rehab after pushing herself over the toxicity limit one too many times. At first her anger and stubbornness make it easy for her to resist the treatments and therapy sessions, but when she meets Stewart, an older, dreamy, floppy-haired resident at movie night, her attitude takes a turn for the better. Nelson then follows her rehabilitation from her re-entry into high school and then into college, packing in lots along the way. Recovery and relapse, love, forgiveness, regret and remembrance make for tough roadblocks along her journey. Each character is sharply drawn—particularly the new friends she makes outside of her old high-school clique. Thematically, the author handles the topic of addiction carefully. Readers know that Maddie and the friends she makes are making bad decisions, and they witness the fallout of addiction as it tears apart the victims’ lives and her friends and family. Where the author excels in theme he falls short in plotting, however, and the passage of time from rehab to college feels messy and uneven, with too much packed into the book's slim span of pages. Still, readers will be captivated by the story of Maddie and people in her life, and the strengths and losses that help her succeed. (Fiction. 14-18)