Review: Clean by Amy Reed

Clean (Paperback)Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They’re addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. But they’ll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down.

I always struggle with how to start reviews for hard hitting, emotional contemporary books, and I have to say that those words totally describe Clean. I've heard this book described as 'The Breakfast Club in Rehab' and I have to say that pretty much nails it. 

We get these five teens, all in rehab because of their own addictions, all of them with a history and a not so glamorous background. We see these teens thrown together, becoming friends even though they don't really choose to, they just have to and we see their relationships and friendships grow as the characters themselves grow.

This books greatest success is the fantastic character development. While it's to be expected in a book about rehab that the character development will be good, Amy Reed really does show the readers these characters and their inner-depths. We start out with five teens, all we know is that they're in rehab and slowly, as the story continues, we learn about their past and their problems and this was really what carried this story for me.

The book itself didn't really have a plot, as it's mainly just about the opening up of the characters. This brought a few problems for me - I felt it difficult to work out the time scale of the story. At the end of the book, it's clear that it's been three or four weeks, but the story really seems to just go on for a few days. I think the reason I struggled to grasp the time scale was because of how the story is told. The main story is told through the eyes of two of the characters; Kelly and Christopher, but interrupting these train-of-thoughts narratives are dialogues of group counselling sessions and snippets of assignments that the characters have been given. I felt like these interruptions seriously ruined the flow of the book and while they did help to build on the characters, I also feel like the quality of the book itself was ruined a little by this.

Clean is quite a short book, but in no way is it an easy read due to the difficult issues dealt with. The characters are struggling with some pretty serious issues and the way that Reed writes it is very hard-hitting. Definitely not a book to read if you're looking for something fun, but totally 
something you should read if you want something emotional and deep. I would recommend this for older readers of over fourteen.

Overall rating: B+

Stand alone/series: Stand alone
Release: July 19th 2011 (US)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Book obtained via: S&S GalleyGrab


  1. i agree about the book being a hard-hitting, gritty and emotional read. difficult at times, but so worth it.

    also, i thought i'd point out that kelly and christopher narrated the book, not 'christian'. hehe :D

  2. Great review. I am not sure I can get behind a book without a plot. I'm not too into emotional development without story structure. Just sayin'

  3. I think it must be difficult to make characters with addictions like these, seem real and true, without being too stereotypical or one dimensional.

    Sounds like Clean does a good job of this though. Shame about the plot issues, but I guess this wouldn't put me off if the characters are good!

  4. aww I loved the sound of this one and your reviews put me off a little, I'll probably buy it for my kindle though...


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