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From the author of Beautiful, a poignant, captivating novel about five teens in rehab.
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. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with ...
From the author of Beautiful, a poignant, captivating novel about five teens in rehab.
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. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. 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.
“An affecting drama about five teenagers in an upscale rehab facility for drug addiction. The author handles complex issues deftly and honestly, from family dysfunction to attempted rape….The hard-hitting scenarios and abundance of white space make this a perfect suggestion for Ellen Hopkins fans.”
“Delivers someemotional and smart insights….The use of multiple narrators results in abriskly paced, vignette-driven story that suits the frenetic lives of the teens.”
– Publishers Weekly
"While not all young addicts are fortunate enough to receive and succeed at rehab, this is a thoughtful portrait of thosewho do, and it offers hope for what often seems a hopeless situation." - The Bulletin
"A quick, frank read, with humor, information, and action that will keep teens interested. Those who read Reed’s Beautiful (S & S,2009)–and even those who haven’t–will be drawn to the great cover, and fans of Ellen Hopkins will love this novel." - School Library Journal
I can’t sleep, as usual.
My third night in this strange bed and I’m still not used to it. I’m just lying here in these scratchy sheets, listening to this place’s weird version of night, where the lights are never fully turned off, where the doors are never fully closed, where there is always at least one person awake and on guard.
Lilana is the assistant counselor with hall duty tonight. I can hear her knitting that hideous thing she calls a sweater, the click, click, click of those plastic needles. I can hear the deep, watery wheezes of a fat woman with health problems and a history of smoking whatever she could find. She’s what you think of when you think of a drug addict. Not me. Not a middle-class white girl with a nice house and still-married parents.
It’s been ten minutes since Lilana checked on me. It’ll be five minutes until she checks on me again. All this fuss because the stupid doctor at my intake asked, “Do you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself?” Could any seventeen-year-old honestly say no?
I wonder if the buzzing of fluorescent lightbulbs has ever given people seizures. Or if the clicking of knitting needles has ever driven someone to psychosis. Total silence would be better. Total silence I could get used to. But tonight is different. Lilana’s walkie-talkie crackles something about a late-night admit. I hear her shuffle toward my room to check on me one more time. I close my eyes as she pokes her head through my already open doorway. I can smell her signature smell, the combination of cheap perfume and sweat. Then she walks away. The beep-boop-beep of the code-locked door to the lobby, to the outside, the door we all came through. The door crashing closed. Then silence. Even the lights seem to shut up.
It is several minutes before I hear the door open and Lilana return. There is another set of footsteps. “I can’t believe you’re not letting me have my own room,” a new voice says, a girl, with a stuck-up anger that sounds rehearsed.
“Olivia, please keep your voice down. People are sleeping, dear,” Lilana says slowly. The way she says “dear” makes it sound like a threat.
Another door opens and closes. I know the sound of the door to the nurse’s office. We all do. I can’t hear their voices, but I know Lilana is asking Olivia questions now, doing “the paperwork,” scribbling things down on a yellow form. She is telling her the rules, going through her bags, turning out every pocket of every sweater and pair of pants, confiscating mouthwash, breath spray, Wite-Out, facial astringent. She is watching her pee in a cup.
I pretend to be asleep when they come into my room. I’ve been without a roommate since I got here, and I knew my solitude wouldn’t last long. Lilana turns on the overhead light and talks in that kind of fake theatrical whisper that’s probably louder than if she just talked in a normal voice. I turn over so I’m facing away from them, so I won’t be tempted to open my eyes, so they won’t see that I’m awake and then force me into some awkward introduction, with my stinky breath and pillow-creased face. I just try to breathe slowly so it sounds like I’m sleeping.
I hear zippers unzip, drawers open and close. Lilana says, “That’s your sink. Bathroom and showers are down the hall. Wake-up’s at seven. Someone’ll be in here to get you up. That’s Kelly sleeping over there. Your roommate. Pretty girl.”
Pretty girl. My life’s great accomplishment. I wait for Lilana to say more, but that’s all there is: pretty girl.
There’s silence against a background of fluorescent crackling like some kind of horror movie sound effect. I imagine them staring each other down: Lilana with her always-frown and hand on her hip; this Olivia girl with her snobby attitude, probably another skinny white girl like me who Lilana could crush with her hand.
“Do you need anything?” Lilana says, with a tone that says, You better say no.
I hear the swish of long hair across shoulders, a head shaking no.
“All right, then. I’m down the hall if you need me. Try to sleep off whatever you’re on. Tomorrow’s going to be the longest day of your life.”
“I’m not on anything,” Olivia says.
“Yeah,” Lilana says. “And I’m Miss-fucking-America.”
“Aren’t you going to close the door?” Olivia says.
“Not until your roommate’s off suicide watch,” Lilana tells her.
I hear her steps diminish as she walks to her perch by the med window, right in the middle of the building where the boys’ and girls’ halls meet, where, during the evening, when the patients sleep and no doctors or real counselors are around, Lilana is queen of this place.
I lie still, listening for something that will tell me about my new roommate. I hear clothes rustling. I hear her moving things around, faster than anyone should move at this time of night. She walks over to the permanently locked window by my bed, and I open my eyes just a little to see her profile, shadowed, with only a thin outline of nose and lips illuminated by moonlight. I cannot tell if she is pretty or ugly, if she is sad or scared or angry. Darkness makes everyone look the same.
She turns around, and I shut my eyes tight. She gets into the twin bed between the door and mine. Neither of us moves. I try to time my breath with hers, but she is too erratic—fast, then slow, then holding her breath, like she is testing me. Lilana comes by again, looks in to make sure I haven’t killed myself. She walks away, and the new girl and I sigh at the same time. Then our breaths fall into a kind of rhythm. They seem to get louder, gaining in volume with every echo off the white walls and linoleum floor. Everything else is silence. The room is empty except for us, two strangers, close enough to touch, pretending to be sleeping.
© 2011 Amy Reed
Posted September 7, 2011
Posted September 5, 2011
This is an absolutely great book and i would recommend it to any troubled teen with drug problems. I am one of those teens & after reading this book it helped me realize that i can change because i have the ability to and i deserve to . My family does not deserve all of the hurt i have caused for them as wel and this book made me realize that. Thank you Amy Reed. DESTINEE
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 13, 2011
Clean is a hard hitting contemporary novel that deals with the struggles of a group of teens in recovery. It's not a happy book by any means, but it is a hopeful one.
At the start of the novel you are introduced to all 5 main characters very quickly. Its a bit confusing at first trying to figure out who is who, but that doesn't last long due to each characters distinct voice. There's Kelly (the popular, party girl), Olivia (the new, rich girl), Christopher (the quite, weird boy), Eva (the rude, punk girl) and Jason (the loud, pretty boy). Most of the novel is told from Christopher and Kelly's POV, which is both a blessing and a curse since you get to know these two characters very well but also get a limited view of Eva, Jason and Olivia.
I really enjoyed Eva's characters the most because I really felt all her sadness and vulnerability hiding beneath all her anger. However, I think everyone will be able to identify with at least one of the characters since they're all so vastly different. Even if you can't relate to the substance or recovery issue, all of these teens have gone through a personal crises that have lead them down the road to addiction.
Clean is a very quick read due to the stories short time frame and essay like structure. Plus with the intense subject matter its nearly impossible to put down. I found the various different storytelling devices (narrative, dialogue, essay, questionnaire & group sessions) to be a really unique way to get to know all the characters. It also helped to create a more secluded and intensely emotional atmosphere within the rehab center forcing the 5 teens into relying and confiding in each other, something which they all are hesitate to do.
I really appreciated author Amy Reed's ability to create a gritty emotional journey into the lives of these teen addicts. There is nothing glamorous about what these characters have gone or are going through. I also appreciated the honest, unapologetic and often brutal language and interaction between the teens. Was it hard to read sometimes? Yes. Was it always necessary? I think so, because I needed to feel that all 5 of these teens had hit rock bottom, which I did. That if they didn't get their lives together they were all going to end up dead or in jail.
Towards the end of the novel we get a glimpse into how far these characters have come, but also how far they still have to go. I love the hopefulness of it because in my opinion, that's what this novel is about. That no matter what you've done to yourself or to others, things can always get better and their is always hope.
Clean is not a book everyone is going to enjoy as there's sex, drugs, drinking, and foul language throughout. With that being said, I think that its an important novel that deals with a very delicate subject matter in a mature, realistic and hopeful way. I would definitely recommend Clean to older teens or adults who enjoy contemporary novels dealing with social and family issues.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 25, 2012
Posted March 5, 2012
Posted January 9, 2012
This book was okay. I like teen fiction and I watch shows like Intervention on A&E so I was excited to read this book. I like the idea that the story is told from each character's point of view; however, the character Eva's chapters, stereotypical "emo" poetry, are confusing, annoying, and too drawn out to say the least. The book was too short for me. I would recommend it to be checked out of the library for a weekend, but for me it was a waste of money.
2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2011
Clean is a powerful book about teens in a rehab center. It focuses on 5 different teens, two boys and three girls. I think that it's amazing how Amy wove their tales together, how they interacted with each other, but most distinctly, I really was impressed at how she was able to give them each a unique voice. They all had different things that led them to drugs or alcohol, but I love how they are able to band together, forgetting those differences and seeing each other as real people with real needs, and forming a friendship and a road to recovery.
I also liked Shelly the councelor, I hope that there are people like that for every recovery group. She seemed to know what each needed and pushed them to participate, share, and what is appropriate at what time for them. She told it like it was without sugarcoating, and I like that aspect. Sometimes things are skimmed over because it's YA, but this is a raw and powerful book.
I definitely recommend that you pick this up and give it a try. It moved me and I think given a chance it will speak to everyone who reads it. I was able to see pieces of myself in the characters and it made me so thankful that I've never been down that road, but it gave me glimpse of what that road could look like.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2012
This book really changed my life. It made me realize that I'm on my way there. Because of this I have becomea better person and I am recovering on my own from depression. It also made me realize that there are people with problems a lot worse than mine. I read this book in one day and plan to read it again. Amy Reed has become one of my favorite authors. I really hope she continues writing and changing lives. I have made it my life goal to really change, and improve, someome's life. I want to make a differance. Thank you, Amy Reed, for making a differance in mine. If you're on he fence about this book, buy it. It is worth so much more than $9.99. I really think it saved my life and allowed me to have a future.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2012
Posted January 15, 2012
Posted December 28, 2011
Posted December 22, 2014
Posted March 28, 2014
So I've read beautiful and clean loved them both my aunt startef me offon this and then I got hooked I can relate to these books in some of the strangest ways I'm a teen and no one really understands but didn't they feel the same way once so why don't they just put forth an effort for us l?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I loved how the book is in different points of view. It made it much more interesting.
I also love how the chapters are different because sometimes they focus on just one of the five patients, the group session, their personal essay, or the questionnaire.
Christopher was my favorite character, but at times I felt like she forced his story to drag on just so she could wait until the end to expose everything that he did.
It was predictable, so to have to wait that long to hear everything, when we already knew everyone else's complete secrets, was pretty disappointing.
My favorite story though was Jason's. I felt for him the entire time.
For the most part, they were all teenagers I've read before. I read a lot of books like this one, so at some parts I felt like I was just rereading a different book I've read before, which was also disappointing.
Despite that, overall I liked the book and would definitely recommend it.
Posted December 24, 2013
Posted December 13, 2013
This book is AMAZING!
It is realistic and takes you inside the mind of a teen addict without being all dramatic. This is probably one of the best books that I've ever read. You have to read it !!
Posted September 14, 2013
This was/is my absolute favorite books. It's honestly a really great book with lots of deep emotion. Each character in the story dealt with something different and added dept in the story. Although at the end i wish she would've added more to it to give more closure, it's an amazing book regardless. I recommend this to everyone looking for a great read that's emotional and different!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 4, 2013
When u read this book your wondering ehat happened to all the kids but as it all goes on... u start to get feelings for everyone in this book. Jason the rebel, kelly the gorgeous one, christopher thr nerd, eva the goth, and olivia the newbie. Thts a crazy-good group of friends. This book make u smile an laugh. Also u get really sad and attached to the characters:) great reaaaaad:)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 25, 2013
Posted December 19, 2013