Thursday 24 May 2018

Book Review: Clean by Juno Dawson.

Product details:
Publisher: Quercus
Paperback, 399 pages.
Release date: April 5th 2018.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter ... it's liquid gold.
When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom.

She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all ... It's a dirty business getting clean ...

Meet Lexi Volkov.  A Russian hotel heiress, Lexi’s life is a non-stop whirlwind of fashion shows, after parties and fabulously fun times. Like all good socialites, Lexi can dance all night long in stilettos and she lives to party hard. After all, what else is a seventeen-year-old with limitless amounts of cash supposed to do – sit in her penthouse suite and knit the night away? I don’t think so. Only problem is that all that partying takes its toll on a girl and, somewhere along the line, Lexi realised she needed something more than vodka to dance till dawn. Enter heroin. That’s right, Lexi Volkov – London-via-Russia’s answer to Paris Hilton minus the candyfloss explosion and with better hair – has been slam dancing with Mr. Brownstone. It’s safe to say this girl is out of control.

Pitched as Gossip Girl meets Girl, Interrupted,  Juno Dawson's Clean follows Lexi’s journey at the exclusive rehab facility that is tasked with, you guessed it, getting her clean. Though Clean is gritty and doesn’t hold back from the stark realities of drug withdrawal, there’s a glossy element to the book that provides a welcome relief from all the dark stuff (That would be the Gossip Girl part of this tale). I feel the gloss is worth mentioning simply because books that deal with tough subject matters such as drug addiction and withdrawal can be all round depressing and downright dreary sometimes (who would have thought?!) but Clean is never that. This is an engrossing, compelling and, dare I say it, uplifting read, despite all the dark stuff. There is a smidge of romance too, which helps, along with wonderful cast of secondary characters who I would love to know a whole lot more about. Kendall needs a whole book to herself, that’s for sure.

As for Lexi – I liked her a lot. And let me tell you, the fact that I liked Lexi right from the start surprised me. The thing is, Lexi is funny. Even when she’s in the darkest depths of withdrawal and is being an insufferable brat to boot, Lexi manages to crack a joke or two, often at her own expense. This helps lighten the mood, which is good, because things get pretty damn dark and scary from time to time. Lexi’s rehab may be located in an exclusive mansion on a remote island, but it’s still rehab, y’know? Another thing: while it’s true that Lexi is mega-rich – and in possession of the most enviable wardrobe – it’s not something you’ll hold against her. Lexi is the kind of rich that is so-filthy-rich she doesn’t feel the need to flaunt it. Or maybe that's because her money is Russian! Who knows?

While in rehab, it soon becomes clear that Lexi is not just another rich kid who almost accidentally overdosed while partying too hard with her bad news boyfriend, Kurt. No, Lexi has some deep rooted issues and a whole lot a tragedy in her past (That would be the Girl, Interrupted part of this tale) that she needs to overcome before she finally gets clean.

A compulsively readable, exquisitely researched tale of life, love and rehab, Clean kept me hooked  from start to finish as I rooted for Lexi – who has a heart of gold underneath all that snark –. to beat her demons. Another winner from Juno Dawson!

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