My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
I first downloaded the sampler for this book and from that small snippet I was desperate to get my hands on the full novel. I was therefore overjoyed to be granted early access to the e-ARC and as soon as I got the notification email I impatiently waited for the proof to download so I get reading.
Clean follows teen socialite Lexi Volkov as she finds herself unwillingly put in rehab. It’s a serious subject matter but the writing is laced with sharp wit and the subject is met face-on with no shying away from the most gruesome aspects of recovery. At no point within the book is drug-use glamorised, in spite of the prestigious world Lexi inhabits which is the background for her story. Dawson creatively manages to portray the parties and drug-use in a somewhat sad, lamentable way even before Lexi begins to take rehab seriously. Lexi may be in denial about her addiction but the reader is left in no doubt how serious her problem is, how unhappy she clearly is and how destructive her relationships are. This is, I feel, one of the most important things that this book had to achieve. Aimed at a young adult audience, it’s of the utmost importance to portray addiction starkly and honestly without patronising or censoring. Dawson has masterfully achieved this.
I really enjoyed the character development of Lexi. She was a fully fleshed out, real person leaping off the page. Her journey in rehab seemed realistic and the person she became by the end of the book made sense. She didn’t become an entirely different person and her problems didn’t simply melt away. She was flawed at the beginning of the book and she was flawed at the end and I loved the realness of that.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of Gossip Girl and Trainspotting.