***This review is SPOILER FREE***
I was kindly sent an eARC via NetGalley but all opinions are, as always, my own.
Clean is a young adult, contemporary novel, told from the point-of-view of seventeen-year-old Lexi Volkov, an heiress who doesn’t think she has a drug problem. After a near overdose her brother forces her into rehab, where she is forced to examine just how things in her life have gotten to this point. While there she interacts with the other patients at the facility all of whom have their own problems.
Given that I do not have any first hand experience with any of the mental illness covered in this book, I am not going to be discussing them in this review. However, before reading you might want to bear in mind that it discusses addiction and drug abuse in detail, and anorexia, binge eating/overeating and obsessive compulsive disorder to some extent.
Right, now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Dawson’s Clean. As a character I loved Lexi, she’s practically straight out of Gossip Girl, however, as a first person protagonist she did get a little irritating at times. Not to the point that I wanted to stop reading, but her rich-heiress attitude did get a little repetitive, and made it feel as though Dawson felt she needed to remind of us just of rich, and how bored, Lexi was.
My favourite characters we actually side-chacaters, both of whom were also patients at the rehab facility, Guy and Kendall. I won’t say why they’re there, just because we don’t get to know for a while, and it’s nice to find out along side Lexi, but personally I find them a lot more interesting, and more compelling than Lexi. If Dawson was thinking abut some companion novels, then I would definitely read ones about these two.
While Lexi is at this facility, and this is not a spoiler because it’s in the summary, she meets a mysterious, and good looking boy, called Brady. I really liked Brady, and his problems were also something that intrigued me. I was really nervous about how this relationship was going to progress, because, while I am not an expert on rehab, I didn’t think that romance in rehab would be a very healthy romance. If that’s making you nervous too, this isn’t that kind of story. Clean is much more about Lexi than it is about Lexi x Brady.
In short, I think that we spent so much time in Lexi’s head, I just wanted to be in everyone else’s head too. I feel like we get a good grasp of what drug addiction is like, at least for this one character, and I want to know how the others deal with their addictions and/or illnesses.
The plot was pretty much what I expected from the summary, and I can’t say that anything really surprised me. Still, I did want to keep reading, which also surprised me, as I am not someone who reads a lot (hardly any) mental illness fiction. Somehow 400 pages felt like a novella, and I appreciated that, considering how I felt when I started that first chapter. There were a lot of themes regarding identity, and guilt that I loved exploring, but there was nothing so groundbreaking that it changed me personally.
Now, the ending was… strange. And, I’m not sure that I really liked it, because it just seemed so out of left field. I can’t say that it was a “bad” ending, but I also can’t say that I liked it.
In short, I liked Clean, and I was swept in Lexi’s addiction and recovery, but it didn’t quite blow me away they way I wanted it too.
I’d also love to read any own voice reviews/opinions out there, so if you have a review or opinion, comment below!
Have you read Clean, and what did you think? Are you going to read it? What was the last mental help fiction book you read?
Thanks for reading,