Sunday, January 3, 2016

Emmy's Review... Clean

Clean
High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.
Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?

Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.




Buy Links:
Amazon US : AU : CA : UK
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Book:  Clean by Mia Kerick
Publication Date: 12/1/15
Published By: Young Dudes Publishing
Pages: 242
Format:  e-book
Source: Author, in exchange for an honest review

Rating:
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First, many thanks to Mia Kerick, who provided a free copy of Clean in exchange for an honest review.

Once, a few years ago, I found myself home alone one night, and ran across Schindler’s List while channel surfing.  I had never seen it, and the version that was on was full length and uncut.  I thought about it for a minute, then decided to watch it.  I bawled my way all the way through it, but at the end decided that every human being should have to watch it at least once.  If you are not on the verge of a nervous breakdown after watching that movie, then you seriously need to check your lack of a soul.  

Now, I am not comparing Clean to Schindler’s List: that would be like comparing a scraped knee to a tactical nuke.  It is similar in this respect: it’s not an easy read.  It’s not fluffy at all and it will make you mad as hell, both at the main characters and for them.  These are characters that are made to deal with aspects of life that they never should have been exposed to, and situations where they were let down by adults that were supposed to protect them.  This is the documentation of Trevor and Lanny’s downward spiral into (and back out of) addiction.  

Trevor Ladd, our first MC - has a rough, shitty life.  He is trapped with a guardian who demands sexual favors for his room and board, which seems like a dangerous coin to require by force to me.  He works at a gas station, and the only things he cares about in life are his car, Lanny Keating, and leaving town as soon as he hits 18.  He and Lanny hooked up and started drinking together, and despite his efforts not to care, Lanny becomes more and more important to him as time goes by.  He’s bound and determined not to screw Lanny, to keep him “clean” but soon they are doing everything but.  It’s an endless game of push and pull with Trevor.  He pushes Lanny away with his harsh words and attitude, only to pull him closer every time they hook up, drink, and fool around.  Trevor feels unworthy of love, and his inner dialogue can be downright painful at times.  He can tell that Lanny is getting in too deep with the alcohol, but desperately wants to keep the connection between them.   

Lanny Keating, aka jock boy, was the school football star, but at this point has gotten kicked off of the team for missing practice and partying too much to play effectively.  His life, while not as terrible as Trevor’s is still a mess.  His little sister, Joelle, was injured in an accident when the family was distracted at the fair, causing brain injury and massive parental guilt.  Lanny’s mom blames him for Joelle’s accident, and his father has reacted by burying himself at work.  They are both so focused on his little sister’s injuries and therapy that they are completely missing the fact that their son is developing a serious drinking problem.  His parents will massively piss you off with the way they treat their son.  Lanny’s dealing with his own guilt over the accident as well, which leads to his drinking.   Lanny is almost desperately attached to Trevor, even though Trevor comes off as cold and harsh with him, except for when he has a good buzz on, which are the times that Lanny lives for.

Things soon escalate from the boys just getting drunk together when another boy is added to the group who introduces them to both pot and pills.  Trevor and Lanny both partake, but it is Lanny that goes into it head over feet, only seeking to silence his pain.  Trevor realizes that the only way he will be able to get out of his situation is to graduate high school and leave home when he comes of age.  Trevor quits everything cold turkey and tries his best to get Lanny to abandon the “partying” as well.  Truly alone now, Lanny spiralled deeper into addiction, his “breakup” with Trevor only adding fuel to the fire.

Like I said earlier, this isn’t an easy story to read.  Lanny hits rock bottom and continues digging, but never fear - it gets very dark, but ends on a happy note.    I found myself respecting Trevor more than I did Lanny, simply because Trevor sobered up by sheer willpower alone.  He wasn’t afforded half of the benefits that Lanny had available to him.  The scenes after their recovery were well done - as other reviewers have mentioned, I too appreciated that they did not just jump into a relationship when they both sobered up.  Trevor’s drinking problems were only the tip of the iceberg with him, and they were acknowledged and dealt with in a very believable manner.  You will find yourself rooting for these characters, and wanting the best for them.  This author has portrayed the subject of addiction without glossing over it, and shed some light that was long overdue.

Till next time
Emmy
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About the Author:
High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.

Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.

Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.

When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.

Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?

Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.


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