Juno Dawson‘s ‘Clean’ is gritty, harsh and to be honest we’re struggling to even write this review because we want to pick it up all over again. ‘Clean’ is the perfect example of how a YA publication can tackle real life, mature issues in a refreshing and sharp way.
Just a word of warning, ‘Clean’ has a variety of triggers and covers a broad range of issues including drug addiction, gender identity, eating disorders, mental health and toxic relationships.
The story revolves around the life of Lexi, a privileged 17-year-old who’s forced to go through the process of rehab for a drug addiction. She’s super rich and spoilt, which in any other book would make me hate her, but Juno’s writing sees you rooting for her as the story unfolds. You start to understand the real pain she’s going through and the struggles she has to overcome.
Not only does ‘Clean’ take you through the recovery stage of Lexi’s addiction, but it also takes you on flashbacks, usually during therapy, to the early stages of her drug addiction. Dawson speaks to the reader in way that creates a set of people you find yourself caring about and it feels contemporary and smart.
Kendall is another character you’re 100% guaranteed to fall in love with, the trans character contributes to scenes in a sharp and witty way, always adding texture. The portrayal of her struggles with eating disorders is also covered in a mature and realistic way.
‘Clean’ is not fluffy and it’s not light, but those are just a few of the reasons why you should pick up this early contender for Book of the Year.
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