by Mia Kerick
Young Dudes Publishing

"I guess the best way to sum it up is that there's more pain lurking in his eyes than I'll ever know the truth of, because there's no way he'll share it with me. Just like I'll never share mine with him. We hide from all of the hurt, but it's cool that we can hide together."

Landon (Lanny) Keating is a star athlete whose personal life spirals out of control, trapped by alcohol and drug addiction. Once a star athlete, his academics and athletic career are quickly fading, and the one friend he has, Trevor Ladd, constantly pushes him away. Life at home is no better with his parents' focus completely on the care of his little sister, Joelle, rehabilitating from a brain injury. Lanny feels responsible for the circumstances of his sister's health, and the look of blame in his parents' eyes too painful. Consumed with guilt, Lanny isolates himself from everyone in the wake of his sister's life altering accident, turning to his addiction to free him.

Trevor Ladd is the high school rebel. His life at home is also broken, abandoned by his mother and sexually molested by his legal guardian. While Trevor seeks companionship from Lanny, they are both extremely vulnerable, trying to escape their home life while shuttering their innermost feelings from each other. Then something happens that triggers them both to finally face their demons.

Kerick's novel is a well-paced, well-written, and thoughtful approach to teen angst and the perils of drug and alcohol addiction. As the novel shifts focus between Lanny and Trevor's voices, we begin to see the deeper layers hidden beneath hardened exteriors, each of them revealing their true thoughts and feelings, until gradually they soften and their lives and future change for the good. Kerick is non-judgemental and compassionate, dealing with mature themes for young adults, while providing very realistic characters in Lanny and Trevor. A compelling read, Clean adds Kerick to the likes of writers who challenge us to find the hidden humanity in others. It's a positive novel to help young adults and teenagers often ignored in the journey we all share together through the obstacles of life.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home