YoungDudes Publishing (2015)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (11/15)
“Clean” by Mia Kerick is the story of two boys and their coming of age journeys through high school and beyond. Lanny Keating is the high-school super jock, he is good looking, gets high grades, and will most likely receive a college football scholarship. Lanny seemingly has everything going for him until one tragic day when his entire world crumbles in an instant. Trevor Ladd is the high school bad boy. He was abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian. For Trevor, the focus is not on grades or college, but on mere survival.
The two boys form an unlikely friendship in an effort to escape the turmoil of their home lives. Neither one of them know how to express what they are going through and are too embarrassed and unwilling to share the details of their pain with each other. In a mutual desire to block the pain, the boys delve into illegal drugs and alcohol and sexual experimentation, creating a bond, albeit unhealthy, of friendship and love. As the end of their senior year approaches, the boys must choose a path: clean up their act and graduate from high school or continue down the road of addiction. Will they have the courage and strength they need to conquer their fears and addictions?
Mia Kerick does it again in a haunting tale of substance and sexual abuse that would take down the strongest of people, let alone two vulnerable teens. The writing is blunt, and to the point. Readers are not spared any of the graphic details as Lanny and Trevor tread their way through life. It is harsh. It is real. It is as shocking and offensive as it needs to be. There is no way to sugar coat any of the topics raised in this book, so Kerick tells it like it is. That being the case, I found it hard to read at times, my faith in humanity was thoroughly tested throughout much of the story.
"Clean" by Mia Kerick is a must-read story about the social issues that influence our youth. I would definitely recommend this book to all parents of middle and high school students. Though a work of fiction, there is no way a responsible person could ignore the harsh realities covered in this book.