Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson

Published: March 1, 2011 by Scholastic Press
Received: Good Golly Miss Holly (ARC) Tour

From acclaimed author Blake Nelson, the story of girl meets rehab.

Madeline is sent away to Spring Meadows to help with a drinking and rage problem she has. It's a pretty intense place, but there is the weekly movie night in town--where Madeline meets Stewart, who's at another rehab place nearby. They fall for each other during a really crazy time in their lives. Madeline gets out and tries to get back on her feet, waiting for Stewart to join her. When he does, though, it's not the ideal recovery world Madeline dreamed of. Both of them still have serious problems. And Stewart's are only getting worse....

Recovery Road is not your typical YA fiction.  The subject matter at hand is written in a way that leaves the reader feeling very raw & exposed.  Blake Nelson went above & beyond, in my opinion.  The reality of teenager Maddie admitting to her addiction, then telling her story of going through rehab, & coming out the other side is very compelling.  The flow of this book was very fast passed, but I felt that it moved along at just the right speed.  Blake Nelson gives just enough detail to put you inside the mind of Maddie, & her struggles of life as a teenage addict.

The story begins with Maddie in rehab.  She has just been dropped off by her parents at Spring Meadows, where she is to undergo detox & counseling.  Even through these first dark days, the reader is able to connect with Maddie.  I felt myself becoming fearful & sad for Maddie's life.  What could have possibly went wrong in this 16 year old girl's life to put her in such a lonely, empty place.  It is here, in this lonely place that Maddie meets Stewart, another addict who is attempting to get help and make his life better.  Instantly the two of them bond because they share the same understanding of what the other is going through.  Stewart becomes Maddie's hope.  Once she is released from rehab & dumped back in to the reality of her life, it is Stewart & the thought of being in love & being loved in return, that propels her to stay clean.  However, once Stewart is released from rehab just a short time after Maddie, they both realize that life is scary out in the real world.  They are both plagued with the desire to use again.

As the story progresses, Maddie's character begins to evolve.  As the reader, you understand her want to find purpose in something.  She begins focusing on her grades & making up for the time lost in school while she was in rehab.  It's a step in the right direction for her & I found myself cheering her on.  Then there are the moments with Stewart.  Their relationship is strained.  As much as Maddie wants to help Stewart, she also understands that he has to be willing to help himself first.  There were certain moments in the story when one would come to the aid of the other when they felt as though they were relapsing.  The bond they formed in rehab shown through in shattered pieces.  My heart broke for the two of them.  As much as I love a love story, I knew the relationship between Maddie & Stewart was greater than that.  They had the world stacked against them.  It was going to take so much more than an AA meeting to get them to the other side, together.

The rawness of Blake Nelson's writing & the quickness for which he carried the story appealed to me.  Addiction, at any age, is very scary & can control one's life so easily.  It's hard to sit back & watch someone you love destroy their life because of a pill or a bottle of alcohol.  However, it's very rewarding to see someone over come that addiction & move forward as a better person because of it.  I recommend this book to anyone who has been there, in those dark days.  I also recommend it to anyone who has been that helping hand for someone else during those dark days.  This compelling story is told with ease & grace, yet it is also gripping & brutally honest.  Make sure your kleenex box is near by!



  1. Excellent review as always. I've seen this one around a few times and it keeps sounding better and better. I wanna add it to my TBR pile, but I don't know if it can handle any more weight!


  2. This sounds like a very emotional read...addiction is never easy to talk about let alone deal with. Fantastic reveiw G!

  3. Oh man! I can't wait to read this one. I will make sure to have my tissues!

  4. I think this one sounds so good and now I want to read it even more! Thanks for the review. BTW I participate in Holly's tour too! Signed up for HereAfter, Shine & Dreams of Significant Girls. Which other ones have you signed up for?

  5. Oooh this sounds like my kinda read. I'll definitely have my tissue box near me when I do. =)

  6. This one sounds very intense, I think I might like it. Great review!! =)

  7. I think this sounds like a good book. It seems like something I could turn into a movie.


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