Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Recovery Road

Recovery Road
Blake Nelson
2011; Scholastic; ISBN 978-0-545-10729-7 (hardcover)

Summary:  Falling in love while in rehab is against the rules.  But Maddie can't help falling for charming, sweet Stewart.  She leaves rehab first and works to put her life together, moving past her Maddie Mad Dog reputation.  Slowly, she starts focusing on school, makes a few friends, and sees Stewart as often as she can once he's out of rehab.  Yet every day is a struggle for both Maddie and Stewart.  When their paths diverge, Maddie has to choose whether to save herself or to save Stewart.

Written in short, episodic chapters, Maddie's story is not just her romance with Stewart but more about her first two years out of rehab.  Even harder than applying herself in school are Maddie's attempts to form real friendships, unlike the transient ones she had with her stoner friends.  Maddie slips, makes mistakes, and takes risks, but these chances help her become stronger and gain confidence in herself.  Her determination to not give in to addiction is inspiring to see.  While her romance with Stewart is a casualty of their different outcomes, such an ending gives added realism to the story.  Recovery Road is a welcome antidote to love-conquers-all novels, revealing the truth that sometimes love isn't enough.  Fans of Ellen Hopkins will enjoy this prose treatment of addiction and recovery.

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