Sydney’s Letter Essay #3: Clean

Sydney Roberto


Dear Blog,

Recently, I finished reading “Clean” a 272 paged teen fiction novel by Amy Reed. This book was really good and I really enjoyed reading it. Amy Reed is originally from Seattle,  but is now living in Oakland, California. She is also the author of Beautiful, Over You, Crazy, and Damaged. So far I’ve read Beautiful, Over You, Crazy, and I’m currently reading Damaged. This book was published in 2014 by Simon Pulse publishing. The reason I read “Clean” is, because I love Amy Reed’s other books. There is something about Amy Reed’s writing style that leaves me really thinking.

Everything about Clean was raw and completely sincere. Reed describes these teenagers at the lowest point in their lives: all feeling somewhat depressed and uncertain of what is to become of them. Through a series of personal essays and introspective questionnaire questions, the reader is invited to lift the curtain and take a small peak into each teenager’s life. Each has a unique and heartbreaking story. I felt as if I was standing at at window and peering into the fictional rehab center where all five teens were having seemingly day to day conversations. This book definitely made me feel very connected with the characters, in the way that “Crazy” did. Since “Crazy” was written in emails the characters sent to each other I really got a feel for the characters personalities and I feel no different for the five main characters in “Clean”.

Clean is all about five kids in rehab for various drugs and other addictions. The teens names are; Eva, Jake, Kelly, Olivia, and Christopher. Eva and Jake struggle with a cocaine addiction. Kelly and Christopher struggle with an alcohol addiction. Olivia struggles with self-harm and a diet pill addiction. This story walked you through their every day lives in rehab. These group of teenagers all consider themselves friends with a few tighter knit groups in the mix of them all. For example, Kelly and Jake are dating for a small period of time in the novel until a certain issue they have to go through cannot be solved and breaks off their relationship, and even damages their friendship. Olivia and Kelly get close too. Olivia through out the novel starts to progressively and Kelly notices and feels the need to start helping her. Kelly is usually really distanced from the rest of the group, but she feels the need to watch Olivia and take care of her, like Olivia is her responsibility.

“Clean” has a very surprising ending actually. Most people would think that it would end with all of the main characters getting out of rehab and getting clean, but that is not how it ends. Reed delivers a surprise ending when something happens to a character in the last chapter of the book and throws the whole perfect ending off. In a way I wanted there to be a perfect ending so that would be it and I would feel complete and finished with the book when I was done reading, but since there was not a perfect ending I feel incomplete and like I need closure. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but I will say it was not anything I expected. I would rate this book 8/10, because I thought it was very well written and kept me intrigued most of the time, but I did get bored at some points and this would not be my first choice if I were to recommend a book to someone.



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1 thought on “Sydney’s Letter Essay #3: Clean

  1. Sydney,
    This is a well-written letter-essay and clearly you are absorbed in Amy Reed’s writing, as the Introduction and Summary show your enthusiasm for her work and the book itself. However, this letter-essay does not contain a proper Reflection.
    Mr. Jockers

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