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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Clean by Juno Dawson

Review - Clean by Juno Dawson

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom.

She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all ... 

It's a dirty business getting clean ...

First order of business probably should be trigger warnings, and to be honest, this book has a few. Drug use, anorexia, overeating, OCD, self harm. If you are sensitive to areas around addiction, mental health and recovery then you need to have a good think about whether or not this is the book for you.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.

Recovery is a bloody hard process. You start off thinking that everything is fine, you don't have a problem as you spiral slowly down your dark, self-destructive spiral, oblivious to the harm radiating out from you. Then something happens, someone steps in and you're made to stop. You think that the hard part is the stopping. That once it is out of your system you'll be fine, you'll be clean and everything will be okay.

That's where Clean starts. Lexi is forced into rebab, and goes through the hell of heroin withdrawal. It's brilliantly written, capturing her suffering and her lack of awareness of anything else really well.

But getting clean is about more than stopping. And for me, this is what Clean captured so well. It uses the clinic's ten step recovery process to mark out stages in the novel, and we follow Lexi as she realises that what she needs to focus on isn't so much what's coursing through her bloodstream, it's what is going through her brain. It's the little encouragements, the "This doesn't really count," thoughts, the over-confidence, the temptations. the slips and the successes. It's all captured here to see and to follow along with.

Clean isn't just about drugs either. Lexi's fellow patients in the clinic suffer with a wide range of addiction issues, and they are all dealt with in a positive, constructive way.

Most of the characters in Clean are, to be honest, spoilt rich kids. They have too much time and too much money, and very little to focus on other than what clothes they are going to wear for the next party. It's a very different view of drug problems than, say, Trainspotting. But that does help by showing that drug addiction can be a problem wherever your place in society. Lexi's starting position that it's not a problem for her because of her money and status is soon challenged.

Lexi herself is a great main character. She's witty and cool, and comes across really well. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't like her at all, as she is an over-privileged socialite heiress, but I found myself sympathising with her from early on in the novel. I guess we sometimes bring our own prejudices into our reading, and Clean challenges those too.

I found Clean to be a powerful, hard hitting and brutally honest novel about dealing with addiction and recovery. I'm giving it four and a half moons.


Clean by Juno Dawson is published on 5th April 2018 by Hachette Children's Group.


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