Author Name & Publisher: Mia Kerick (Young Dudes Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: December 1, 2015 – 289 pgs
High school senior Lanny Keating has it all. A three-sport athlete at Lauserville High School looking at a college football scholarship, with a supportive family, stellar grades, boy band good looks… until the fateful day when it all falls apart.
Seventeen-year-old Trevor Ladd has always been a publicly declared zero and the high school badboy. Abandoned by his mother and sexually abused by his legal guardian, Trevor sets his sights on mere survival.
Lanny seeks out Trevor’s companionship to avoid his shattered home life. Unwilling to share their personal experiences of pain, the boys explore ways to escape, leading them into sexual experimentation, and the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol. Their mutual suffering creates a lasting bond of friendship and love.
When the time finally comes to get clean and sober, or flunk out of high school, only one of the boys will graduate, while the other spirals downward into addiction.
Will Lanny and Trevor find the strength to battle their demons of mind-altering substances as well as emotional vulnerability?
Clean takes the reader on a gritty trip into the real and raw world of teenage substance abuse.
This book is about two teenage boys in high school their senior year who both have a lot going on in their life. Landon has parents who barely acknowledge him and Trevor has his step dad who hurts him horribly.
They both turn to drinking then later drugs until one of them almost loses his life. This story was so sad at times and positive too with the way they both help each other in the end. There also might be parts that will be hard for some to read with what Carl Trevor’s step dad had done to him. So all together this story is about what two boys go through in high school, how they sink to a very low point in their life and how they climb above it and get to a better place. Also how family who may not have been there for you before sometimes needs a kick in the butt to realize were they are going wrong. I liked how the author portrayed these characters and their struggles to go down a better road then where they were headed before.
All together I liked this book!
Trevor wouldn’t even look at me when I walked over to the gas station this morning to say hi. And Jimmy’s Fuel Stop is like three miles from my house so it took a major effort to walk there, especially since I’ve been feeling like total crap lately. Another one of my shaky human bonds bites the dust. I need to go out and get myself a cat.
“Can’t you see I’m working, Keating?” That was all he said. But I’ve always been good at reading between the lines. I could tell what he was thinking as he stood beside the gas pumps, totally caught up in not looking at me. “Take a hike before you get me fired, loser. Some of us got goals in life….” So I took off before he had a chance to make me feel like I shouldn’t have ever made an appearance on the planet earth. But I still know it would have been better had I never been born…maybe Joelle would still be okay.
It’s Saturday afternoon and nobody’s home. Mom and Dad are probably off at the park with Joelle, sloshing through the wet snow together so she gets her daily exercise. Or maybe they took her to the make- your-own-sundae-place to improve her fine motor skills by sprinkling sweet toppings on big scoops of ice cream. I’m in Mom and Dad’s bathroom, bent in half with my head stuck in the closet, searching the cluttered shelves for anything that will get me high enough to escape. And I mean anything.
That’s when I see the cough syrup. The bottle in front is almost new, and there’s an older bottle of a different brand right behind it, little more than halfway full. Seeing these medicine bottles reminds me of something Chad suggested about a week or two ago— that we should try robo-tripping. He told me that if we drink enough cough syrup, the DXM in it would get us high in a “super blissful, tingling-body-parts way,” which sounded pretty decent to me then and still does now. Not completely surprised I remembered Chad’s exact description of a DXM high, I thank God for this dextromethorphan stuff that suppresses nasty coughs, because it looks like I’m going to find my much-needed buzz after all.
Pleased that I don’t have to resort to sniffing glue from the tube on my father’s basement workbench or huffing my mother’s hairspray—and believe me I came close—I snatch the bottles with a shaky hand. They’re both sticky with the syrup that dripped down the side last time one of the Keating’s had a major head cold accompanied by a hacking cough. Licking my fingers provides me with a hint of the cherry flavor I’m probably going to be barfing up later tonight. But I don’t care. I can’t get through a single day without some help, and by that I don’t mean help from my human friends, seeing as I have none left.
The walk to the shed seems longer than ever. It’s an effort to so much as put one foot in front of the other. I haven’t eaten anything for a full day; I’m sure that’s why I feel like such crap. And it’s not like I want to think about this stuff, but I can’t stop myself. The “stuff” I don’t want to think about is really people. The people I have hurt so much lately because of my bad habits.
This list starts with my little sister Joelle, who I told to “stuff a sock in it” when she asked me to read that goddamned book about a kid going to school—for the zillionth time! “School’s not all it’s cracked up to be, Jo. Stop being so damned excited about it! Those kids are gonna tear you to pieces and won’t even wait until you turn your back to do it!” It hurts too much to remember the expression on her face right after I told her that, so instead I stare beyond the leafless trees into the gray sky and think about my parents.
I’ve hurt Mom and Dad a lot too, because they know I’m sick, they just don’t know exactly what’s wrong with me. And I’m not sure how much they care. Their plates are too full already with Joelle’s problems, I guess.
I glance down at the two bottles of cough medicine dangling from between my fingers and remember Chrissy and Robyn, who I use like toilet paper. They can do way better than me in the study-buddy department.
I trip over a root that crosses my path and fall to my knees, but just as quickly drag myself back to my feet. A stray root isn’t enough to stop me from getting to where I’m going.
I’m almost at the shed now, and I can’t avoid thinking about him any longer. Trevor hates me. He never calls anymore, never asks me to go to the shed to drink some beer and fool around. He just looks at me in the hallway at school with angry disgusted eyes, and tells me every chance he gets “you’re fucking up your life and I’m not gonna let you fuck up mine.”
Trevor Ladd…the ultimate untouchable. If I could’ve made somebody like him want to be with me, I would’ve surely been able to win my parents back. Well, no such luck. I’m more of a zero to Trevor than I ever was…and Mom and Dad still don’t care.
Blew my entire life sky high. Which is where I’ll be soon, if all goes according to plan. I lift each bottle of sticky sweet cough medicine to my lips and kiss them, one by one.
Just the sight of the tiny, beat-up brown shed fills me with an indescribable sense of relief, probably like the feeling of coming home after years at sea. As soon as I push open the door, I see that Trevor isn’t here and I’m illogically disappointed. But Trevor can’t save me from myself. He did his duty; he tried to get me clean, and he got clean in the process.
Way to go, Trevor.
1) Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
My favorite place to write is in our Boston Red Sox room. It has a huge mural of Fenway Park on one wall, historical team pictures, including all of the World Series winning teams on another wall, and Jacoby Ellsbury’s and Curt Schilling’s signed shirts. I could go on and on about the signed baseballs and furniture. But the best feature is the sectional couch. OMG- it is so comfy and just invites me to sit down for a long afternoon and write.
2) Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
Honestly, I can relate to many of my characters, but in my more recent novels, I can say that I relate a lot to Lanny from Clean, as he suffers with great insecurity about his self worth. I never used alcohol or drugs to “fix” my loneliness, but I struggled to please everyone and when I couldn’t I looked for ways to escape. I found it largely in writing.
3) If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
At this point, I think I would spend a great deal of time volunteering and spending time with the elderly. I watched my mother decline gradually in a nursing home and I realize that many elderly people do not have regular visitors and would benefit greatly from more social interaction. I think I will still do this at some point in my future, probably after my children have graduated from high school.
4) Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
I have learned an incredible amount with each book. In fact, when I read my earliest books, the things I learned stand out to me because I see them as mistakes. There are small things, like cutting down on the use of adverbs, to large things, like making sure that dialects are authentic, but there is a long list of lessons learned. I wonder what I will learn from Clean?
5) Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Believe me, I changed so much of the book so often that I probably came close to driving my publisher crazy! After the first time he placed it on Amazon for pre-order, I even asked him if I could have it back to change a part of the Author’s Note. But no, at this point, I am satisfied.
6) How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
Ideas are sparked by lyrics of music, by the tone of a singer’s voice, by someone I see on the street, by an article I read in the news. Ideas have been ignited at family get togethers and school events. Anything and everything in my life can provide me with a new idea!
7) What’s next for you as a writer?
Next, I’m going to do some work under a new adult pen name, Remy Kendrick. I want to feel freer as an author to get into some of the areas that I am uncomfortable with as a YA author, which include sexual situations and an increased level of violence. Remy Kendrick has a New Adult release on February 14th , 2016 from CoolDudes Publishing.
8) Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in New Hampshire (USA) and I grew up in Massachusetts, even attending college in Boston and teaching for years just outside of Boston. All of my stories are set in New England, or the characters have their roots in New England, so yes, it definitely has an impact on what I write.
9) What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
I read a lot of inspirational books about radical self-acceptance, so I would say that is second to my love of all romance.
10) Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
All of the above… and chocolate, too.
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.