Review: Nice Recovery

Nice Recovery
Susan Juby
Viking Canada

This gripping memoir tells the story of author Susan Juby’s addiction to alcohol. As a socially awkward teen in a small town, Juby turned to alcohol to ease her through social situations. Her heavy drinking led to fights with friends, random hookups, and waking up in a strange place after blacking out. Though she always vowed never to drink again, she continued her turbulent relationship with alcohol until finally seeking help at 20 – an age when most of her peers were partying heavily.

This book was so good I couldn’t put it down, finishing in just over a day. Juby doesn’t try to glamourize her substance abuse but instead presents her story in an honest and often self-deprecating manner that can still cause the reader to smile despite the tragedy unfolding. At the end of the book, Juby presents the stories of other young people in recovery and discusses resources of interest to those struggling with substance abuse. A powerful read.


Review: Something Wicked

Something Wicked
Lesley Anne Cowan
Puffin Canada

Troubled teen Melissa is struggling to get over her breakup with her twenty-eight-year-old secret boyfriend, Michael. To dull her pain, she turns to drinking, drugs, and promiscuity. But her troubles don’t end there. Melissa is also dealing with her younger brother’s death, an irresponsible mother, and being kicked out of school. Can she overcome these challenges and get her life back on track?

Cowan has written a gritty, compelling novel about a lost girl struggling to get through life. Melissa makes a lot of mistakes, but she is also smart. She is capable of doing well at school when she can focus and dreams of going to university to become a veterinarian. Given her difficult childhood as the daughter of a single mother who is still somewhat of a child herself, living in poverty, it is hard not to sympathize with Melissa no matter how many bad choices she makes. Fortunately, help is available in the form of counselors and social workers if Melissa can decide she is worth saving. Something Wicked is nominated for the 2012 White Pine award.