Recovery Road

Blake Nelson

Maddie says she doesn’t need friends. Which is convenient—she doesn’t have many. Being in rehab can do that. Make you reconsider friendships you were never sober for. And make you not want to risk new friends letting you down.


But she tries. Trish is pretty broken. She’s haunted, after paralyzing her best friend in an accident. And Maddie hates her desperate need for boys’ attention. But, it’s nice to have someone to talk with.


Especially about the boy Maddie meets. Stewart. But the strict rehab rules might cut off Maddie and Stewart’s excitement about each other as soon as it starts.


Far from the dreaded “problem novel” or cautionary tale, Recovery Road refuses to narrate life lessons. Not that it doesn’t have any. It just doesn’t whack you over the head with them. It deals with things a lot of people Maddie’s age are going through, and doesn’t sensationalize or wrap a neat bow on them. Or a lecture. Just tells an engaging, relatable story.


Blake Nelson‘s books like Paranoid Park and Destroy All Cars have made him a Guys Read favorite, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s unflinchingly real, following Maddie through the end of her time in rehab and back into the world where her old friends find her to be a bummer now. So she tries to see if she can actually be a friend to anyone.


We like the TV show, too. It has a lot of good in it. It’s drastically different, and a bit more life-lesson-y at the cost of some of the reality. But it’s telling the kind of story that isn’t often told on network TV.


If you like the show or don’t, there’s still a lot you could get out of the book Recovery Road.


Page Count 320
Part of a Series? No
Age Level 13 — up

This book is . . .