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Recovery Road Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Madeline is starting junior year in rehab. She hates the losers surrounding her�all except Trish. Soon the two are escaping the halfway house every Tuesday to go to the movies with other recovering addicts. It is here that Madeline meets Stewart, another recovering addict, and the two teens are immediately drawn together. What follows is a story about being in love while trying to survive sobriety. Eventually, the two are released from rehab and must return to their previous lives; for Madeline that means returning to school and her old friends and routines. Her struggle to stay sober and find a new path is realistic and the strength of the story. Her relationship with Stewart, on the other hand, has the expected narrative ups and downs. When a tragedy strikes, Madeline is left to figure out what she really wants from life and how Stewart fits into her plans. Spanning over three years, the book finds its biggest fireworks in the first half, with the rest proceeding like an extended epilogue. Grades 9-12. --Shauna Yusko


Praise for Destroy All Cars

"Smart and entertaining." —The New York Times Book Review

"[Blake Nelson] captures the grand visions and the generalized irritation of teen idealism in Destroy All Cars." —Los Angeles Times

"An elegant and bittersweet story of a teenager who is finding his voice and trying to make meaning in a world he often finds hopeless." —Publishers Weekly

"You can't get out of this novel without loving James... Blake Nelson's novels about smart kids who don't quite fit give a good ride, and leave the reader with plenty to think about." —Newsday

"The real heart of the story was pseudo-nihilistic James's ongoing affection for his idealistic ex—girlfriend, Sadie... you should definitely check out this book." —TeenVogue.com


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545107296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545107297
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #738,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Valerie A. Baute on March 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I won this book from the first-reads program on Goodreads, and I am so happy I did.
I read this book in one afternoon. I just couldn't put it down. It is the story of Madeline, or Maddie, a 16 year old girl who goes to rehab for drinking and a plethora of drugs, as well as anger issues. While there, she falls in love with 19 year old Stewart. She leaves rehab before him, and they promise to meet up afterward. The rest of the story is about her struggle to really connect with Stewart, finish high school, get into college, and face the pressures of everyday life in a world where most teens at least drink.

I definitely don't want to spoil this book at all by saying what happens, but I will tell you what some of my fears were. I was terrified that she would end up right back in rehab or at least back to partying all of the time. I was sure she was going to end up pregnant with Stewart's baby, and Stewart was going to either die or just abandon her. I was sure her friend from rehab, Trish, was going to die (she was too obsessed with wanting people to love her). After her guidance councilor told her there was no way she would get into any kind of good college, I was sure she was going to give up. I was also worried that every character would end up 100% turned around, no bad repercussions from the horrible choices they had made. That last fear was because I know, in reality, life doesn't work that way, so I didn't want the author to make it that way.

I wanted the author to show a person who really wanted to get better and succeeded while still having to deal with the choices she made and not ending up with life absolutely perfect.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grade: D-

One Word: Cliché

Maddie is stuck in rehab biding her time. Then, at the step down halfway house she meets Stewart, another addict wrestling with recovery. What follows is the ups and downs of her recovery.


1 cup bad attitude
1/2 cup anger
1 cup resistance to recovery
2 clueless parents
1 friend going down the wrong path
At least one death
1 potential relapse
Add stereotypes to flavor

Mix together, bake for 320 pages and you have your predictable recovery book.

Maddie was an unlikable and unsympathetic character for most of the book, unkind to everyone who tried to befriend her. She only thought about herself and not the impact of her words and actions on others, often typical addict behavior. She did become more thoughtful, though her actions were often misplaced and unhealthy.

Her parents were ridiculous. For instance, when she wants to drive 3 hours to rescue her friend on the eve of her finals her father advises her not go go, but admits he can't stop her. Seventeen-year-old Maddie proceeds to drive her father's BWM to a bad neighborhood to rescue her relapsed friend. Then her parents never question why she comes back battered and bruised. Hello, Blake Nelson????

Nelson makes no mention that addicts are strongly recommended not to have new romantic relationships in their first year of sobriety. I get that people ignore the caveat, but there was ample opportunity when Maddie was caught with Stewart and reprimanded for her counselor to at least mention this. Poorly researched.

Nelson did give Maddie a readable voice and although the writing was mostly telling with little show RECOVERY ROAD held my interest. I would not recommend this book, but I also don't think it's harmful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wouldn’t say this is necessarily the type of book I would recommend, if only because I don’t see myself reading this over again, or even looking at the handful of quotes I dug up. Mostly because the diary format of the book just didn't work for me. I am the type of person who likes details and is inquisitive, and a lot of what I wanted to know about Maddie, from how she feels, or thinks, wasn’t presented for Nelson tried his best to make this a first person account. Then, in comparison to the would-be king of YA novels, John Green, I must admit the characters didn’t enchant and mesmerize me. Heck, even with Maddie’s shift from rehab to school and then to college, there were times when I wasn’t necessarily excited for new locales or even Maddie’s next venture in life, but I was just looking for something to invest or say besides saying I finished the book. As compared to say, Fault in Our Stars, where I found the dialog to make me think a bit, the characters were all distinct, and when there was death (SPOILERS!) it felt like it mattered for you got to know the person which actually made their death tragic. As opposed to the two deaths in this book which were presented, in my mind, as a “things happens” type of scenario. But, even with more criticism than praise, I’m glad I finished the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I’m surprised at how much I liked this book. It’s not the kind of book I usually enjoy. I’m so unlike the characters in this book, I’ve never even had a drink in my life. But this book was so well written and I could feel what the characters were going through and somehow relate to their struggles. It was a fast paced page turner that I flew through and finished in less than 24 hours.

Due to the subject matter of this book there was language and sex but it wasn’t over done and fit with the struggles the characters were going through. When reading a book dealing with addiction and recovery it was subject matter that needed to be included to tell the story.

While this story wouldn’t be for everyone due to some of the content I would recommend it to parents of teens and teenagers who are involved in the partying scene.

Content: Strong language, sex, alcohol, drugs

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: ARC Tour
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