Up next in our National Library Week celebration is the RadRead titled Lush by Natasha Friend. While the tone of Lush is a little more gentle than some of the RadReads we’ve featured thus far, the topic it covers is still pretty heavy and one that probably affects more teens nowadays than any of us realize. It centers around a teenage girl who is trying to live a normal life but finds it nearly impossible as she tries to cope with her alcoholic father. Ugh. As if being a teen isn’t hard enough already, right?!?
This is one of the books that will get recommended over and over and over again for a variety of reasons. First, it’s well written with a smooth, realistic, and highly appealing tone that tons of teen readers will respond to. Second, as the book highlights, being part of a family which includes an alcoholic is a hush-hush topic so reading books with characters in similar situations can sometimes act as a much needed source of solace to those that can identify with the circumstances. And lastly, let’s face it–drinking alcohol is an opportunity that presents itself in nearly every young adult’s life. For whatever reason, it seems to be such a huge part of our culture and the coming-of-age experience. If it doesn’t happen at the high school level it’s bound to at college. Whatever choices you make it’s wise to read up on the experiences of others and see how the decisions they make play out. And we do get to see what happens to the teen in this book when she tries alcohol for the first time. Let’s just say it’s not pretty. Read it to find out!
In the meantime, check out what the book jacket has to say:
Samantha has a secret…It’s hard to be a thirteen-year-old girl. But it’s even harder when your father’s a drunk. It adds an extra layer to everything–your family’s reactions to things, the friends you’re willing to bring home, the way you see yourself and the world. For Samantha, it’s something that’s been going on for so long that she’s almost used to it. Especially when it starts to get worse.
Sam knows things have to stop. But she doesn’t know how to make them stop. So she picks a random girl in the library and start sending her notes, asking for advice. And she keeps an extra-close eye on her little brother, trying to protect him from getting hurt. Sam doesn’t want her family to fall apart. But that might be what has to happen for things to be okay again.
But the most valuable thing about the book might be that it lists terrific resources in the back as a way of pointing readers towards more great info and help if they need it. Several hotlines and books are listed, not to mention these websites:
Alanon/Alateen–Support for teens who have friends and/or relatives dealing with alcoholism
National Association for Children of Alcoholics–Offers support to children of drug/alcohol dependent parents
Children of Alcoholics Foundation–Help for families dealing with alcoholism and drug addiction