Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA, Young Adult
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.
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’ve got some goodies for you today: a fabulous playlist from author Mia Kerick for her new release, Clean, an excerpt, and a $15 Amazon gift card giveaway. How’s that for an early Christmas present? Enjoy!
Annnnd, here’s Mia!
Hello! And thank you for welcoming me to visit your blog. Today I am here to promote the release of my new book Clean, a YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance.
Clean is the story of two teenage boys who, for various reasons, experience a feeling of complete isolation in the world. Unable to face their problems, they search for an escape, and together find release in the world of drugs and alcohol. Trevor and Lanny soon hit rock bottom, partying constantly, and when one boy makes a decision to stop using, the other spirals downward into addiction. This is the edgy YA fiction illustrating how they are saved, by themselves and each other.
I can remember as a teen, sitting on the velvet couch in the living room, trying not to put my feet on my mother’s beautiful coffee table, and listening to my record albums, while staring at the faces on the covers of the musicians who created the music. Music has long had a great impact on me as a person, and it also affects me as a writer.
I have selected five classic songs that deal with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and recovery to form the playlist for Clean. I will tell you a little bit about each song as I list it.
Play List for Clean by Mia Kerick
Let’s star with Ed Sheeran….
- “The A Team” by Ed Sheeran
Sheeran explained the song title to Billboard magazine in a video interview “A drug like crack cocaine is called a ‘class A’ drug. That’s in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I’d say, ‘She’s in the ‘class A’ team.’ It was kind of my way of covering up (a person’s addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle.”
Ed Sheeran’s wrote “The A Team” about meeting a homeless prostitute at the shelter where he was volunteering.
“The song is a true story and was written by Sheeran after meeting a girl called Angel, whilst volunteering at a Crisis homeless shelter…
Sheeran explained the song title to Billboard magazine in a video interview: ‘A drug like crack cocaine is called a ‘class A’ drug. That’s in the same category as heroin. Instead of making it clear and just saying what the problem was, I’d say, ‘She’s in the ‘class A’ team.’ It was kind of my way of covering up (a person’s addiction), I guess, making it a bit more subtle.’” ~Songfacts
- “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
According to Songfacts, “Lead singer Anthony Kiedis wrote this about his days as a heroin addict and the loneliness that went with it. The bridge mentioned in the song is a place where he sometimes went to buy drugs and get high….
This song was originally just a poem that Kiedis wrote. He didn’t write it for the Chili Peppers – it was a very personal poem that he thought he might use somewhere else. Producer Rick Rubin found it in one of his notebooks and told Anthony that it could be a great song. At first, he didn’t want to sing it or share it with anyone, but he eventually came around.”
- “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
“This song describes a drug user’s descent into crystal meth addiction. The line, ‘I want something else…’ contains a reference to crystal meth in the song. Third Eye Blind lead singer Stephan Jenkins explained on the HBO show Reverb that they intentionally put a chipper melody to the dark lyrical content…
Jenkins said, ‘It’s a song about always wanting something. It’s about never being satisfied, and reaching backwards to things that you’ve lost and towards things that you can never get. I think everybody has some identification with that. The story line between the people, the demise of this relationship, is just an extreme example of that condition. I think that’s what makes people really relate to ‘Semi-Charmed Life.'”
How about a couple of classics from The Eagles who know how to live life in the fast lane?
- “Hotel California” by The Eagles
Though many fans and critics have interpreted it as a song about heroin addiction, “Hotel California” has been described by the Eagles’ Don Henley as their “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”, and “…a song about a journey from innocence to experience.” ~Songfacts
I tend to think that the high life must include some types of substances that get you high, and innocence to experience indicates drug use, as well.
- “Desperado” by The Eagles
Here are two perspectives on the Eagles’ song Desperado that deal with a fast, hedonistic life style that is somehow meaningless.
“On the surface, this song is about a cowboy who refuses to fall in love, but it could also be about a young man who discovers guitars, joins a band, pays his dues and suffers for his art. The stress of being a rock star is a recurring theme in Eagles music (e.g. “Life In The Fast Lane”). The overall theme is how you must suffer for your art.” ~ Songfacts
“At first glance, “Desperado,” a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, depicts a hardened outlaw who refuses to fall in love. This conclusion, although parallel to a majority of the themes lyrically depicted by The Eagles, is incorrect. While the depicted individual exhibits traits parallel to that of an outlaw or rock star, the difference is that the confused individual is longing for love rather than rejecting it. The tone and literary devices embedded within the text support the theme that the young man is victim to his confusion, lifestyle and decisions.” Jhalpino9
“In the first couple of lines, the song’s author depicts the young man’s confused state as justified and prolonged by the pleasure the individual presently experiences. The lines “These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow” allude to the underlying dangerous nature associated with the pleasurable things in the individual’s life. …“ Jhalpino9
- “Sober” by Pink
“This song is about desiring to be uninhibited without resorting to vices such as drink or drugs…
Pink explained that this song is, ‘about the vices that we choose.’ She added, ‘I had this idea in my head, ‘like how do I feel this good sober?’ So I brought that idea to Danja and with this awesome girl Kara DioGuardi and we wrote this song, Sober. And it’s a pretty telling song and then me and Tony Kanal and Jimmy Harry finished it, production-wise, threw some strings on it and made it a little bit darker and a little bit more rocky.’” ~Songfacts
Lanny used alcohol and drugs so that he could feel more comfortable and relaxed and no longer have to suffer his teenage awkwardness and loneliness, or his family difficulties.
Anyway, he picks me up for school at seven sharp. And Trevor may appear like the total bad boy who just doesn’t care—shaggy dark hair hanging in his eyes, a scruffy face that hasn’t seen a razor in way too long, one of those classic black leather jackets that all rebels seem to wear, and the standard worn out Levi’s—but he’s punctual. I mean, the dude’s like clockwork. And if I’m not ready at 7:00 a.m. sharp, he takes off without me and doesn’t even check in his rear view mirror to see if I’m running down the street behind the car. Which I usually am—flailing my arms SOS-style in an effort to flag him down.
So I dart out of the house in the direction of his car, my too-long-for-the-football-team hair dripping wet from the shower, yesterday’s shirt not yet buttoned, and my backpack still unzipped. I shake out my hair to avoid getting droplets of water on his pristine leather- trimmed seats, open the passenger door, slip inside the car, and try to catch my breath.
Trevor doesn’t take his eyes off the road as he says, “Almost left you in my dust, prepster. Thirty more seconds and I’d have been history.”
I want to be mad but then he turns toward me, raises his left eyebrow, and I melt. “Um…thanks for waiting.” I couldn’t come up with a “funny”, or so Joelle says when I crack a joke. But his left eyebrow has that effect on me.
Trevor still doesn’t look at me as he grunts something like, “guess your ass got lucky today” and we head for the Java House drive-thru to grab our mandatory morning coffee. After I got booted off the baseball team last spring for missing too many morning conditioning sessions, Trevor taught me that there’s nothing better for a hangover than a large black coffee and an order of hash browns. He told me that together they have the perfect combination of grease and caffeine necessary to kill off the toxins in our blood. I take his suggestion seriously.
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 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 Dreamspinner 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.
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