Lola Carlyle is lonely, out of sorts, and in for a boring summer. So when her best friend, Sydney, calls to rave about her stay at a posh Malibu rehab and reveals that the love of Lola’s life, Wade Miller, is being admitted, she knows what she has to do. Never mind that her worst addiction is decaf cappuccino; Lola is going to rehab.
Lola arrives at Sunrise Rehab intent solely on finding Wade, saving him from himself, and—naturally—making him fall in love with her…only to discover she’s actually expected to be an addict. And get treatment. And talk about her issues with her parents, and with herself. Plus she has insane roommates, and an irritatingly attractive mentor, Adam, who’s determined to thwart her at every turn.
Oh, and Sydney? She’s gone.
Turns out, once her pride, her defenses, and her best friend are stripped away, Lola realizes she’s actually got a lot to overcome…if she can open her heart long enough to let it happen.
Addiction is a hell of a thing. I’ve watched countless documentaries about persons who have been defeated by an uncontrollable habit that destroys their entire world and, from what I’ve seen, I would never wish addiction on my worst enemy. However, it’s another thing when you don’t have an addiction but try to get into a luxurious rehab anyway just so you could meet up with the guy you’ve had a crush on for four consecutive years.
Meet Lola Carlyle. She’s a “celebu-spawn” of two highly successful and famous individuals who only seem to care about how Lola makes them look to the general public. Lola covers up her insecurity and emotional pain from lack of attention with her snarky comments and bratty attitude.
This novel didn’t divert from the traditional romance novel structure in any way. Normally, when I pick up romance books like this one to read, it’s almost like witnessing someone building a house. You know that the house is going to be a fixture with all the essentials (a door, windows, bathrooms, etc.) but the design will be different. You know that there will be a female protagonist who inevitably falls in love with a guy – most of the time she has an option between two – while she struggles with her major problem. By the middle of the story she would have matured and have chosen one of the insanely gorgeous guys. Sometimes, the author would decide to go for the “the world is in colour and not black and white” concept where they show you that the guy the protagonist didn’t chose isn’t that much of a douchebag but just misunderstood. Regardless, in the end the protagonist always comes out with a new outlook on life and has grown in some sort of way.
Danielle Younge-Ullman seemed as if she took this kind of approach when she wrote Lola Carlyle’s 12-Step Romance. Lola was the typical celebrity child protagonist; she was bratty, incredibly materialistic and hid behind her insecurities. Still, I enjoyed reading about how she cleverly snuck into rehab to meet up with the ridiculously adorable Wade Miller, how she actually sorted out her life through the aid of rehab and how she matured into a slightly more responsible young adult.
While I did enjoy Lola’s wittiness, my favourite character would have to be Jade. She reminded me of Ally Sheedy from Breakfast Club and I adored Allison. Jade is badass and I could even imagine myself being friends with her but she’s extremely messed up – certifiably crazy. I guess drugs does that to you. I liked Adam’s character too because he isn’t the typical love interest; his character goes beyond just being drop-dead gorgeous.
To say that there was something that stood out to me in this book would be a lie. It was just a fast and casual read. Still, there were a lot of life lessons tucked into this novel that I’m sure a good amount of readers will appreciate. I’d suggest reading this novel during the summer or when you’re in the mood for a novel that discusses tough issues without being morbid.
About the Author
Danielle Younge-Ullman is a novelist, playwright and freelance writer. She studied English and Theater at McGill University, then returned to her hometown of Toronto to work as professional actor for ten years. Danielle’s short story, Reconciliation, was published in MODERN MORSELS—a McGraw-Hill Anthology for young adults—in 2012, her one-act play, 7 Acts of Intercourse, debuted at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival in 2005, and her adult novel, FALLING UNDER, was published by Penguin in 2008. Danielle lives in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.
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