‘Lola Carlyle…’ sounded like a very quirky read. Unlike other novels, I couldn’t think of another book that compared to it, and this is definitely a good thing. The main premise is a girl, Lola, tries to trick her way into rehab in order to spend the summer with a guy she likes, relishing in the spa treatments and tanning opportunities.
Unfortunately, she forgot about therapy.
It turns out that rehab is not just about becoming one with nature and relaxing away the pain. I didn’t know much about rehab myself, so it was nice to get an inside look at what some people actually went through, or ‘broke through’ and the kind of exercises completed by addicts.
Something I really liked about Lola was the amount of character growth. Although it was almost imperceptible to begin with, you could tell by the end she’d really learned something about herself and the severity of her situation.
There was a lot of dramatic irony throughout this book. Obviously, after reading the blurb, we could tell Lola wasn’t an addict. But of course, if she tried to tell anyone that, she was in denial. It was comedic, but tasteful. I don’t think Lola dealt with some of the patients very well, especially Jade – she was slightly unsympathetic, but once she learned everyone’s stories, then she was more likely to be friendly. Just shows you can’t judge a book by its cover, or the addict by the drug.
Now, you can tell from the title that romance was a big theme. I didn’t really understand the ’12 Step’ thing, but I did like the romance. Wade Miller, the TV star, was kind of like a red herring for Adam, her rehab mentor. Everything was very overt and, I don’t know, lust-y.
But, if you think this book’s just going to be a fluffy contemporary romance which just happens to be set in a rehab centre, then think again. There’s so much going on under the surface. Family trauma. Abusive relationships. Therapy. Heart-to-hearts. Drug abuse. Publicity. I definitely saw the last half of this book take a more serious turn, where Lola had to come to terms with the fact that she may not be an alcoholic, but she did have problems.
I can’t say how accurate a portrayal of rehab this was, or the actually type of people in rehab, however, I think the methods used and the character’s backstories were all very believable and realistic.
It’s safe to say what I got wasn’t what I was expecting – in a good way! Lola was funny, fabulous and made for an excellent reading experience. Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 stars, because it was different and unexpected.