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Popular high school senior Eli Ross has the perfect life. He’s captain of the lacrosse team at LionsHeart Academy, and he’s dating Savannah, the hottest, most popular girl at school. But that life comes crashing down when he overdoses at a party and is sent to LakeShore Recovery Center, an inpatient substance abuse treatment program where he’ll spend the next twenty-eight days.

It's there that Eli meets Libby, the sharp-edged artist, whose freshly tattooed scars mirror the emotional scars Eli tries his best to ignore. Eli soon learns that if he's to have any chance at a future, he'll first have to confront his past.

292 pages, Paperback

Published April 7, 2018

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About the author

Abbey Lee Nash

1 book13 followers
I write and teach in Bryn Athyn, PA. I am a member of EPA SCBWI.

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5 stars
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29 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books331 followers
July 31, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley and Tiny Fox Press for allowing me to read and review this raw, riveting book about drug addiction. Abbey Lee Nash’s writing is captivating, very tight pacing with lovely prose. I devoured this in less than 24 hours. It’s nice, clean storytelling that keeps you riveted as you move through Eli’s heartbreaking story of drug addiction and his road to recovery.

Much of the action takes place in a recovery facility, and her scenes between Eli and his therapist were some of my favorite parts. This is a very gritty portrayal that pulls no punches as it examines the road that got Eli there and what he must do to achieve sobriety. I especially enjoyed Nash’s take on this topic for her realistic look at life in a rehab facility, and the in-depth way she looked at Eli’s past and pulled all the pieces together.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Up All Night With Books.
1,143 reviews36 followers
March 12, 2018
**ARC received in exchange for an honest review**

We all know someone that has struggled with addiction, it could be a friend, family member or a random stranger. We may know the trials they go through to get better, but do we really know what it takes to overcome? Abbey Lee Nash hits the nail on the head with her debut novel Lifeline.

While dealing with such a strong topic such as addiction and substance abuse, this book keeps it real while also telling how hard it is for some people to overcome. We meet Eli, the star of his school’s lacrosse team, golden boy that thinks he’s untouchable. We see his side of the story and how he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong. He eventually sees that he is and that is the first step. When he learns of what really killed his father it hits home. Eli decides to be the person he needs to be for his family and those he leaves behind after he leaves treatment.

You will laugh at their jokes, and cry when they breakthrough, and cheer them on as they face the road to recovery. This is a must read this year. It does deal with sensitive matters, but it is done very tastefully. I give this book a solid five stars.

**Review by Terren, Late Night Reviewer for Up All Night w/ Books**
Profile Image for Fatima Ahmed.
71 reviews17 followers
May 6, 2019
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


I loved this book soooo much. Right from the start, I was sucked right in. Many times throughout the book, I would just find myself on the brink of tears, even in the beginning.

I enjoyed everything about this book; the writing style, Eli's character, the plot, basically everything! The writing style was just truly wonderful. Sometimes I’d just reread a sentence just because I liked it so much.

The topic covered is truly important and I feel is portrayed very well. Addiction is a serious issue and writing about it in novel form is a great way to inform people about it. I just have to say that this is absolutely one of my favorite reads this year, and I most definitely recommend reading it!
Profile Image for Tina.
328 reviews7 followers
January 19, 2018
am rating this book 4 stars because it tackles a difficult subject - substance and recovery and does it, for the most part, well.

The first few chapters are extremely well written and the reader jumps right into the action, as we sit with the main character who immediately shows us, via his actions, that he is a full fledged junkie, even if he is a Lacrosse star.

The honest look at addiction and recovery is also well done as we are transported to rehab with Elie.. Once in rehab, Elie must learn to admit that he is a junkie, but also what his triggers are. One the good side, Elie, while almost completely unlikeable has moments of kindness towards his friends in rehab and this, despite seeing his "perfect" life outside rehab crumble.

Elie, as I mentioned, is not a particularly likeable character and that's okay, however, he is also, at times, quite a vanilla character - somehow not bad, but not good either, I suppose he represents the average person who has gotten in over their head with drugs. However, this makes for a bit of a boring story once he enters rehab (and that is pretty early in the story). I like that he makes some friends, but the whole Libby thing is completely over the top and I could have done without it. Why the need for "romance" especially since everyone knows that recovery is NOT a place to find your next date.

I definitely liked the earlier part of this book more than the recovery part, but overall this was written well, paced well and obviously researched well.

A good read.
Profile Image for meep.
612 reviews16 followers
January 19, 2018
I actually really liked this book. It is about an all american teen who is a lacrosse player, who is dating a blonde cheerleader type & is the life of a party but he has one problem. addiction. He gets sent to rehab where he discovers himself and a dark family secret. Anyways i am bad at writing blurbs but i found myself tearing up a bit when he fell to rock bottom. Eli was a very down to earth relateable character who often puts his foot in his mouth when he is upset. I liked the writing style and the story. the blurb sucked me in and i read the book in one sitting the only issue i had was the ending it was kind of abrupt and i feel like there could have been a few more chapters
Profile Image for Jodie "Bookish"  Cook.
1,717 reviews3 followers
March 3, 2018
Book Review
Title: Lifeline
Author: Abbey Lee Nash
Genre: YA/Mental health
Rating: *****
Review: The opening to Lifeline was good we are introduced to Eli a school jock on the lacrosse team after he lands the first win of the season, while he projects the image of the All-American lad he is actually taking drugs or performance enhancer to get through training and exams without falling behind in anything. It is clear from the format of this novel which is told in hours and days that things aren’t going to go well for Eli.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, as I predicted things don’t go right for Eli, at the party he basically experiences the beginning of a panic attack so goes to his car to get high and overdoses. He ends up in the hospital after his heart stopped where things just go downhill, his girlfriend breaks up with him, and he is facing drug charges if he doesn’t go to rehab as he was snorting heroin. Eli like any other 18-year-old boy feels like his life is ending especially since he feels like his stepfather is always trying to shove him out of the picture because he isn’t his son like Benny is. Despite fighting it every step of the way Eli ends up at LakeShore Recovery Centre’s Detox unit for the next 28 days of his life, which to a teenager is an eternity but from his reactions they things he is going to miss the most is his brother and school not the rest of his family or friends. For the first few days Eli meets some people in a similar position to him but the only one he begins to connect with is Red (which always makes me think of the Shawshank Redemption). For a while Eli refuses to admit anything is wrong with but when his therapist tells him what path he is on and where is it going, he realises that he might need some help although he isn’t keen on the idea at all.
As we cross in the ¼ mark in the novel, Eli is on day 6 of his 28-day course and he is beginning to acknowledge his feelings about the drugs he has used and what has lead him to this point, he also seems to be intimidated and infatuated with Libby. Libby is a broken girl, that is the way she sees herself and Eli immediately begins wondering how she sees him which he hasn’t done with anyone else at the clinic. Through the other teens in the clinic Eli begins to learn about the people there for help and the people providing help and slowly we can see them all chipping away at the walls Eli has built around himself for protection.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Eli seems to be settling quite nicely to his new environment even sharing in group although it causes him to have a small melt down which is avoided surprisingly with Libby’s help although she doesn’t hit him this time. He also gets to phone home for the first time and we can see how much Eli relies on his mother’s guidance and affection to keep him on track which he obviously hasn’t been getting for a long time and he is also desperate to see Savannah and asks his mother if she can come on visitation day. However, just when Eli is making progress Savannah drops a major bombshell by breaking up with him to be with his team mate Alex when he has been gone less than a week, but he finds some shallow comfort with Libby. Despite being dealt this major blow Eli doesn’t stumble as badly as I thought he would but rather actually delves deeper in what drove him to drugs and his family seem to be the cause of it primarily the relationship between him and his biological parents.
As we cross into the second half of the novel, Eli is getting closer and closer to the route of his problems and they are his mother, he blames his mother for his dad’s death and he feels completely abandoned by her and feels left out of the new family. However, when he has a session with his mother and see reveals some things that Eli never knew it knocks him straight back where he started just with a different type of drug, however, this causes to lash out at everyone especially Richard. As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Eli is seriously contemplating leaving the clinic and facing the wrath of the courts after Libby leaves but in an emotional session with Richard he realises the pattern in his negative behaviour and agrees to stay. However, we also get to see a relapse from the unlikely one; Will and how it affects the people he has become friends with including Eli.
As we cross into the final section of the novel, Eli finally understands what the clinic is meant to teach and what tools it has actually given him for going back into the big, scary world. The ending of this novel provided resolution, but Eli wasn’t magically cured this was just the beginning of his journey, he still has a long way to go. My favourite part of this whole novel was the tear-jerking moment between Eli and Steven and how their relationship changes, how alike they realise they are and how they can help and support one another. Super highly recommend for mental health and addiction rep.
Profile Image for Joshualyn Prater.
378 reviews19 followers
January 8, 2018
I received an ARC copy from netgalley for my honest review,  so thank you netgalley and publishers for offering me this book! ♡
This story is a about a Popular high school senior Eli Ross who has the perfect life. He's captain of the lacrosse team at LionsHeart Academy, and he's dating Savannah, the hottest, most popular girl at school. But that life comes crashing down when he overdoses at a party and is sent to LakeShore Recovery Center, an inpatient substance abuse treatment program where he'll spend the next twenty-eight days.
It's there that Eli meets Libby, the sharp-edged artist, whose freshly tattooed scars mirror the emotional scars Eli tries his best to ignore. Eli soon learns that if he's to have any chance at a future, he'll first have to confront his past
This was my first book by this author, I did enjoy it, It really touched home for me, I have done drugs in the past and know SOOOOO many people who are addicts, I found it very relatable and just alltogether an easy read. ♡ I give this book a 4.5 star rating!
Profile Image for Jantine.
672 reviews41 followers
January 10, 2018
I received a free copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.

It is hard to describe why I like this book so much. I know the plot is not very original. It would have been better without the love-interest-drama. Still, it got me reading it all at once. I found the characters very interesting, especially since they were not perfect. They were not 'magickally healed' by their oh so perfect shrinks and their wonderful insights. They fell, and kind of expected to fall again, but they did what they could not to.
46 reviews1 follower
January 10, 2018
This story is about the reality of addiction. There were raw emotions in here that show how hard saying you need help and that you have an addiction. I've learned a lot from this book and am happy to have read a story on such topic.
Profile Image for Audrey (Warped Shelves).
683 reviews39 followers
February 1, 2018
This review is based on an ARC of Lifeline which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (Tiny Fox Press).

The plot of Lifeline is cliché and overused. We have all read a book like this.

That being said, I love this cliché in particular and it is one of my favorite kinds of books to read, despite how many times it makes me roll my eyes.

I enjoyed Abbey Lee Nash's take on this trope. I think that she presented a realistic situation and a believable character. Probably my favorite part of Lifeline is the relationships Eli makes--the platonic ones in particular. I liked seeing his character development (thought, in my opinion, this was slight) and watching him come to terms with himself and his addiction.

But, speaking of Eli, this brings me to a con: Eli is a jerk. Occasionally the book grew frustrating to read because Eli is a big tantrum-throwing baby, he is self-centered, and his outbursts and statements borderline verbal abuse. I mean, I get that he's having struggles because he's in rehab, but take a chill pill. (lol wait) No need to attack those who are trying to help you, dude.

I have one last note, which isn't exactly a criticism, but something that I just have to get off my chest. Benny and Blue's Clues. It is 2018. This kid had to have been born in 2012 AT LEAST. Where did his parents find a Blue's Clues coloring book? Why isn't he watching Paw Patrol or some other modern kids' show? I watched Blue's Clues in preschool. I am 19. How does this 5-year-old have the same favorite show as I did when I was younger than him? Just... what?!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,286 reviews216 followers
January 6, 2018
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of LIFELINE by Abbey Lee Nash in exchange for my honest review ***

If you’ve ever read a book about a teen forced into rehab or psych treatment you’ve read LIFELINE, probably written better with more originality.

In this story Eli accidentally OD’s, enters rehab with a bad attitude with no intention of embracing treatment, reluctantly makes friends, has a bit of a romance (because what’s rehab without a little love), some patients don’t get better, finally gives therapy a try, everyone is proud.

Seriously, there is not one original component of the story. Ok, semi original, dead dad was an addict.

LIFELINE is set before rehab and a chapter for each day. The writing felt stilted, the dialog bland. I hate giving one star reviews to ARCs, especially for debut writes, but I can’t find any reason to recommend LIFELINE.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
13 reviews
March 15, 2018
Abbey Lee Nash's debut novel Lifeline is an emotionally charged read that goes a long way towards explaining the allure of addiction and the all-too circuitous path out of the pain. Eighteen-year-old Eli Ross doesn’t appear to have a bad life: captain of the prep school lacrosse team, fetching blond girlfriend, lots of admiring friends, and a nice-enough mom. Sure, his dad is dead and he’s saddled with an eager stepfather and a pesky half-brother who adores him too much. Trouble is, Eli feels like a fraud. “Faking it is exhausting,” so much so that he’s turned to sniffing heroin for relief. When he overdoses in his locked car as the police raid the party he's attending, it's his girlfriend Savannah who saves him. It's a pattern of rescue that Eli will try to repeat.

In Eli's distinctive first-person voice, Nash speeds us along quickly in the early pages of the novel, deftly setting up Eli's world -- the McMansion that feels too big, the "friend" who morphs into a drug dealer, the over-the-top party where Eli's the reluctant hero of the hour, all part of the unrelenting pressure to becomes someone he's not. Nash illustrates how Eli's world truly closes in on him when he's forced to begin a 28-day detox program at LakeShore Recovery Center. It's here where the novel pauses and lingers, unafraid to reveal the hard work ahead for Eli and the new cast of characters suddenly part of his life, including Red, Libby, Will and Mo.

A particular strength of the novel is the portrayal of counselor Richard Fisher who Eli dubs a "hippy has-been." The back and forth of their counselor/patient relationship will be eye opening for many readers. But Nash never makes it appear that a good counselor and 28 days is enough to climb out of the pain that is addiction. Nor does she resort to stock characters or predictable outcomes. What she does instead is to offer hope that there may be help waiting for those who seek it. This is a novel that confronts recovery head-on and without blinking.
Profile Image for Ana.
33 reviews1 follower
September 8, 2019
First things, first. I received this as a review copy for free and I am here to leave my honest opinion.

Lifeline takes us through the journey of rehab with Eli. Eli had a perfect life. Perfect girlfriend, picture perfect family, great school, captain of the school's lacrosse team. He was the poster child of popular jock. Everything was mostly perfect until a single night ruined it all for Eli and landed him stuck at rehab two hours away from home. Eli has to survive the 28 days in rehab or quit and go to court.

So to start things off, I don't usually read books like this. I usually stick to YA Adventure and Fantasy. So this was definitely out of the ordinary for me to read. At first I thought "oh no here comes another whiny teenage Holden Caulfield."

I am pleased to say that was not the case. I ended up wanting to read more and more as the story progressed. I very much liked the way Abbey Lee Nash started the story a couple hours before Eli's life began crumpling. We get to see a glimpse into his life and meet the person he is before everything goes down. He's your typical teenage boy living in denial about his problem. He did get quite annoying at the begining but it does depict what I imagine to be the reality of many on the road of recovery. As he slowly progresses through the recovery process, he does eventually become more down to earth and even grows up a little. Who would've thought, right!? There were some parts that had me ALMOST tearing up, which I was anticipating. But the climax quickly came back down. Abbey could have definitely expanded some more on the side characters. I would have loved to see how Eli's and Steven's relationship changes. But sadly the story ended as soon as Eli left. My actual reaction was "that can't be it!? There has to be more!"

All in all, I did quite like this book. It was decent. Does it have room for more potential? Yes, of course. Abbey Lee Nash could have added a bit more drama and heart wrenching, maybe even develop some of the side characters a little more, and perhaps letting us follow Eli as he heads home from rehab which is where it truly gets hard. It was a decent read that I liked. Not too bad but had room for improvement. Meh, what else do you want me to say?
Profile Image for Dayle (the literary llama).
1,053 reviews166 followers
May 8, 2018
I have a bit of a soft spot for YA stories dealing with mental health and/or addiction, so it was easy for me say yes and jump into LIFELINE. Here’s what I liked about the book:

• Eli has this sort of “averageness” to him that actually makes him really relatable. His spiral into addiction and his reasons behind his denial hit me in all the believable ways.
• The author makes the distinction between just another teen partying and an addict on a step in the downward spiral clear and emotionally resonant.
• Nothing felt like it was OTT or just thrown in for drama.
• What could have been a misstep for a ridiculous love interest (with Libby), was actually a spot on take on transference.

• My only complaint was that I wanted more! It’s a short read, under 300 pages. So there were areas that I wish were expanded and characters that I wanted more developed. 28 days as a timeline is just so short, it leaves you worrying for Eli a bit in the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend if you’re a fan of the genre. I’m excited to see more books from Nash.

* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
March 18, 2018
Lifeline cracks open hope around addiction. I couldn't put this book down. Nash has tackled a challenging and relevant subject and brought it to life with grounded compassion.

I got an Advanced Reading Copy of Lifeline and couldn't put it down for 24 hours. I was so moved by Nash's exploration of the theme of addiction and recovery and how it impacts relationships. I found myself bonding with the characters, curious about what would happen next, rooting for recovery with tears in my eyes, and humbled by the reminder that nothing about recovery is simple or permanent.

Nash has created a moving story that pulls the reader in and helps the reader to wrestle with important themes. She does this without including rainbows or unicorns, but more so the nitty gritty process of recovery that only one who has intimately witnessed can describe.

I can see young people exploring this book as a starting point for important conversations about addiction and recovery, for expanding their understanding of addiction in their own lives and the lives of people they love. I can see this book as a required reading component of high school classes where students can discuss the experience of addiction and recovery.
Profile Image for Ankita Singh.
Author 3 books47 followers
July 19, 2018
4.5 stars!

Lifeline was, quite simply, beautiful. 

The story reminded me of Ned Vizzini's It's Kind Of A Funny Story. A lot.

Eli, lacrosse captain and star student ends up in rehab because of a drug overdose. And that's where his life changes for the better. 

Lifeline was an easy read, and yet it was just as beautiful and intense. It was funny, but it was serious too. 

The characters were well crafted, so were their struggles. Though I wish the author had written more about Libby. Because though Eli's story has a nice ending, we don't get to see what happens to Libby. 

Overall though, Lifeline was a sweet, intense and beautiful read. 
Profile Image for gem.
703 reviews22 followers
March 5, 2018
Eli is such an interesting character and reading about his journey in to recovery is great. This book will be compared to Clean by Juno Dawson, but to me this was easier to read and I felt more able to empathise with aspects of the characters struggles.
His growing friendship with Libby and the other patients was great to read about because the way they shared their experiences and opened themselves up to what life could be without addiction felt very realistic.
Despite the intense subject and obviously triggering scenes for some readers I truly enjoyed this book and would love to read more by this author!
Thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
Profile Image for Patty.
1,553 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2018
Lifeline by Abbey Lee Nash is the story Eli Ross, who almost died from a drug overdose. Eli is very popular and the captain of the lacrosse team at Lions Heart Academy. After a big win, Eli and his girlfriend Savannah, the most beautiful and popular girl at school attend a party. After Eli chugs several beers he goes alone to his car and overdoses. Eli has a choice of jail or going to Lake Shore Recovery Center for inpatient treatment, he chooses treatment for 28 days. I really enjoyed this book, it takes a serious look at teenage substance abuse. Will Eli make it or not? Highly recommend.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Julianne.
183 reviews18 followers
July 5, 2019
I was really excited to read this because I have friends and family members who struggle with addiction, and I was hoping it would give me a new view of them.

The beginning is very well written and very powerful, but Eli actually spending time in rehab is not as strong. He does make big changes to himself and his outlook. But I don't believe he takes his recovery seriously.

The highlight of the book in my opinion is the friendship Eli finds with Red. They don't always get along. At parts, they fight and really cant stand each other. But when they need each other most, they are there for each other.

I am glad I read the book, but I wish they had kept the in-rehab romance to a minimum. I understand that those in recovery seek out those types of romances, but it actually took away from Eli's character and made his arc feel not as strong, to me. But i do suppose it made him more realistic.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jessi.
75 reviews
August 13, 2019
I dont normally cry over a book. Why did you make me cry? This i a great story about hitting rock bottom and overcoming the obstacles on the climb back. The author does a great job of painting the picture of so many different types of users. Each one has their own story which really adds to the entire narrative. I received an advance copy for free in exchange for an honest review.
January 23, 2018
Abbey Nash puts a human face on the opioid epidemic in her new book LIFELINE. Through beautiful prose she finds the cracks through which love and hope reside. Love of friends, family, and self are lifelines that help the main character Eli to first accept he's an addict, then gives him the strength to explore a painful past and finally to pursue a life lived without drugs.

In her debut novel, Nash opens a window into what a drug rehab program is like, drawing from interviews with care specialists, and addicts. We meet people in rehab from all different walks of life, each story unique and heart wrenching. And yet, through their journeys we can see how each person finds a different lifeline to help pull themselves out of addiction.

There's Libby, who has tattooed her body with pain, but finds that art can be a vessel into which to pour that pain instead. Ronnie aka “Red” wishes he could die like his girlfriend, until her parents reach out to save him. Mo has a frequent flyer card to rehab, he tries over and over again for the love of family. While still others, are searching for their lifelines trying, failing, succeeding. No one survives addiction unchanged or unscathed, and Nash doesn't trivialize the path to sobriety, but she gives us a lifeline of hope that one can come out stronger in the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Holli.
262 reviews24 followers
March 15, 2018
I received an advanced copy of this novel in return for an honest review. Because of this, my review is a little long, but I wanted to be thorough and honest and make sure I earned my free copy!

I have to admit that I entered into this novel with a certain amount of trepidation. It’s about teen drug addiction and one of the blurbs I read used the word “raw,” so I wasn’t sure if I would have the emotional stamina to see it through. I was drawn into the story immediately, however, mainly because of the characters. Nash has a great ear for dialogue, which gives each character an authentic voice. I didn’t necessarily like all of them at first, but I cared about them, which is important. I found myself thinking about them and pulling for them when I was away from the book.

Most importantly, I couldn’t predict the outcomes for each of the characters. As Nash warns us, “Not everybody gets out . . . . Not everybody’s okay” in the world of addiction, which is so poignant. Happily ever after isn’t usually an option for these young addicts. Sobriety often comes after a long struggle with quite a few setbacks. Nash keeps us reading because she keeps us guessing. We want everyone to be okay, but we know that they can’t. I appreciate the fact that Nash doesn’t sugar coat this difficult reality. And I appreciate that she is able to show us so many “faces of addiction” without falling into stereotypes.

One of the great things that Nash does is make rehab not so scary. She accomplishes this with an understated humor and with the sense of camaraderie that develops between characters. Eli, the main character, admits that the reason he used drugs was because of a feeling of emptiness inside. “I felt alone no matter how many people were by my side.” But that all begins to change for him the night he and Red spend sitting on the floor, “shoulder to shoulder telling each other stories that they hope will save them.” Their friendship is based on something real—they really need each other to make it through. Eli’s other friendships back home pale in comparison. Nash does a good job of balancing out these heavy moments with more lighthearted ones. I love the banter between the characters and the way they tease each other. Their humor can be dark at times, but it’s real.

The raw honesty required for recovery creates a bond that has been missing in most of their lives up until now. After hearing someone share at a meeting one evening, Eli observes, “As he speaks, shoulders soften; people sit lighter on their chairs. Everybody hears something in his story, some part of their own experience. It’s not the specifics of his drug use; it’s the common thread of deep suffering that weaves the group together.”

Toward the end of the book I had a little epiphany. On Easter Sunday, Eli comments that “Most of the visitors have already headed home, back to their real Easter dinners with their non-addicted family members.” But as I read that I found myself thinking, “Yeah, they’re going back to their Muggle world where everyone is asleep and hardly anyone tells the truth.” And I found myself thinking that I would rather stay here at LakeShore Recovery Center, where people are learning to be honest and face the darkness and discover that they are not alone.

And that’s basically what rehab is all about, isn’t it? Learning to face the human condition. Learning to rely on something bigger than yourself to get you through. Learning that healing often involves breaking open like “a fissure splitting apart stone,” but that this breaking hurts in a good way, “letting the light in.” Learning to show up—for yourself and for each other. Learning that you are not alone. Learning that “there’s another way to live and that it doesn’t matter how crazy or unfair life is—you can be peaceful inside anyway.” Learning how to be salve for each other’s wounds. (One of my absolute FAVORITE scenes. Watch for it!! It’s beautiful!)

And here’s the epiphany part. It’s not just what rehab is about. It’s what life is about. The kids at LakeShore are basically learning how to be whole human beings. They are learning that in order to be a fully functioning, emotionally balanced person, they must do a lot of inner work. They must learn to ask and answer hard questions. They must write things down in purple notebooks. They must find ways of expressing themselves creatively. They must surround themselves with others who are on the same journey. This is true not just for addicts, but for all of us. We could all use a trip through rehab!

The sad part of the novel is that each of these kids has to go back out into the real world. And I guess that’s the rub. Which is the “real” world? The place where people pretend that everything is okay when it’s not? Or the place where people face the truth of things and find out that it’s okay to not be okay because you have a group of people who listen and laugh and see the real you “cracks and all,” and believe in you until you can believe in yourself?

So this is why I chose to give this book 5 stars: because I cared so deeply about the characters; because it is well written in terms of pacing and dialogue and is also sprinkled with poetic language and small poignant moments even in the midst of chaos; because it contains wisdom about how to live a meaningful life and has caused me to ponder big questions that aren’t easily answered; because like all good fiction, reading this novel can open our minds and help us be kinder, more tolerant, and more compassionate; and because of that one scene I mentioned earlier that I don’t want to give away.

I am very grateful to the author for being willing to write this story that was inspired by experiences with addiction in her own family. This book and your writing of it both reflect a hero’s journey. You have tapped into a stream of wisdom here that needs to be shared. Thanks for showing up, putting pen to paper, and drawing us into the conversation. We’re all in this together.
Profile Image for Kara Jay.
60 reviews15 followers
May 3, 2019
I got this book for free for an honest review. This was an easy, quick read that dealt with heavy issues.
The author tells the story in a great way and is definitely skilled in weaving a story.
I think my biggest issue with this book was the journey felt rushed. I can't explain it really other than saying that. I'm not too upset about it, because it meant the story just kept moving.
I do think there was one part of the story that was unnecessary which I'll leave out in an effort to not spoil it for you.
You should give this a shot if stories about addiction, especially in teens, is something that interests you.
Profile Image for Lisa.
164 reviews2 followers
August 20, 2019

The protagonist of this book must be the most dislikable character I've ever read. The book only gets interesting in the final few chapters.
I got a copy of this book for free from Book Sirens in exchange for a review on Amazon.
Profile Image for Alyssia Cooke.
1,023 reviews33 followers
November 27, 2019
Parts of this are done really very well indeed... other aspects however fell rather more flat. I certainly applaud the author for tackling a difficult and important topic in drug use and addiction, and some of the scenes here are really powerful. Eli is the ruler of his high school - king of the lacrosse team,an all-American lad with everything going for him... except one thing of course. He has somewhat of a drug problem; from pot to oxy pills and now heroin, he'll do anything for his next hit. Until he goes a little too far and lands himself up in hospital and then a drugs recovery centre to help him to deal with his issues.

Much of the novel is played out at this recovery centre and we see how Eli begins to recognise his underlying problems and deal with them rather than trying to blank them out or hide from them with drugs. This is definitely well done. There is an exploration of the reason different people use drugs without sounding like a lecture and each of the characters here are given stories and backgrounds that are funny and heartfelt in turns. Eli is a realistic character portrayed well as the angry youngster with a difficult forced to attend rehab against his wishes and not wanting to get with the program. The relationships are well depicted as well, as you start with the hero worship of his deceased father, betrayal at his mother and contempt for his step father and all of these gradually mature and develop as the book goes on. I enjoyed the writing style; it felt smooth and easy to read, which fits with the YA market, but doesn't pull it's punches. Nash manages to capture the difficulties of recovering from addiction without wallowing in the hopelessness for long.

Where I started to struggle was with the romance which feels hoisted in for forms sake because it's a young adult book; and what would a YA book be without a forced romance *yawn*. I felt this took up far too much of what is a relatively short book to begin with and the space that it takes could have far more productively been used. Libby is a character who has serious problems and yet these are down-played in favour of the romance, so there isn't the opening up of a discussion about wider mental health issues and abuse that this could potentially have offered. I also felt the ending was rather rushed and there was a cut off that could have been followed that little bit further into actual recovery. The novel seems to be basing itself off the twelve AA steps and yet an example of this would be that we only actually hear about the first two - Eli is given 'packs' to complete for these, so I assume that there would be for the other ten, but in 28 days that's all he gets through so wham, bam, thank you m'am and the book finishes.

Perhaps this was because the Step 3 directly mentions God, where Nash has made the 'higher power' in Step 2 out to be anything you want it to be; family, friends, art... with a definite edging away from this having to be God. In that case though, a different program of recovery should have been used; one where the reader can actually follow more of it rather than there being such a truncated finish. There are plenty of recovery programs out there so it wouldn't have been that difficult. As it stands though, this feels unfinished; whilst Eli has made his peace with some of his demons and there is a discharge plan for his future recovery, it felt like a cop out.

I admit, I also had some issues with believability at points. Not on the effects of addiction or the dangers of drugs but I had some difficulty believing that an eighteen year old with no job somehow had an addiction to heroin that his parents didn't know about. Doing some very basic research you are looking at between $60 and $70 for a gram even in 2016 prices and when he isn't a dealer, nor does he have any other obvious source of income this seems somewhat shaky even if he is paying 'mates rates'.

So, an interesting book that could have been improved by cutting the forced romance and using the pages saved to go into further steps of recovery and focus on wider mental health aspects floated then forgotten in the book like self harm.

Many thanks to BookSirens for my free copy of this book.
Profile Image for Aeyva [Reviews by Aeyva].
60 reviews4 followers
June 12, 2019
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

ARC is provided through Booksirens in exchange for an honest review.

Lifeline is the debut novel by the American author, Abbey Lee Nash. For being a debut novel, I must say she did a decent job. Addiction is a difficult topic to navigate through, and it is a sensitive subject to many. In her story, both addiction and mental illness are presented through her diverse cast of characters.

In a lot of YA-stories, the parents are uninvolved with their child’s life, and sometimes they are barely mentioned at all. Where do they go? Who knows? Work, maybe?
Abbey’s involvement of Eli’s mother and stepfather was a breath of fresh air, to be honest. When Eli accidentally overdosed, his mother immediately admitted him to the Lakeshore Recovery Center. While Eli himself didn’t see it, his family loved him and wanted what was best for him. Over and over again, he pushed his stepfather away, but his stepfather never gave up on him.

Abbey builds her world and characters through their interactions and dialogue. She does this exceptionally well, and a few of her characters were interesting to learn about. While some were more vibrant than others, some were also nothing but a name on a page. A few of her characters needed quite a bit more page time because they didn’t appear real at all.

With that said, I feel like Eli and Libby’s relationship was forced. Their relationship had its purpose in the story, but they had no chemistry what so ever, so I didn’t buy it. They were the worst possible match in the entire book. In my opinion, Eli’s friendship with Red and Mo was more significant and posed a larger impact on Eli, whereas Libby straight out assaulted him with a workout manual. Doesn’t sound like anything you’d like to build a relationship on, am I right?
To be fair, Libby’s character was there to be a teaching moment for Eli. His addiction, when not having access to heroin, turned to her instead, but I believe the same lesson could have been taught through Red and Mo. Or maybe even Mr. Fish.

For the second half of the book, it also became quite repetitive and tedious to read about Eli’s blatant denial. While realistic, he lashed out at everyone around him, and every single one of them sucked it up. None of them defended or stood up for themselves, and they let him hurt them verbally more than once. His character development was scarce, to say the least.
At one point, his character crossed the line into asshole-territory, and he did not turn back. He struggled a lot of course, but Eli should consider chill pills instead of heroin. In every chapter, he threw tantrums, verbally abused his counselor and friends, and he couldn’t see past his own selfishness.

Regardless of addiction or mental illness, people should still be called out for being assholes. Are their actions and reactions explainable? Yes, absolutely. Is it understandable if it happens once or twice? Depends on the situation. Is it an excuse? No. When it’s bordering to abuse, it’s gone way too far, and they need to get a reality check.

At the end of the book, Eli’s personality took an abrupt turn for the better, and at the end of his stay at Lakeshore, everything was flowers and rainbows. Are you trying to make me believe that the guy who’s been in obvious denial for the entirety of the book, walks out of rehab with a smile on his face when he a few chapters before was craving heroin? Yeah, no.
Profile Image for Renee Taylor.
161 reviews
February 20, 2018
"I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review"

Popular high school senior Eli Ross has the perfect life. He’s captain of the lacrosse team at LionsHeart Academy, and he’s dating Savannah, the hottest, most popular girl at school. But that life comes crashing down when he overdoses at a party and is sent to LakeShore Recovery Center, an inpatient substance abuse treatment program where he’ll spend the next twenty-eight days.

This book was so much better than I was expecting, I was gripped pretty early on in the book and loved the format that each chapter was a day in the inpatient program and watching him admit his issues and why they came into play.
When I was reading this book it reminded me of the movie 28 days with Sandra Bullock except it was a teenage boy. I was a big fan of that movie when I saw it so I should not be surprised that I liked this book also. I can't say for sure if this is the way inpatient treatment centers work or people with addictions would react but I think it a believable representation on it by what I know (I have a mother with addiction issues). I have never suffered from a drug addiction but as a daughter of a mother who has one I have always been afraid I would follow the same path which I am lucky I have not so that aspect of the story I found very powerful.
The only issue I found is it didn't really cover the withdrawal process and how hard that can be, I think is an important part of the story. I also would of loved to see 6 months later how he was doing with his family and if he managed to stay clean. Even with those issues this was a great book to read and I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I would love for there to be books about some of the other characters such as Will, Red and Libby. Their stories seem so unfinished and would love to read more about them. So please Abbey bring more books out about them.
1 review
March 22, 2018
I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but I ended up devouring it over a weekend - I probably would have read it faster if I didn’t have a toddler! Lifeline by Abbey Lee Nash follows Eli, a popular high school senior, through an overdose and into rehab. The story explores life in a rehab facility and many of the obstacles that one can face on the road to recovery.

Lifeline is engaging and well-written but, more than that, it has the power to imbue readers with understanding and empathy for those dealing with addiction. Unfortunately, we are at a point when many of us can claim that addiction has touched our lives in one way or another. But how much do most people really know about what this experience looks like on the inside? Whether you are concerned about the opioid crisis and want to learn more or someone you know is struggling with addiction, this book has something for you. Yes - it is just ONE perspective and, in my opinion, only scratches the surface of the ways in which socioeconomic status and race have an impact on addiction and recovery. Still - Eli's journey is filled with universal truths that anyone can relate to and learn from. Nash has written an impactful book that comes at a time when we really need it.

I’m giving Lifeline 5 stars because, while it isn’t perfect, I think that it’s an important book to pick up. Readers should know that the story is emotionally taxing, as one might expect, but I would absolutely recommend it for both mature teens and adults.
Profile Image for Crystal♛.
116 reviews28 followers
March 26, 2018
Wow, this book. I don't even know what to say.  This has hit way too close to home for me. Anyone that has dealt with addiction in their life, if it is a loved one or even you, then you will know what I mean.

This was real. I felt my my heart breaking. Bandages being pulled off of old wounds. There were such powerful words in here that helped the characters but also me. It left me with a sense of triumph. We all have pain in life. It's the way you deal with it that is important. Usually people with trauma has a drug. If it is an actual drug or more like art, books, a higher power, etc. This story will open up your eyes on the true details of addiction. I haven't cried like this over a book in long time.

I found myself in Eli a lot (I didn't have to go to a rehab because of heroine). But we did share a lot of the same trauma on some type of level. He is so brave. All of these characters are. Libby is so troubled and broken. She still has a long way to go to being healed. But so does Eli. They all do. Some may still be in rehab, some may just got out, but they all have to deal with this disease. It doesn't just go away in 28 days. There are steps you have to do the rest of your life. The romance was comforting. They found solace in each other.

Thank you Abbey for showing this side of addiction.
Profile Image for Jennifer Shanahan.
894 reviews12 followers
January 26, 2018
I thought this book was very well-written and handled a teen substance abuser's story very well. Eli was an addict but he was so far in denial it was sad. He was really in a great place in life: popular, beautiful girlfriend, captain of his lacrosse team, loved by his classmates etc. Except on the flip side he wasn't happy because he was empty on the inside. He had lived through some important losses in his life and had not dealt with how he felt about and that is why he felt lonely, empty and powerless. He used drugs to fill a void in his life. After he almost died, he was sent to rehab. It was hard for him being so far in denial. The story seemed extremely realistic because everyone in the story was flawed as people in real life would be--Eli's family, his fellow patients, his shrink, his friends--everyone seemed like a normal person and nothing was sugar-coated which is why I liked this book so much. All the characters were totally believable. Addiction, especially in a high school student, is hard to portray realistically and I thought the author did a great job in that respect. Very emotional in rehab especially when Eli realized that he needed help and he WAS an addict. Sometimes hard to read but worth it! Thanks NetGalley!!!
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