The Temptation of Adam

224p. Sky Pony Pr. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781510707306.
Gr 9 Up—Ever since his parents' divorce, 16-year-old Adam has struggled with feelings of abandonment, trust issues, and an addiction to pornography. In his junior year, he hits rock bottom and finds himself in trouble at school. As an alternative to expulsion, he agrees to participate in a type of character-building and rehabilitation program with a support group of other teen addicts. He gradually begins to build bonds with the other teens, including a beautiful (manic pixie dream) girl named Dez who is, in her own words, "addicted to being addicted." She tells Adam that she will not date him because she doesn't believe two addicts can have a healthy relationship, which leads Adam to finally face his addiction head-on. Connis emphasizes the importance of battling addiction with transparency, communication, and self-forgiveness. While the teens find support in one another, their recovery also relies on their relationships with adults who help them to set boundaries and goals. Impressively, this novel rarely feels preachy. Despite the main character's obsession with pornography, there is very little graphic sexual content, and the teens' dangerous activities, including drug and alcohol use and cutting, are never glorified. The overall tone is fairly maudlin, which will likely appeal to some teens and feel off-putting to others.
VERDICT This debut may ultimately get lost among the multitude of recent books about teens with mental health issues, but its positive messages will make a worthwhile addition to most teen collections.

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