Review: Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home

Hooked: When Addiction Hits HomeHooked: When Addiction Hits Home by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes

Annick Press (2013)

ISBN 9781554514748

I have high praise for the brave young people who were willing to share their powerful, painful and generally raw stories of the destructive addictions that have shaped and shattered their lives. These stories, written in the voices of the children who lived through them, are heartbreaking, partly due to the visceral nature of the family secrets retold and partly because readers know these secrets are true. As a tool for other youth facing similar situations in their families, this book has some extremely candid moments to offer and is written in a way that is very authentic.

That being said, I believe a reader of such stories needs to feel some sense of recovery afterwards just as the narrators do. The stories shared by these young people as part of their recovery offer no way up for readers and in many cases the take-away is very negative. In his introduction, Munsch describes for readers his own addiction and offers only that “addiction is a disease and not a child’s fault.” This may be true, but if you are going to ask readers to invest in a book, there needs to be some element of it that is for the reader – not just therapeutic for the writer. Some sort of insight, either from a professional in the area of addiction recovery or from youth counselors who have something to offer towards breaking the cycle of addiction in families. There is a lot of regret and damage in these stories. If readers cannot find hope for recovery then it will leave them wondering if any of these young people ever found that hope in their lives.

The true value of this book is in the discussions and terrifying topics that it brings into the classroom when you read it. Students are much more realistic in their acceptance of the ugly, horrifying things they may face in life – unlike most adults who do not want to believe such terrible things happen to children. In a room with students facing some of the issues in these stories, this book is a gateway to exploring and discussing those topics that hurt and damage them. It provides a safe, vicarious way for students to talk about difficult issues that they themselves may be dealing with in their own lives.

Quantitative: 120 pages

Qualitative: Upper Grade (10-12) mature themes and language. This is not a complex text in the use of vocabulary or structure but the content makes it suitable for mature readers only. Guided reading is recommended.

Content Area: Health – Addiction; Social Science – Families

Common Core Standards: RI.11-12.1; L.11-12.4

Additional/Digital Resources:

Discovery Education – Lesson plans exploring cycle of addiction:

National Institute of Health – Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction:

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