Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels

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Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A young adult story about how easy it is to become addicted to alcohol and of the downward spiral which can result. Suddenly CocaCola seems a good idea!
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 234 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Oriole Press
ISBN: 978-1782995579

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Nikki's problems had been around for quite a while but she first became aware of them at about the time of her twelfth birthday. Her mother hadn't thought that the party would be a good idea and it was really down to the fact that her father was unreliable when it came down to how much he drank. He and her mother went out for a meal whilst the party was on, but her mother 'lost' him and when she got home there was mayhem. He wasn't exactly molesting the young girl who had come to the party, but it was obvious that his attentions were unwelcome. Nikki didn't know how to cope.

It was the precursor (well, that and a few other incidents) to the breakup of the family. Nikki went to live with her grandparents - and to a different school. Understandably she was very much against alcohol in any form and all would probably have been well if she had continued in this frame of mind for a few more years, but the actions of one stupid man - who really should have known better - changed it all. When she was fourteen and at a social event she asked for her usual soft drink. It tasted a little different, but most of all it gave her a warm, confident feeling. The man smiled and admitted that he'd got the bar staff to put gin into it. Obviously, she wasn't going to go the same way as her father - her drinking was under control, you see - but when she needed a bit of a lift, a bit of confidence, something to help her to concentrate, then a nip of gin did help. And it couldn't harm, could it?

Yes, it could. Courage to Change is Nikki's story, told in her own words, of what happened to her, of how easy it is for the alcohol to take control. It's a story of opportunities squandered, stupid risks taken and relationships ruined. It's honest - brutally so in places - and no one reading this will be in any doubt about what alcohol can do to you and to those around you. By inference it's going to apply to other addictions as they all have their downsides and the downsides tend to last for longer than the pleasures.

I was worried that the book would come across as a dire warning rather than a good read, but the story of Nikki's downward spiral is well told. There's no shortage, either, of help she could have taken advantage of, of ways that she could have helped herself, so the story is not as depressing as it might be. I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also appreciate Meet Me At The Boathouse by Suzanne Bugler, Miss Understanding: My Year in Agony by Lara Fox and Falling by Cat Clarke which is also dyslexia friendly.

Buy Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels at

Buy Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Courage to Change by Sylvie Nickels at


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