Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Never Enough by Denise Jaden

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: July 10th, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 400 pgs
ISBN: 9781442429079
Source: Given to me by publisher for an honest review

Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?

My Review: 

This book is such a touching story and I don't even know where to begin with my review.  I sat on this one for a few days because I really don't know how to do this book justice.  This book is about two sisters trying to navigate through their teenage years.  We all know that being a teen is never easy and that there are many issues of self esteem that come into play.  The title Never Enough sums it up pretty well I think.  We are always thinking that something is never good enough in comparison to someone or something else.  

In this novel, Loann feels like she will never measure up to the ideal that has been set by her sister.  She is trying to deal with some pretty outspoken and, quite frankly, mean friends while trying to make new friends that she can talk to.  She is also struggling with boys.  She wants to fit in and part of that is trying to fit in with the popular boys and this can be to the detriment of her relationship with someone else. It was so difficult reading about Loann at times because I can remember being this awkward and always wanting to fit in.  My adult self, at times just wanted to yell at her and tell her that she doesn't need those people in her life.  They will only drag her down and while it may feel like the worst thing in the world at the time, in the long run it would be much better to try to ignore some of the things going on around her.  I did like how, while Loann struggles to fit in, she does retain a good sense of self.  She stumbles along the way but she still remains her quirky self. 

The other sister in this book, Claire, struggles with issues of never being skinny enough and this translates into an eating disorder.  The parts with Claire in it were so difficult to read.  It was heart wrenching to see how someone can waste away to nothing when you know that the issue is all in their head.  Growing up I had a friend who was anorexic/bullemic and it was difficult to watch her shrink every day and having her think that she still wasn't skinny enough.  This was when the internet wasn't as available as it is today and when I read about the different websites geared towards people who have an eating disorder I couldn't believe how easy it would be to be sucked right back into it by reading some of the posts.  I also can't imagine how someone's parents could deal with this.  Do you push your child to eat or do you try to be comforting about it.  You don't want to go too far one way because it could exacerbate the problem.  I just found the writing of these situations in the book were raw and it didn't gloss over a very serious issue.  I commend Jaden for writing about eating disorders in such a way because it really makes you think about the seriousness of the situation.  

Overall, I loved the writing style of this book and I loved the subject matter.  I liked how the focus wasn't entirely on the eating disorder but also on the fact that Loann had some self-esteem issues to work out too.  It was an exceptional read and I give the book 5 out of 5 stars.  It definitely had me crying in a few parts and I think that we can all see a little bit of our teenage selves in this book.  I would recommend picking it up right away and giving it a read. 

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