Book Review: Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn (ARC)

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Publisher: Switch Press

Date of Publication: August 1

Dates Read: July 4 – July 7 2016

Description:

Chelsea Duvay is so many things.

She’s an avid musical lover, she s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea s weight. Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through.

Don’t make waves. Don’t draw attention. That’s how life is for Chelsea until a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea’s world. As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life.

But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve. Readers will be captivated by Chelsea’s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think.

Buy It From: Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from Switch Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Real rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This book ended up being so much more than I expected it to be.

Like a lot of other readers, it was nice to read a body-positive book. Chelsea Duvay is such a wonderful character, who has her quirks and flaws and talents but is ultimately such a sweetheart, and I wanted to protect her at all costs. A well rounded, realistic character, for sure.

One of my favourite parts of this book was just the way Struyk-Bonn wrote Chelsea’s voice. There was a young, funny quality to it, which made the story fun to read and easy to pay attention to. Some of the chapters were short and some were long, which is my personal favourite way to lay out chapters – it adds more variation to the story, makes it less dull and monotonous.

I also just absolutely love how much love she has for her father, and vice versa. He’s so supportive of her and it just made my heart so happy to see how much he meant to her.

The plot itself was also really well done. There is a bit of romance in this book, but it’s not overpowering and really only starts appearing closer to the end.

It really is focused on Chelsea’s whole life: at home and at school, the things she loves and the things she has a hard time with, her crushes and friendships and familial relationships. It even touches upon topics like anxiety, sexual harassment, and victim shaming.

It wasn’t always easy to read certain parts of Chelsea’s journey, but it just made the story hit harder.

The only kind of negative thing I could think to say is: while reading this book, I realized that I don’t particularly like it when a character’s exact weight is revealed, especially if they’re supposed to be an overweight character. In this case, I have almost the exact same dimensions as this character – just 2 inches taller, but the same weight. I’ve never been told by doctors that I’m overweight, and this character was told by her doctor that in order to be healthy she’d have to grow 6 inches, so that kind of bothered me. Maybe it was meant to show just how closed-minded those around Chelsea were for considering her overweight, or maybe I’m just not factoring in the age difference between us. In any case, I don’t think giving her exact weight is absolutely necessary to move the story forward.

Other than that, this was truly such a wonderful story that blew me away by how well it was written. It was deeply emotional, touching, and I’m glad that I read it.

Overall: Despite the missing half star I do believe that everybody should read Nice Girls Endure.

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