ARC Review : Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

27178702Title : Nice Girls Endure

Author : Chris Struyk-Bonn

Publisher : Switch Press

Release date : August 1st, 2016

Rating : 2.3/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads) :

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. A must-read for anyone who loves to explore the personal but powerful territory of everyday life.

Review :

I would first like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-galley of this book!

I have many mixed feelings about Nice Girls Endure. Overall, it deserved a solid “okay” from me.

The book first attracted my attention because the protagonist is called Chelsea, just like me! So, of course, I was expecting a lively and awesome character (hehe). Too bad that wasn’t what I got. Chelsea is… not whiny, exactly. On first impression, she’s just relating the hardships she goes through because of her weight, and how she feels toward herself afterward. But as I progressed through my reading, I realized that Chelsea blames everyone for her discomfort, even if they didn’t do anything against her. As soon as she’s uneasy with something, she thinks it is someone else’s fault to have put her in this situation in the first place.

She’s unhappy with her situation, but doesn’t stand up for herself. Like she said, everyone has their own approach to the world. Hers just doesn’t agree with me, and it got on my nerves from time to time. Her kind of passive attitude only managed to bore me and frustrate me throughout the book. She literally just smiles at her tormentors and shyly moves away. For real, she mentions her safe and practiced smile so often, I low-key had the urge to slap it off of her face.

She says she loves herself the way she is, and that’s awesome. Her belief is that the world itself should change its views on weight, and I totally agree with her, but she still lets her way of life be controlled by others around her. And there’s a flagrant contradiction amidst her opinions: She’s all about her feet, and singing. Honey, you don’t win people over with your feet. Granted, not with your weight or looks either; you win them with your personality. If she wants people to look past her body, she shouldn’t focus on a part of her body either. Unfortunately, her personality isn’t that great either: passive and distant and almost reclusive.

Also, another contradiction: if she loves the way she is, why is she still obviously ashamed of herself? For example, she gets anxiety when the teacher says the students would have to film themselves for a project. She’s so afraid of appearing on camera and showing her “flaws” to everyone that she gets rashes. So, where’s the truth? Yes, society has made her be ashamed of herself, and it’s really too bad, but I didn’t want to read about a girl who got beat up by the world and who, truthfully, couldn’t rise above it… until she got the help of pills. The yellow pills.

Nice Girls Endure brings up real questions and concerns about bullying and weight, but I dislike the fact that Chelsea had to start taking pills in order to gain confidence and confront her bullies. I understand that not everyone deals with these issues in the same way, but to have a book entirely dedicated to such a message? Nah, not for me. I’m a firm believer that pills are last resort only, if there’s no other way to fix a problem. And here, Chelsea had many opportunities to do so, but she turned to the pills.

Meredith, Chelsea’s friend, is a real gem, though. She’s really adorable and active (well, she’s hyperactive), and she really outshines Chelsea. She’s the real pleasure I got from the book.

I don’t think this book handled well the bullying, but the ending was a very nice idea. If we forget that Chelsea’s leaning on the pills, the ending showed a great way to stand up to bullies. So, that was nice. The lasting good feeling I got from the book ending convinced me to give it 2.3/5 instead of 2/5.

Picture sources : 1, 2


3 thoughts on “ARC Review : Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

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