Title: Never Enough
Author: Denise Jaden
Date(s) read: February 3 – 5, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Sarah @ Breaking the Binding (Paperback)
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?
I’m not sure why I feel so drawn to books about eating disorders. Maybe it’s because I can go between eating properly and eating poorly many times throughout a week. Maybe because I know what it’s like to not be content about one’s body. Of course, I’ve never really had a major disorder, but I do have a love-hate relationship with food.
But this book? Well, when I finished it I really had no idea what to think. I had some major issues along the way, with certain scenes, with certain characters, with the book in general, that I had to go back and look through some of the 5-star ratings to see why people loved this book so much because, frankly, I didn’t find myself in that category.
Really, it’s not because of the hard issues in the book. It’s not a happy book by any means, but I felt like there was just too much going on. Is it a book about a boy who has a rough home life? Is it a book about an eating disorder? Is it a book about a girl who makes bad life decisions and sleeps with the wrong guy? Is it a book about falling in love with your best friend? Is it a book about parents who are ripped apart? In the end, it was a book about all of these things and I’m just not sure whether they all worked together. For me, I wanted a book about the eating disorder — I wanted it to be about Loanne’s family, with her sister, and her parents, and maybe a friendship gained along the way, but to have all of the other things going on made the book more of a tedious read than it should have been.
I’d also like to say something about the characters, that I liked them or disliked them, but that was a hard thing for me to judge as well. With Loanne, I really didn’t like her. She was constantly thinking that everything revolved around her, that one mistake suddenly made her “easy” and that all the boys in the school suddenly wanted in her pants. All of the home life issues seemed to revolve around her, even with her sister slowly descending into an eating disorder. Even the end of the book revolved around Loanne and I completely disagreed with a lot of the things that happened in the end (which I don’t want to ruin) — to me, it felt just wrong.
Now, Loanne’s sister, on the other hand, I wanted to get to know her better. All of the other books about eating disorders I’ve read in the past are usually in the POV of the one WITH the disorder, so I wanted to get into Claire’s head and see what was going on. Maybe an alternating chapter with her thoughts would have been nice, rather than having ALL THE OTHER THINGS going on in Loanne’s life that just didn’t seem related to the eating disorder part of the book. I felt like Loanne’s world seemed to revolve around her, even when it shouldn’t have, and it would’ve been nice to have ANOTHER narrator tell the story how it should’ve been told.
So, in the end, I’m still not sure what to think. I’d mark this book as one of those middle of the road books that I can’t see myself rereading just because it was long, Loanne really wasn’t a great character, and I felt like the resolution in the end wasn’t the resolution I was hoping for. A book like this should bring people together, not tear them apart, and I felt like there were just too many wrong decisions made to make this a good read for me.