Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Never Enough by Denise Jaden

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Never Enough
Denise Jaden
Release date: July 10th 2012
by Simon Pulse


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?

*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster Canada for review purposes*
I can’t say that I know a whole lot about eating disorders, but this is not the first book I read in the matter so I know enough to realize it’s a very misunderstood disease. It’s a monster that takes over the body; an ugly, nasty monster that consumes it. Some people think they’re simply being selfish, wanting attention, or completely mad to continue eating habits that have a negative affect on their health to the point of no return, or death. But this is a real mental illness. It takes over your senses and your mind when it comes to body image. Denise Jaden’s Never Enough show us how eating disorders affect not only the person who’s ill, but the whole family as we go into this from the sister’s point of view.

Loann’s always been in her sister’s shadow: Her popular, pretty, talented sister. What she doesn’t know is how much her sister is suffering, too. Getting into this novel I could feel compassion for Loann from the moment I met her. Low self esteem is a problem that everyone encounters at one point or other in our lives. Consequently, it’ll be easy for a lot of readers to relate to her and understand how she feels. How she never seems to be good enough. Although shortsighted at times, it’s refreshing how she doesn’t become overly angsty because of these insecurities. In fact, she finds something she’s passionate about and puts her energy into it. Meeting a cute boy who seems to understand her sure helps her attitude as well. Loann is our lone narrator throughout. As the novel begins it’s primarily about her inner critic; her insecurities and lack of self worth. We get to know her on a personal level, building our connection with her. Soon, however, it changes into a story about the ones she loves: her friends and family. Which fits completely since she’s such a caring, selfless person.

The family dynamics in Never Enough are compelling and accurately portrayed for what I consider to be an average family who’s dealing with a serious, misconstrued illness. It constantly changes to reflect the discords and emotional turmoils they face. Some problems are rather cliché, like the absent father and overworked mother, but the emotional energy pouring out, from Loann and Claire’s relationship in particular, is terribly moving.

Subtle at best, the romance is more like a slow ripening friendship. Maybe a bit strange at first, they develop a meaningful connection where they seem to become each other’s support system. Marcus is a loner with a mysterious edge. You can tell he’s carrying a lot of weight, himself, making him hesitant to confide in Loann. For being a supporting role, I love how seamlessly his character falls into place with a meaningful part in the story, adding yet another layer.

In a novel full of unvarnished emotions and ugly truths, Never Enough’s focus on very real, very serious issues will easily get you sucked in. This is not a fun story, nor is it fluffy; it’s solemn and it’s rough. I highly recommend it for those who enjoys these types of weighty contemporary reads. 

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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40 Responses to “Review: Never Enough by Denise Jaden”

  1. Beverley

    I featured this book on my WoW post this week and your stunning review has deepened my interest in it. There’s a lack of YA books that feel with such weighty issues and I think I’d really enjoy this as I like books with less ‘perfect’ characters. I completely agree that we’re all hit with low self-esteem at least once or twice in our lives and it will be interesting for me to read more about eating disorders as I’m probably one of those who don’t realise that it’s actually a very severe mental illness.

    Thank you for the beautiful review, Giselle <3

  2. Natalie_vintage_girl

    I haven’t read too many weighty contmepory novels, but each one i have read I’ve enjoyed. This one sounds like a good read. I shall add it to my virtual tbr 🙂 great review!

  3. Jasprit

    Great review Giselle, I actually started this a week or so ago but I find it’s not really keeping my attention at the minute. But I will try and get back to it 🙂

  4. Nick

    The topic seems very interesting and I haven’t come across many books with that theme. It seems that it’s dealt with in an excellent way in the book. I can’t wait to read the book myself.
    I like when family dynamics are well written so I have a feeling I’ll enjoy it in this book.
    Lovely review, Giselle. 🙂

  5. Amy

    I have seen eating disorders first hand, so I know how difficult they can be for everyone involved. This sounds like a very deep and emotional story. It’s good that this book doesn’t gloss over how serious it can be. I would have to be in the right mood to read this, but I think I would really like it. Awesome review chick!!

  6. Hannah Doermann

    I loved this book so much! I actually loved how subtle the romance is, how it never takes center stage but is still definitely there and a part of what Loann’s going through. Glad you liked it too 🙂

  7. Jac

    Eating disorders are a scary fact of life, one that I think are seriously misunderstood, so I’m glad to hear that it sounds like this book gives a good portrayal.

    I think this one sounds like one of those books that I *need* to get my hands on, I love when the main character is visibly flawed in a way that makes them easy to relate too.

    Thanks, as always, for the great review!
    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  8. Ashley Prince @ The Bibliophile's Corner

    Sadly, I can say that I have dealt with eating disorders personally. Books like this normally bring up some painful memories, but memories that I think I need to remember. You descrivbed the story perfectly: solemn and rough. That’s how a person with an eating disorder feels. And they also feel like it’s ‘never enough.’

    There are actually a lot more weighty contemporary novels that deal with eating disorders than people realize. I think it probably has to do with the fact that people don’t actively search for them because let’s be honest, they are brutal to read. They are painful.

    Great review, Giselle. I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

  9. Alexa

    A contemporary that deals with such difficult issues is always good for a read. It offers up a great perspective, and this sounds really good.

  10. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I’m not always a fan of disorder books (preferring light and fluffy…) but this one sounds really good. I like when there’s a friendship that develops into something more. 🙂

  11. A Canadian Girl

    Weird; for some reason I didn’t realize this one featured an eating disorder. I love reading stories about mental illnesses so I’ll definitely be checking it out. It sounds well done, too. Great review, Giselle!

  12. Katie @ BlookGirl

    Great review, love. I saw this on GR the other day and was hoping one of my friends had read and reviewed it.

    Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders are certainly REAL illnesses and it’s nice to see YA novels that address this. There are so many girls out there that need to know someone understands them and that they’re not alone.

    I’ll definitely be giving this book a read and passing it along to my niece

  13. Kris (Imaginary Reads)

    I’ve been on the lookout for this book, and after your review, I really want to read it! I love how the story explores change happening in an ordinary family and how the romance is slow to play out. Mostly, I’ve been reading books with fast-paced romanceand where the family is rarely developed in full, so this book will be a nice, different read 🙂

  14. tigerlilyrachel

    I’ve read a lot of books dealing with this theme, some done well, others not as well. Your review definitely sounds like this is one of those that pull it off. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of this!

  15. Aneeqah

    I love how this book sounds like such a deep and emotional read. To be honest, I hadn’t really heard of this book before reading your review, Giselle, but I’m definitely going to be checking it out now! I feel like eating disorders are so often overlooked, and they’re so frowned upon in our world. So it’s great to hear that this book deals with eating disorders. I’m definitely going to have to pick this one up!

    Great review, Giselle! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  16. Sam

    A weighty contemporary read is not something I would usually be drawn to, but this does sound like a good book. I imagine it’s not one you would forget very easily. Great review, Giselle! 🙂

  17. Addie R.

    This seems so much more intense than I thought it would be, and that makes me want it even more. I agree that most people misunderstand eating disorders, I don’t have any experience with it but I know people who have. Great review Giselle:)

  18. Tabitha

    I’ve never read a book that features an eating disorder, so this will be an interesting read once I get it. Your review has definitely convinced me to give this book a chance.

    Fantastic review!

  19. Shooting Stars Mag

    I do love these types of books. I’m fascinated by all the things that people go through…from suicide to depression to yes, eating disorders. I loved Wintergirls about the topic and this sounds like a unique perspective, coming from sister’s point of view. I like family books as well. Glad you enjoyed this one!


  20. ❤ Vivian

    Wow. Also a weighty review, yet super good Giselle -nods and applauds- I really liked that this book made you feel for the characters so early ahead. That sounds like a promising read. <3 I could use a rough read these days…. great review! ^_^

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  21. ❤ Vivian

    Wow. Also a weighty review, yet super good Giselle -nods and applauds- I really liked that this book made you feel for the characters so early ahead. That sounds like a promising read. <3 I could use a rough read these days…. great review! ^_^

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  22. ❤ Vivian

    Wow. Also a weighty review, yet super good Giselle -nods and applauds- I really liked that this book made you feel for the characters so early ahead. That sounds like a promising read. <3 I could use a rough read these days…. great review! ^_^

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  23. ❤ Vivian

    Wow. Also a weighty review, yet super good Giselle -nods and applauds- I really liked that this book made you feel for the characters so early ahead. That sounds like a promising read. <3 I could use a rough read these days…. great review! ^_^

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  24. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    I’ve kind of been on the fence about this one, because it seems like that contemporary read that could be TOTALLY overwhelming. But after reading your review, it seems like the author may have found a really great balance!

    I also love the idea of the relationship that is romantic but isn’t that instant be-all/end-all romance. I love it when two people are attracted but the author plays it out slowly and organically. YAY!

  25. Camille Picott

    Wow, this novel sounds like it’s well done! I remember in junior high and high school getting a lot of lectures on eating disorders, since it’s so prevalent among teens.

    Great review, thanks for sharing!

  26. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I’m really excited to read this one as I think it will hit home for reasons I’ve told you in private. I think this is a great review and it makes me think that I will get everything I’m looking for out of this novel and not feel let down. Can’t wait to get it!

  27. Candace

    I really love Denise Jaden so I’m super excited for this one. I’m happy to hear that it really is very good though. Thanks for the awesome review!

  28. Danny

    Unfortunately I had someone in the family with an eating disorder ..and it’s horrible. For both the sick person and the family…
    Books like this are important and I’m happy to see you liked it!

  29. Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan

    “Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister”, this doesn’t sound like its describing the caring, selfless character that you found inside the book. Sometimes I find blurbs can be totally off. I’m not a big fan of contemporary novels and less so with meaningful issues as I like to read to escape realism (hence my love of paranormal). Great review Giselle.

  30. Meg K.

    NEVER ENOUGH sounds like a great read! Loann sounds like an extremely nice girl, and I think it’d be really interesting to read about a girl’s eating disorder from the eyes of her sister. I might check out this book once it’s out.

    Lovely review, Giselle. 🙂

  31. Giselle

    @Suzanne: Haha yeah you’re right! I mean she does have her selfish moments because of her insecurities, but she recognizes these and hates herself for it afterwards. I found that overall, at the end of the day she cares a LOT about her friends and sister and will do everything to try to save them. She’s selfless at heart regardless of her weak moments is how I should describe it I guess 🙂

    Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone!

  32. Mel - Thedailyprophecy.

    I think it’s really interesting to read a book about the impact of an eating disorder. Most of the time, it’s told from the POV of the girl with the eating disorder, but this sounds good.

  33. Ikhlas

    This sounds like a really interesting read, Giselle! The tone reminds me a bit of Sarah Dessen’s work.

    Can’t wait to pick this up!

  34. Christina

    Very nice review, Giselle. I really love the weighty contemps (my favorite kind of contemporary for sure), and I thought this one was simply stellar. I felt SO MANY EMOTIONS as I read this.

    I really love the way you described the romance in the book, because it perfectly captures what happened there. It was so refreshing, and so true to life.