Author: Chris Stuyk-Bonn
Publisher: Capstone/Switch Press
Published Date: August 1st 2016
Genre: Realistic Fiction, YA
Page Count:256 pages
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
"This is not for me. I am not disheveled and frumpy. I am not the woman in the picture- my life is not controlled by my weight. I know what I want to do with my life, where I want to go, what i want to accomplish. I don't need this."
Chelsea is a girl who tries to go through life, just trying to stay hidden from everyone else. She does what others want her to do and expect of her for the most part. She’s nice when she needs to be and keeps quite; she doesn’t cause trouble or talk back and doesn’t defend herself when others make fun of her because of her weight. She is a nice girl, and because of this she is also an easy target to everyone with a strong personality.
She doesn’t have any friends at school, and at home she is close to her dad who is heavier just like she is. Together they watch musicals and are extremely similar. He always supports her decision to open a store after college and own her own business. He even tells her that he’s counting on her to do those things. Then we have her mom, who is thin and a control freak. After a doctor’s appointment she even tries to control Chelsea’s eating habits, but instead she goes about it in the wrong way and ends up doing more harm than good.
One day in film class though Chelsea’s world gets turned around when she is forced to partner up with the girl behind her named Melody. Melody is hyper and outgoing and dresses different every day. She is also one of the best things to ever happen to Chelsea because she helps her get confidence and see that she can be so much more than just a nice girl and endure what everyone says about her. The friendship between these two is one of my favorites now. Yeah Melody talks enough for both of them, but she also encourages Chelsea to not let what others think of her control her, or to let it stop her from doing what she wants to. She’s their even when Chelsea doesn’t want her to be and stands her ground in order to make Chelsea leave the house and start living again.
"People should look up and down. They should notice everything, even little details, not just first impression. If other people can't see you for who you really are, then you don't need them."
Nice girls endure talks about so many more issues than I thought it would. It deals with weight, anxiety, bullying, shaming. It deals with trying to get through high school so you can get to the rest of your life and how being a certain weight doesn’t make you not have hopes and dreams like anyone else. It deals with how weight in a way seems to rule society and how we are all looked at because of it.
"Where is the occupation for overweight woman? Where is it okay for large women to be really good at, well, being large? The places where women might gain an iota of benefit for being large is in comedy. Or maybe in movies. What kind of choices are those? Large women are good for one thing, apparently: making people laugh. No respect is given to them at all. When men throw their weight around people cheer. Equality of the sexes has not reached all comers."
I loved how this book dealt with all of those things. How it didn’t shy away from topics that are usually only briefly mentioned. It ran with them and incorporated them all in a way that was painfully realistic at times. It made you think about how others felt and how you feel about those topics and made you re-think them when you saw a different side. I will constantly recommend this for everyone to read and encourage them to do so because, it’s important. This book is so important for many different reason, that if only you take one things away from it I hope it’s that everyone has a story different from the one that is made up for them by others.
This is a book that I have thought about every day since I read it and I am sure will continue to think about. The characters in this book show what the real world is really like, how cruel people can be and how nice others. It shows how you can’t let what others think of you and say about you stop you from doing what you want in life and how you can show others that you’re different from the image they have of you.
"Always look up, Chelsea. Hold your head high."
There is one scene in this book, that was really hard to read and if you’re sensitive to rape and physical abuse then I suggest skipping the dance part. Another hand part to read was when her mom took her to a meeting to help her lose weight and then tried to control and shames her with her eating habits.
Thank you to Netgalley and Capstone/Switch Press for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.