Friday, July 6, 2012

Never Enough

Never Enough by Denise Jaden
4/5 stars
Simon Pulse, 2012
375 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received an e-galley via Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab Program (RIP).

I didn't know much about this book before starting it other than being familiar with Denise Jaden's work from her debut Losing Faith, which I read as part of The Contemps Challenge. My favorite part of that book was anticipating the relationship between sisters and I was pleased to see that sisters were also in this book. I wondered what the relationship would be like here.

And wow did we get a doozy of a relationship in this book, told from the perspective of Loann who is constantly unable to measure up to her beautiful popular sister Claire, making the title poignantly fitting even from the beginning. However as the book progresses we see more of Claire's perspective as well as a friend of Loann's, both of whom also live up to that title in absolutely heartbreaking ways.

But before we get to that good stuff, there was the choppy beginning. I felt very much in a daze and prepared for one kind of story based on the beginning. That story had more about friendship with one of Loann's friends stabbing her in the back and acting bizarrely cruel-the worst aspects of high school. Happily that passed and Loann begins to develop a friendship with loner Marcus, who I just adored.  As mentioned, his backstory and the ways he feels he is not enough are sad and we are teased with those details before they all spill out while also showing the many good things he tries to do. I really loved Marcus-he was a stupendous book boy!

The other element of note in my opinion is that of the relationship between sisters, always complicated, rarely easy (at least in my experience). Claire is the golden girl who has the world at her feet until she delays going to college and seems to throw herself into ballet, into work, into anything but confronting her dwindling frame. Meanwhile Loann, while never popular, has her strong friendship with Marcus and is the first to notice that something is not right with Claire, attempting to bring it to their parents' attention with lackluster results. The way Claire's eating disorder ends up consuming the family adds to the sadness. However I never felt overwhelmingly sad while reading this (which has happened to me while reading some books); I guess because I still felt some hope for the future and there were elements of humor along the way.

Overall: I was very thrown by the beginning but soon settled into the meat of the story, wiling away a pleasant afternoon with this book.

Cover: The girl looks pretty wistful as she contemplates the ways she can't measure up.


  1. So glad that once you got past the choppy beginning, things evened out and this became a really strong story! Plus, it sounds like this book gives us an excellent fictional boy in Marcus, I'm kind of a fan of him already:) Looking forward to reading this one!

  2. Yay for a wonderful sister book! I love them almost as much as you do :) Sister relations are definitely complicated and not easy, but I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I know what it's like to have expectations hanging above your head and being afraid that you won't be able to live up to them, so I think I'll be able to relate to this book easily. That, and Marcus sounds really awesome! ;)

    Wonderful review, B! Will be reading this book for sure -- it sounds like a contemp I'd actually really love! :) <3

  3. So desperate to get my hands on this. I love reading about sister relationships too - especially if they're really complicated. I'm already in love with Marcus - he sounds lovely <3 And there's hardly any YA fiction that focusses on eating disorders so I'm very eager to read it - it sounds like a very heavy, emotional read!

    Fab review <3

  4. I think that Marcus really made the story stand out.
    It was powerful the family dynamics too.
    thanks for review.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. I'm glad I read your review. I tried to start this yesterday and thought I had beach brain -- I just couldn't get into it. But if you say the beginning is choppy, I 'm going to try again. I love loner characters!

  6. I'm very excited to read this, but now I know to be prepared if I'm not quite loving the beginning. I'm glad it ended up being good though! I really enjoyed Losing Faith.


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