Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Switch Press
Publication Date: August 1st 2016
2 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Chelsea is fat, it’s not all she is but it might as well be. No one knows that Chelsea loves musicals or has the most beautiful feet in the world all they see is fat, fat, fat. Chelsea endures daily bullying but when one bully takes things too far she’s not sure she’ll be able to last much longer.
I just want to start this review by saying that body positivity is good. Everyone deserves to see themselves in fiction. However, a fat protagonist is not enough to make a book good. Nice Girls Endure has a very clear message, but it reads more like propaganda than an enjoyable novel. While it’s message is admirable, it largely failed to be something worth reading.
The main issue with this book is the characters. The bullies are vicious and vile, and that’s it. In real life, bullies are people, anyone can be a bully, but in Chelsea’s world bullies are monsters with no life outside bullying. Similarly the people Chelsea is fond of are only good. Any “flaws” the good characters have are quirky or charming. The conflict is written as so black and white it’s painful. Bad guys should never be written so cartoonishly if the goal isn’t comedy. Readers still would have understood that the bullies were in the wrong had they been realistic.
The writing style doesn’t help much. The beginning is slow and choppy. The narrator is just relating past experiences and even later in the book has oddly placed flashbacks. It makes the timeline rather confusing since the flashbacks can happen so suddenly without explanation. The ending fell flat. Chelsea doesn’t really solve any of her issues aside from anxiety. She just accepts what has happened to her and she’s fine with it. She’s spent the entire book hating herself, hating everyone around her and a pill solves all the problems she’s interested in solving.
While medication can definitely help people it’s not really a satisfying conclusion for a book that was aiming to be extremely dramatic.