Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

BOOK REVIEW: “Nice Girls Endure” by Chris Struyk-Bonn

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-BonnChelsea Duvay is a high school student who prides herself on her perfectly manicured feet and musical repertoire, but is also quiet and isolated, opting to spend her free time watching musicals with her father. Not having friends isn’t her choice– it’s just what happened because it seems that the only thing people notice about her is her weight. She is mercilessly taunted by her classmates and made to feel abnormal and shamed by her own mother. So she’s learned to live with her head down, not speaking unless absolutely necessary, finding solace in loneliness. At the start of a new school year, Chelsea is forced to face herself and her lack of self confidence when a new friendship, new bullies, and new weight concerns enter into her life.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book. My friend Sara recommended it to me, so I decided to give it a go. I ended up enjoying it for the most part– there were some definite holes in the plot line and aspects that bothered me, but overall it was a quick, touching read that I finished in one sitting.

Pros:

  • The character development: The protagonist, Chelsea, is loveable and endearing and grows immensely throughout the course of the book. I felt my heart soar when she was happy and come to a halt when she was put in some awful situations. But she grew into a character that I know will stay with me for a long time. Not only did the protagonist find growth, but so did the other side characters– for example, her mother and her new friend Melody both found profound growth within the novel.
  • Touching on sensitive topics: Nice Girls Endure touched on some incredibly serious issues– body image, bullying, and assault (more on the topic of assault in the Cons section). The writing didn’t sugar-coat anything and put words to what so many teenagers (and hell, even adults) have to endure daily.
  • Fast-paced, riveting writing: As I previously noted, I finished this book in one sitting, which is quite out of the normal for me. The writing engaged me in a way that made me feel as though I needed to find out what was going to happen!

Cons:

  • Lack of trigger warnings: A fairly graphic assault occurred within this book, but was not alluded to in the description of the book. When I got to this part, I was completely thrown off-guard and thrown into a bit of a PTSD episode from my own assault. Had I known that an assault of some sort would have occurred within the book, I would have been prepared and would not have had such a harmful reaction. I posted about this on Twitter and got a lot of great responses about how books should include trigger warnings. So, if you’re planning on reading this book, know that it deals with assault and sexual violence.
  • Psychiatric medication inaccurately used as a quick fix. Won’t get into detail about this because of spoilers, but you’ll understand when you get to that point in the book.
  • Too fast to truly get to the core of the serious issues it touches on: While I listed touching on important issues and its quick nature as Pros in the previous section, both aspects together turned me off quite a bit from this book. Because it was so short, there seemed to be a rush towards the end to tie up the loose ends without actually giving the issues and plot the time they deserved.

Overall, a fast-paced, enjoyable read. That being said, the cons definitely affected my rating on this one.

3 Stars

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Question of the Day: Do you think books should have trigger warnings? Why or why not?

That’s it for now! Be sure to answer the Question of the Day in the comments below– I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,
Abby

Note: I was given a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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