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The 52 Book Club's Reading Challenge 2022

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Friday, September 28, 2012

YA Issue Novel Another Didn't Love It, Didn't Hate It Kind of Book

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If 16-year-old Loann Rochester could have any wish, it would be this—to trade lives with her older sister.  Why?  Because Claire is everything Loann's not.  She's tall, thin, beautiful, smart and popular.  To walk in her shoes, even for a day, would be to know total perfection, absolute happiness.  If only.  Since wishes never come true outside of fairy tales, Loann's stuck with her own life as a short, plump, red-haired nobody. She might as well be invisible.  With Claire around, no one will ever notice Loann.

Except someone is noticing.  Unless Loann's completely delusional (which is entirely possible), gorgeous Josh Garrison is noticing. Which would be incredible, if he wasn't Claire's boyfriend.  And that's another thing—what's up with Claire?  She's acting distant and secretive, even from Josh and her other friends.  Loann's already got her own friend drama as well as some boy drama and even some drama drama to deal with, she's not sure she can handle sister drama, too.  But as Loann makes a disturbing discovery about where Claire's all-consuming quest for perfection has led her, she realizes that Claire's in serious trouble.  Life or death trouble.  And Claire seems hell-bent on choosing the latter.  As Loann tries to save her sister, she'll have to come to terms with her own limitations and rely on an inner strength she never knew she had.

Never Enough, a sophomore novel by contemporary YA author Denise Jaden, is pretty much what you'd expect from a teen issue novel.  It tells a story that's affecting and believable, even if it's one you've heard a million times before.  While I didn't find either Loann or Claire to be particularly memorable as characters, I definitely felt the strength of their bond as sisters.  Since that relationship formed the heart of the book, everything else in the novel felt authentic to me.  Still, Never Enough didn't have enough originality to really wow me.  Overall, I thought it was just okay, one of those didn't-love-it-didn't-hate-it kind of reads.         

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Saving Ruth by Zoe Fishman and Purge by Sarah Darer Littman)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG-13 for language (no F-bombs), sexual content and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Never Enough from the generous Denise Jaden.  Thank you!   
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Farm to Trouble by Amanda Flower

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The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs



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