This book checked all three boxes! Originally I wanted to give it a full five stars, but after thinking it over and actually doing a thorough review, I realized I had a bit of an issue with the largely Catholic influence in the religious area, and had to dock one star because I disagreed with the teaching. Let’s keep going with the rest of the review!
TRIGGER WARNING: This book is very real and raw when discussing Mel’s eating disorder. Use your own discernment if this is something you’re ok with reading. Please don’t risk triggering yourself!
Mel was amazing. Her pitiful attitude while she knew was pitiful entertained me so much. Her dramatic take on life and just expressing exactly how she felt was so fun. I really enjoyed reading her story from her POV. Also I really enjoyed the fact that there was only one POV because I was getting tired of being tossed around back and forth between characters.
Alex was everything I wanted Alex to be. It reminded me of a book called The Raft, but this one was much less dreary in the ending. XD His personality was enjoyable and his take on life complemented Mel really well. And I was impressed with their relationship and the way the author handled that. It was complicated. But it wasn’t over complicated that it was beyond repair. And yet the repair would be a journey… just like the rest of the story.
I loooooved the plot. I feel like this author knew where she was going with her story and the point, not just the end point, but what she wanted the reader to grasp along the journey. It was so well done. Mel’s road to recovery was hard and broken and not pretty, but it was exactly that. A journey. The author did so well making sure that Mel didn’t jump from progress to progress but instead was realistically inspired and uninspired. Just like in real life.
I love that the story didn’t hide the depth of the disaster that Mel was. And I enjoyed reading about the fact that Mel was so very average. And yet had so much potential. One of my favorite parts was when she talked to another character, and that character pointed out that we need to look OUTSIDE ourselves, instead to ourselves, to make a difference.
*The spiritual journey on this particular plot was slightly confusing. It was very much a journey of self re-discovery, learning to forgive herself and others, and also trying to untangle who God really was. I felt like there could have been more to this part of the story, but that was a personal opinion. As much as I believe with my whole heart that Jesus is the answer to our problems, I know from experience that Jesus can be our everything, and we still need practical help from people and things around us. So it was very realistic and true to life. I just wish there was a little MORE of Him in her life.
This is a new section I’m adding to my reviews as I have come to realize it’s necessary when reviewing a book. The settings of a book can make or break the enjoyment of the experiences.
This book had a beautiful setting. Traveling on foot across the norther US will do that to you. The author had a gift for describing the beauty of nature and the trees and fields and rivers and rain and not getting on my nerves at the repetitive nature. It was so good! So muddy and smelly and stunning and majestic and exhausting and real.
There wasn’t much inappropriate content in this book. There is one scene where Mel goes to a nude hot spring, but it’s not inappropriate. She also gets her period at one point and talks about it. There are two kisses, but neither were bad.
As mentioned in the trigger warning, this book has a lot to do with Mel’s eating disorder. It’s not smoothed over or hidden how much she struggles with this, and she is pretty malnourished in the book. She makes a habit of assessing other people’s bodies and comparing herself and obsessing over her own size. The journey is amazing and miraculous, and the best part is that it is a journey. Not a flash of epiphany and she’s fixed. It’s REAL broken life.
I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book to my friends. Personally, they would have to be fairly mature in their own Christian walks for me to recommend it. *There was a loooot of Catholic influence. I would almost venture to assume the author was raised/is Catholic? There is a portion of the story where Mel’s says she was put into a secular christian school, and she didn’t like the hypocrisy and shallow light show, catchy music of it all. And I do agree with the author there! But Mel proceeded to say when she walked into the grandeur of the Catholic Church, she could feel God there among the good deeds of people immortalized by statues and glass windows and paintings etc. I definitely have an issue with the Catholic religion. So it was complicated.
The real life struggle and raw brokenness of the story made me appreciate it and I would love to come back and read it again. Four stars for me!
Thank you to Revell and the author for a free copy of this book. A positive review was not required and all opinions stated here are my own.