Saturday 21 November 2015

REVIEW; Young Annabelle, by Sarah Tork


Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Drama

Recommend: Yes



Annabelle is over 160 pounds and her mother doesn't let her forget it. Controlling her meals and watching the amount of calories she burns, Annabelle can't escape the constant reminder of not being good enough by being judged by her weight. 

Then she meets James; he sees nothing wrong with how she looks and doesn't try to hide how he feels for her. 

But no matter what he does, Annabelle can't let him in and constantly chooses to see him as a typical popular player. Can she possibly win him for good, as she battles every day with her body and her family to try and win the prize of being loved?

My Thoughts:

Annabelle: I often find it hard now to read stories with characters a few years younger than me, as I can often find them being immature as I subconsciously compare them to me currently. But even trying to think back to when I was 17, and how my friends acted, I really think she was quite childish still. She did put up with a lot from her control freak mother and horrible family, so I understand her want to lash out. But she needed a kick up the ass to just stand up for herself. She had no problem with being rude to James all the time, so I fail to see why this attitude wasn't integral to her persona and it infiltrate all of her relationships.

James: Meh. I liked the banter between the two, but he was annoying. He lead Annabelle on completely and really was up his own. I don't think we got enough insight into his character to be able to see why Annabelle fell for him, so it felt like it was all just her wanting to be accepted more than down to James himself. He didn't make an effort with Annabelle but just spontaneously appeared as it suited him and expected her to be chill with it all ~ he didn't speak to her for 2 weeks as his phone broke... but yet he knew where she lived and it was supposedly close by. If he really cared he would've dropped by to tell her.

Story: I really was disappointed with the content in this. From reading the blurb of the book, I expected the majority of the story to take place when Annabelle had actually returned to high school, but in fact out of 6 weeks, only one day was set in the new school year. I liked the idea behind it all though, but am put off that the first book actually had so little in the story. I was expecting a lot more and had it read in well under 3 hours and it felt like I'd just read a few chapters. But oh well. 

Theme: I'm a huge fan of how influential authors can be and them recognising this fact and not abusing this power. Writing a story involving self-image issues and weight needs to be executed in a careful manner as it's an issue nearly every young-adult/teen experiences growing up. Annabelle wasn't at an outrageous weight that required a diet or such drastic reaction to by her parents. She was described as having a round belly and love handles etc, (pretty normal) but it was clear she was self conscious about this part of her body, regardless of the number on the scales. THIS IS WHAT SHOULD'VE BEEN THE FOCUS! Instead of fighting against her mother about what she ate, there should have been more discussion over her self image issues- what she was conscious about, ~ like pulling her cardigan down so she could breathe out and keep her tummy hidden ~ the little things she did to battle her insecurities that the reader could relate to and James/Jenna whoever reassuring her (the reader too maybe) that there was nothing wrong with her body. Of course, keep the horrible mother character as the bully and the catalyst for feeling so awful, but there needed to be a balance as I felt there were things that weren't addressed that should've been in this theme. There was no element of self love, and I don't mean it should be promoting being unhealthy and taking the attitude of "I love myself so I don't care" but rather not having to be a certain number on the scales or not have an ounce of "wobble" to be considered healthy. I'm not overweight or fat etc, whatever word you want to use, and I am healthy, but it took me years to be able to focus on being healthy rather than being a certain size and this needed to be really incorporated into the story to really hit home the theme in this... *deep breath*


Okaayyyyyy. So, after all that, I do recommend this! It's a light read and definitely suitable for YA's out there. The writing is good and there's a good pace to everything as the story does move along quite well. I'm reading the second book straight after this so maybe certain issues are addressed in that, however I do believe it would've been better if this first book had more substance to it.

Amazon UK