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Equilibrium. That’s what Stacey and Calvin found in each other. He is as solid as his beloved vintage motorcycle and helps quiet the constant clamor in Stacey’s mind. She is a passionate, creative spirit—and a lifeline after Calvin’s soldier brother dies.
But lately the balance is off. Calvin’s grief is taking new forms. Voices of self-loathing are dominating Stacey’s life. When struggles with body image threaten her health, Calvin can’t bear to lose another person that he ...
Equilibrium. That’s what Stacey and Calvin found in each other. He is as solid as his beloved vintage motorcycle and helps quiet the constant clamor in Stacey’s mind. She is a passionate, creative spirit—and a lifeline after Calvin’s soldier brother dies.
But lately the balance is off. Calvin’s grief is taking new forms. Voices of self-loathing are dominating Stacey’s life. When struggles with body image threaten her health, Calvin can’t bear to lose another person that he loves. Taking action may destroy their relationship, but the alternative could be much more costly.
That flag—folded in a triangle, framed in a box, and displayed on the mantle—drew Calvin's eyes like an intruder in the room. He stalled halfway down the steps to the living room.
Calvin stared. Not out of reverence for a fallen American hero. It just freakin' hurt. Six months after they'd brought his brother's body home in a casket, that star-spangled fabric could still smack Calvin in the chest like a fall off his motorcycle.
"Hey, move it. Some of us have to catch the bus, you know." His younger sister, Lizzie, wedged herself between him and the wall. She bumped the helmet in his hand and broke the flag's spell. Calvin thundered the rest of the way downstairs behind her.
"Get it together," he muttered to himself. He could find a way to walk past that stupid flag without choking on a gob of grief.
While Lizzie escaped out the front door, Calvin followed the worn path in the shag carpet toward the kitchen. In a corner of the dining room, a computer sat on a desk barely big enough to hold it. Family photos faded in and out on the monitor. Calvin's feet scuffed, shifted that way. No time to check his Facebook page again. He'd have to deal with a day without one of his girlfriend's quirky poetic messages or funny good-morning images. He could do this thing.
Calvin grabbed his fleece-lined jacket off a hook by the door and headed out. The three-bay workshop in the back housed some farm equipment, a half-restored 1978 Ford Mustang covered in a dusty blue tarp, and Calvin's Yamaha Enduro motorcycle, which was even older.
At least the tarp meant he didn't have to look at Michael's car.
The Yamaha started on the second kick. Not bad for a cold start! Calvin revved through the open workshop door and into the thin sunlight of a North Carolina morning. A little too cool to ride, perhaps, but he tasted spring and couldn't wait. He charged down the gravel driveway and whipped past the departing school bus, showing off for the freshman girly girls who'd be clustered around his sister. He could imagine Lizzie's scorn without seeing her face through the bus window.
Calvin pressed right, leaned deep, and hugged a curve, breezing over the tall, prickly grasses crowding the shoulder of Victory Church Road. The Yamaha's ring-ding song echoed off the asphalt, and the wind battered the heat from Calvin's face. Motion without a cage. And for the two miles between home and school, Calvin could feel free. At the stop sign at Old Bentley Road, he tickled the throttle in anticipation of the turn. A sleek red Camaro sped past, horn beeping a challenge.
Calvin hissed between his teeth. "Uh-uh. No way, dude."
He angled around the corner and tailgated his friend Tyler's car along the two-lane road. Stiles County's version of rush hour meant there was just enough traffic to keep him from passing. At the entrance of South Stiles High School, car and bike waited to turn left. In his rearview mirror, Tyler flashed a big-toothed grin beneath a swoop of pampered blond hair.
Calvin revved his engine in answer.
A warning crackled in the back of his mind: detention, loss of parking privileges, Dad taking the bike away for reckless driving. But every other impulse pushed against all that was sensible, safe, and dull. His conscience didn't stand a chance.
He followed the Camaro into the parking lot. A wide speed bump spanned the width of both lanes ahead.
"Prepare to fail," Calvin said inside his helmet.
As expected, Tyler slowed down. No way he'd bottom out his precious car on the hump. Calvin swerved left and cranked the throttle. He lifted from his seat and bounced down to load the rear shocks as his front tire hit the rise in the pavement. The bike's engine raced as both wheels went airborne, sending a thrill through Calvin's veins.
He nailed the jump, landed clean, and cut ahead of Tyler.
Calvin glided to an area of the parking lot claimed by the school's few bikers. He pulled into a space beside a metallic black Kawasaki Ninja and stared at the 650 cc's of pure adrenaline-packed ride. Ooh, man. Someday, dude. Someday.
He set his kickstand and swung his leg over the cracked Enduro seat then removed his helmet. No more time to fly.
"Cal!" Tyler called from two lanes away.
Calvin shrugged off one strap of his backpack as Tyler jogged between the parked cars to join him. Standing at the other side of the Yamaha, Tyler huffed, "Are you trying to get yourself killed? I almost hit you."
"I knew what I was doing." Calvin scrubbed a hand through his curly hair to get rid of any helmet head.
Tyler looked away and laughed. "Yeah, well, save the stunts for the motocross track. Besides, this old thing'll be dropping bolts all over the asphalt if you keep beating it like that."
"Hey, it's not old, it's vintage. And it's the best dirt bike you'll ever see."
"I can hardly see it at all under the duct tape." He flashed his perfect teeth. "You goin' in? Or hanging out here with Stacey?"
"Uh ..." Calvin scanned the parking lot for his girlfriend's car. No Facebook message. No little blue Honda Civic yet. Not right. "I dunno. She's usually here before me."
"Want to use my phone to call her?" Tyler reached for his back pocket.
Calvin pulled his lips into a crooked smirk. With seven—six—kids in the family, living on eighty acres that couldn't produce enough to cover the bills, and Dad's automotive business barely making it in the bad economy, a cell phone was another "someday" dream.
"Nah," he answered. "She won't answer if she's driving. Detective Daddy's orders. She drives safe."
"What would she say about that stunt you just pulled?" Grinning, Tyler tipped his head toward the speed bump.
Calvin straightened his shoulders. "She'd applaud its perfect execution and my superior skill on two wheels."
"Ha! Yeah, right. I'll see ya later, bro." Tyler backhanded Calvin's arm and headed for the sidewalk, so cool, so happy with his smart-phone and his new car, waving to a girl who called his name. A year ago he'd been a skinny geek with braces. This year, thanks to hours spent in a dentist's chair and sweating in a weightlifting class, he was a budding rock star who barely knew what to do with his new groupies' attentions.
Calvin drummed his fingers on his helmet and scanned the parking lot again. Stacey's bright blue Civic would be easy to spot, but it wasn't in the line of sports cars, beaters, and pickup trucks streaming up the driveway. Maybe she was sick and her mother made her stay in bed. Again. It happened way too often.
Helmet secured beneath his arm, Calvin trudged into the building. The never-changing scent of chicken nuggets and pine cleaner led him toward the cafeteria. He pumped six quarters into a vending machine for an energy drink. When he bent to retrieve the bottle from the dispensing tray, his helmet slipped. He juggled both bottle and helmet up to his chest.
"Stuffing your face again, farm boy?" a familiar, and despised, female voice crooned.
Calvin shut his eyes as he straightened. "Hey, Zoe."
Skinny Zoe Bernetti stood five-foot-nothin' and had a bite like a rabid fox. With her hair stick-straight and purple-streaked, and her handmade clothes cut at weird angles, she seemed to consider herself a fashion revolutionary, but one without a clear battle plan. Artsy, manic, and snarky, Zoe had somehow earned best friend status with Stacey, leaving Calvin to figure out ways to put up with her.
Another girl circled around Zoe, her pale hair glowing like a halo in the hallway lights. "She's just teasing." Stacey poked Zoe's arm with a meticulously clean fingernail. "Be nice."
Mystery solved. Stacey was late because Zoe was involved.
"I waited for y—" Calvin blinked. "Your hair!"
Not blonde anymore. Not soft and framing her face in those gentle waves he loved to touch. Stacey ran her fingers through stark white, thin hair with neon pink streaks in the front. "Zoe did it for me. Do you like it?"
Calvin choked out an answer. "Yeah. It's ... cool."
Zoe sent him a warning frown. "You better like it. We worked on it for hours last night. No Kool-Aid. We used the professional stuff."
"It's awesome. Really." He stepped between the two girls, keeping his back to Zoe. "Walk with me to my locker?"
"Of course." Stacey bounced a fingertip against the divot in his chin. Her glittery lips spread in a smile, replacing the nagging questions with a tickling desire.
"I was thinking we could go to Oliver's Burgers after school—"
"Oliver's? Eww!" Zoe's voice squeaked like rusty truck hinges.
Calvin scowled over his shoulder. Why couldn't the pretender to the throne of punk take a hint and go away?
Stacey nudged pink hair away from her face. "Ooh, does it have to be that place? Mega-fat and carb central."
"They have salads."
"Their salads are gross."
"Ice cream?" He leaned toward her until only inches, centimeters, separated their foreheads.
"Y'all aren't gonna kiss, are you? Nasty. Someone should tell the principal."
Calvin grunted and turned his eyes toward the ceiling. Lord have mercy!
Pulling away, Stacey laughed at her friend. "Jealous?"
"Of you and Cherub-cheeks? Pah-leeze."
Stacey's mouth formed an O before she slapped a hand over it.
Calvin pivoted toward Zoe. "What? What did you call me?"
"Hey, that's what she called you last night." Zoe pointed at Stacey. "Said you remind her of a Renaissance painting. But I stuck up for you. I said, 'Calvin Greenlee may have his faults, but cracked and faded? No way.'"
Ha, ha. Sadly clever.
"Wow. Thanks for that. Really." How long before the first period bell? Time to move.
Stacey sped up to keep up with Calvin's elongated strides. "Don't be mad. Please? She's just joking around."
Calvin sighed and slowed down. "Yeah, sure. Like always." He tucked his drink bottle inside his helmet and slid a hand behind Stacey's back, started to twist his fingers into her thick, fuzzy sweater.
What now? She didn't want him to touch her? Because that gnat Zoe would poke fun?
Anger thrummed at the base of Calvin's skull, but another pain tightened his chest. Eight months. The longest relationship he'd ever had with a girl. And now her new best friend would mess it all up? The whole thing was just stupid.
Stacey entwined cool fingers with his. "I'm sorry we were late. Zoe called me this morning, crying. Her mother's boyfriend—"
"Guy's a total scumbag," Zoe grumbled behind them. "Yeah, Stace picked me up. Sorry for intruding on your make-out time."
Calvin blinked. So he was supposed to switch off his anger and feel sorry for Zoe now? Would he be a jerk if he didn't?
Stacey stroked his palm with her thumbnail, whiplashing his emotions to something far more pleasant.
They wove through the masses of students and entered the new wing of the building. The same mustard-yellow—aka gold—paint coated the cinderblock walls as in the older parts of the school, the same speckled tiles covered the floor, and the same beige metal lockers lined the walls. The red and black stripes along the ceiling-school colors—did little to keep the halls from inspiring naptime for the six hundred students.
Zoe strutted at Stacey's other side, practically preening when another girl stopped them to gush over Stacey's hair. The pink part was cute, but the white hair, next to Stacey's already pale skin, made her look like a ghost. Make that a zombie, thanks to the greenish cast of the fluorescent lights.
He shouldn't be surprised; Stacey applied her artistic flare to everything she touched. It was one of his favorite things about her. Calvin glanced down at Stacey's shoes as he veered toward his locker. Yep, neon-pink laces in her spotless white Vans to match the new hair color. Maybe Stacey just wanted to look like the manga characters she sketched, all skinny and intense.
Calvin spun to the first digit of his locker combination, but zipped past the second as Zoe appeared in his peripheral vision. Making sure his body blocked her view, he twirled the dial and started over. Stacey joined them, leaning on a locker to his left. Calvin yanked the door open and imagined it swinging into Zoe's pointy nose.
He angled his helmet to fit inside the locker. The drink bottle fell out and smacked the floor.
"I'll get it." Stacey bent forward. She wobbled. Her flailing hand snagged the loop of Calvin's cargo denims, and he staggered to keep from losing his pants. Stacey sprawled onto the floor, her books fanning out across the tiles.
"Stace!" He dropped to his knees beside her.
Blurting a cuss word, Zoe hovered over them. Her knee banged into Calvin's ribs, pushing him off balance. He elbowed Zoe aside and helped Stacey to her feet. She swayed in his grip and blinked rapidly, her face even whiter than before.
Calvin held her shoulder steady and smoothed her now messy hair. "What happened?"
"I ... got dizzy." She touched her fingertips to her glistening forehead.
"Are you okay? You hit the floor pretty hard."
"Yeah." She leaned against the lockers, here yes down cast. "Probably, you know, a, um, female problem."
Calvin winced. A female problem? He squatted to retrieve her books, and his fingers grazed one that had been kicked out of his reach. "Did you eat this morning? I get lightheaded if—"
Her outburst rocked him back on his heels. "O ... kay."
Another student handed the last book to him. Calvin made a stack against his hip and moved toward Stacey, but Zoe was so close she could suck up the air between him and his girlfriend. She rubbed Stacey's back and murmured over and over, "It's all right. You're okay."
Calvin read go away in Zoe's glance as clearly as if she'd posted an instant message in all caps. No way. He wasn't the intruder here.
Color returned to Stacey's cheeks then deepened into a blush. She laughed, looking around at people who'd stopped to gawk. "I'm fine. I ... lost a contact lens here last week and thought I'd look for it again."
"But you don't wear cont—" Then Zoe's eyes lit up, and a slight blush colored her cheeks.
The two girls giggled while Calvin rubbed a hand across his face. He passed Stacey's books to her, and she arranged them in size order in her arms. So proper. Calvin pulled out the books he'd need for physics and political science from his backpack, shoved everything else into his locker, then retrieved his bottle from the floor. He pressed the energy drink into Stacey's hand. "Drink this. It'll help you get through until lunch."
Stacey's fingers lingered against his. Eyes moist, she mouthed the word, "Sorry."
Sorry? For feeling sick?
A look passed between Stacey and Zoe. Girl secrets they weren't going to share with him. "Bell's fixing to ring," Zoe said. "We gotta go, girl."
They weren't going to shut him out that easily. Calvin pushed the fury down again and reached up to trace the curve of Stacey's cheek. She blinked. Tears matted her eyelashes.
"Don't worry about it," he said. "Come with me to Oliver's after school. Please? Just so we can spend some time together."
She nodded but turned her eyes toward the floor. He pressed his lips quickly to her forehead. Stacey tugged on his T-shirt front and gave him a half-lidded, sultry glance, the way she always did when they parted for their classes. "I'll be right here," she said predictably, patting the fabric over his heart.
"Always," he whispered.
Thick, cheap perfume swirled around them—Zoe too close again. Calvin's face and neck burned.
He had come to enjoy Stacey's daily, OCD-like routines—her morning messages with bizarre little love poems, her obsessive punctuality, and touchy-feely good-byes. Like these rituals with him were the most important things in her life. Though his home life had been wrecked by Michael's death, Calvin could count on the inventive consistency of Stacey. She could change her clothes or hairstyle or paint her car paisley swirls for all he cared. What mattered most, she was always there.
Zoe's sarcastic comments and plastic elf face had no place in Calvin's world. Why did she always need to be plastered to Stacey's side?
Yet Stacey's sick days, the dizziness, and her über-strict diet that drove him nuts ... Could he really blame that stuff on Zoe?
Calvin looked over his shoulder and saw the two girls heading into a science lab.
Not Zoe. That social parasite couldn't cause Stacey to do a face-plant in the school hallway. And neither could female problems. Calvin had sisters; they complained and got cranky, but they didn't turn sickly pale and pass out once a month. Something else was up.
And both girls knew what it was. He'd bet his motorcycle on it.
Excerpted from Running Lean by Diana Sharples. Copyright © 2013 Diana Sharples. Excerpted by permission of BLINK.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 25, 2013
Running Lean by Diana Sharples was a raw, captivating read. So much of the ugly things in our world that nobody wishes to confront. I really enjoy books that address the issues that so many teens feel cautious to discuss.
This book is about a young girl named Stacey who endured some difficult life changing events as a child. As a result, she developed a warped sence of beauty. Her boyfriend of 7 months starts to realize that Stacey is always dieting and is beginning to have some health problems. As time goes on we find out that she has an eating disorder that controls her physical, mental and emotional being.
Like I had meantioned before I give credit to any author that can pull off a good book about a difficult topic such as this. I think that as a mother I read this afraid there would be some kind of glamorized detail. Nothing in this story stood out to make someone want to starve themselves. It was very real in how a teen can hide and manipulate, how their peers don't always know what's best for them, and the realistic consequences.
I gave this book 4 stars because I felt like the middle 100 pages were kind of repeatitive but otherwise a very good book. This book was provided to me by Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review. I was not instructed in any way how to write my review and this is my honest opinion of the captivating story, Running Lean.
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Posted October 17, 2013
Running Lean hits the issue nail on the head. The lives of these two high schoolers, Calvin and Stacey, are raw, vivid, and realistic. Stacey deals with past abuse, bullying, and a recent move by clinging to Calvin, expressing herself through her art, and doing anything she can to avoid being the Girl She Was Before. Calvin adores her, and she’s been the only one with whom he could truly grieve the loss of his brother in Afghanistan. But Stacey’s life and home aren’t as perfect as they appear, and when Calvin begins to wonder if she’s anorexic, sign after sign kicks him in the gut.
First of all, the character voices! Every time we switched POV, I could feel it. Stacey’s poetry, her artistic streak, and her calorie-counting color every thought. At first, it was tough to be in the head of someone who suffers from anorexia, because there was so much about her body, her image, her caloric intake—and so much of it lies. But then I realized that’s what it’s like. Diana Sharples gave me the opportunity to live inside the mind of someone who genuinely believes it—who thinks that way about everything—and it helped me to understand. I’m sure I still have a ton to learn, but I feel like I get it a little bit more now. And my heart is stirred with compassion. Calvin is grief-stricken, but grounded. He’s a product of a tight-knit family of deep faith—and that provides a sharp contrast to Stacey’s homelife with its Father Knows Best façade.
Rife with realistic conflict, jealousy, misunderstandings, and a cast of characters any public school teen could relate to, the book held my attention firmly. I saw the slippery slope of poor decisions and the dangerous circumstances to which desperation can lead. The tension escalates until Stacey and Calvin’s world is spinning out of control, and in the final scenes, there’s a shift. I felt just enough resolution. It’s not a story that ends with rainbows and unicorns, so if that’s what you’re after, look elsewhere. But if you’ve read this far, I’m pretty sure you’re not. I was left with questions—not the irritating type but the ponderous variety. Stacey and Calvin were left with possibility.
This story of first love is full of need and growth—it’s a picture of two young people created for relationship—and striving to find fulfillment in one another. It shows clearly that people fail, no matter how much you love them, and that as much as we want to fix our hurting loved ones, it’s not up to us. True wholeness can’t come from just another person. Diana Sharples handles these truths deftly, and with plenty of wit and banter along the way.
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Posted April 1, 2015
This is a great young adult book. It deals with all the issues they face in a very real way. The story revolves around Calvin and Stacey. Calvin is facing loss, misunderstanding, and trying to keep his family intact. Stacey is dealing with body image issues, family issues, and all the normal issues of her age. I think it is an excellent way to bring anorexia up for discussion without putting anyone in the limelight. I also enjoyed how the author incorporated faith into the book to add that degree of realism.
I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Posted February 15, 2015
By Diana L. Sharples
Publ. Blink c.2013
Calvin Greenlee is worried about his girlfriend Stacy Varnell. At first her excuses for not eating and passing out make sense: she just ate, she isn’t feeling well, she doesn’t have time. But now, the more he thinks about it and sees how she looks and acts, he just can’t believe all that she is telling him.
After searching the internet he is convinced that Stacy is suffering from anorexia. The question becomes what does he do about it. We watch as Calvin stumbles his way through trying to help Stacy while trying not to be manipulated by her efforts to redirect his attention away from her problem. He also has to deal with Stacy’s best friend Zoe Bernetti who is proving to be a bad influence on her.
Stacy can’t see that she is damaging herself with her behavior. She can’t see that her view of the world is way off base. All she sees when she looks in the mirror is the chubby child she once was.
Her parents are clueless about her behavior. Most of the people around her don’t see what she is doing. She likes it that way. She only wants to keep them in the dark about her behaviour,
This gripping book takes you on a journey into the life of a young girl with a severe eating disorder. It shows you the extent to which she will go to protect her secret and hide her issues. You are drawn into the lives of those who love her and interact with her where you see the denial and refusal to see the problem.
Is it an easy read? No! Is it a book that will open your eyes? Absolutely! I highly encourage the parents of any teenager to read this book. I encourage any teenager to read this book either to help others they know or to open their eyes to their own issues.
Diana L. Sharpes has crafted a remarkably real look into the lives of those who are dealing with this very real problem. She has done so with open, honest pictures into their lives.
I was provided this book through The Book Club Network for my unbiased review.
Posted November 17, 2014
I just finished reading Running Lean by Diana Sharples. Wow is all I can say. This was the first young adult book I read. I think I will be reading more. I have a teenager and middle school child and it was neat for me to know what the author was talking about because I am experiencing some of the same things (trends) with my own kids. Made me feel not quite so old. ¿
Great book - I think it portrayed teenagers very realistically which in a way made me sad but in a way gave me hope too. The author did a great job of depicting Stacey’s downhill struggle with anorexia as well as watching her deteriorate from the viewpoint of the boyfriend. That was a different perspective and I loved it!
Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder is familiar with the voices that Stacey played over and over in her head - and being that we have a family history of anorexia and eating disorders on both sides of my family, the story hit a little too close to home at times. I loved too how at the end of the book she realistically stated that “anorexia was something Stacey would deal with her entire life, to a degree.” While I believe God can give Christ followers complete freedom from strongholds that capture their lives, He also sometimes chooses to allow the strongholds to remain below the surface - maybe so His child learns how to depend on God on a daily basis? I don’t want to speak for God’s reasons, but in my experience, it’s true - anorexia isn’t something a person is cured from (although it is possible) but instead it flares in times of stress and is always there. The voices just get quieter.
I will definitely read more from this author. So glad to have met her through the Book Club Network.
I received this book for free from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review..
Posted November 14, 2014
Calvin’s family has been turned upside down by the death of his older brother. Stacey is the beautiful teen, his rock, which kept him together during his trial. But now she is becoming thinner and thinner, an anorexic. Her girlfriend is encouraging her. Calvin knows it’s not healthy – but what can he do?
This is their story – as Calvin tries to do the right thing and Stacey keeps thinking she is too fat. As the mother of teenaged girls I found this book disturbing but also encouraging to stay connected to my girls and to watch for warning signs. I do encourage those who have young men and women in their lives to read this to become more aware of the signs and dangers of anorexia.
Posted November 9, 2014
Stacey is creative and passionate, in love with her boyfriend Calvin, and thinks she's fat. Calvin loves his motorcycle and his girlfriend Stacey, and is desperately missing his deceased brother. The two of them need each other, but neither one will realize the how far their love and friendship will be tested.
The author has taken the delicate subject of anorexia and written it for young adults. The story was full of emotion and drama. The characters seemed to be one dimensional and the story pivoted around the anorexia issue. There were some details that I felt could have been expanded on or where left out, but the author wasn't reaching out to my age group. So perhaps this is something that will not bother young adults. Parents should take the heavy issues of sex, drugs, eating disorders, etc. into consideration when getting this book for their child. They are real issues that teenagers deal with, but might be a bit heavy for some children. All in all, it was a heavy subject with lots of drama, but could be very relatable to teenagers facing these issues.
I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.
Posted October 23, 2014
This is a very thought provoking book. This book is about two teenagers, Stacey and Calvin. They are in love with each other and would do anything for the other. Everything seems to be fine except they're both dealing with different matters in their life. Calvin lost a brother. Stacey is dealing with anorexia. This follows their life as Calvin tries to help Stacey as much as he can. This book is very informative on the subject of anorexia and understanding what goes through young people's minds as they go through it. It really helped me understand it more. I would highly recommend this book especially to those who have dealt with or have dealt with someone having anorexia. I received this book from bookfun for my honest opinion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2014
Running Lean by Diana L. Sharples
Teen Fiction, Christian, romance, anorexic
Teens Stacey and Calvin are high school sweethearts dealing with some very serious problems, anorexia and the death of a sibling. Calvin’s older brother died in Afghanistan and Stacey is hiding a life-threatening secret of her own. Stacey helps Calvin to deal with the death of his beloved brother. As time goes on Calvin realizes Stacey has a problem and try’s to help her. He is understanding, compassionate, sensitive and tries not make things worst. Farmer boy as Stacey’s BFF calls him is a great boyfriend and would be any girls dream.
I found this book to be intense and heartbreaking at times. It was very informative about anorexia. The characters were well thought out, real, like any teen you might meet on the street or the kid next door. I found their pain to be real, they were emotional and had me take a hard look at someone I care about that suffers from anorexia. The author Diana L. Shaples gave great insight into the life an anorexia and the worry it causes those that care about them. She handled a sensitive subject with compassion and sensitivity of someone that may have lived with this. I give 5 stars to Running Lean and highly recommend it. I can’t wait for other family members read it to see how it effects them.
I want to give a high-five to the author Diana L. Sharples and publisher Blink for bringing compelling Christian books that are entertaining and give hope to the reader with stories of faith. The Book Club Network Inc. provided me with this book in exchange for my honest review and I am so grateful for their, the authors and publishers generosity.
Posted July 31, 2014
When I started this book, I really didn't have an idea of how it would end. Would it be the 'tied up in a pretty bow' ending? Or would it be a sad ending? Diana Sharples did an amazing job with the book. The ending was perfect! Of course I'm not going to tell you the ending--you have to read. This was a great Y/A book with issues that so many teens face. I've personally not dealt with these issues, but I felt Stacey's struggle--and Calvin's as he tried to help her. This is a book I would recommend. Well written, characters that act true to their situations. Passion, heartbreak, sadness, joy--yeah, it's all there.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2014
*I received a copy from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.*
First of all, I really loved the cover of this book. I completely fell in love with Stacey and Calvin’s relationship.
I loved that the author showed us both of the main characters minds, letting us know what each character was thinking and feeling.
Self esteem issues affect a lot of people today because there is a certain image put out there of what you need to be to be “perfect.”
Calvin is amazing because he loves unconditionally. Despite his own problems, he risks everything to save her life.
He is not perfect, which makes him real. I feel like this book would give a great view into the mind of someone who is suffering.
You won’t regret reading this book.
Posted June 3, 2014
Anyone who buys Running Lean expecting a fun read will be disappointed. The story is serious and the characters are constantly in conflict--with themselves and with one another. Although I'm not a teen, I could relate to the issues and to the people. The title is SO powerful in that it describes the motorcycle elements of the story, the anorexia, and the spiritual elements. Mrs. Sharples is a good writer, and her book kept my attention from start to finish. I'm sure I'm not the only reader who wants to know what happens after this book ends. A sequel, please?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 4, 2014
I received a copy of RUNNING LEAN by Diana L. Sharples from Blink via BookSneeze. This book had consuming emotion from the first chapter to the last. While there were places where I laughed, overall this is a book that sucks you in and leaves you breathless. My heart broke many times. The book made me really pause to think, as I am going through many stressful situations with friends right now, but the situations are a little different.
Stacey struggles with weight issues and Calvin struggles with the death of his brother. The faith is strong in this book, and really opens your eyes to teenage emotions. I recommend this book to older teens and adults. For younger teens, they might want to read it with an adult, or at least have a conversation afterwards with an adult.
I would have liked more information on some of the minor characters, but the main characters are strongly portrayed. I have heard the book called chick lit, and I can see how it fits into that category, but more than that, I feel this book is young adult inspirational. It encouraged me to reach out to friends and family, to support them in any way possible.
Posted March 11, 2014
Stacey Varnell had some very real and very deep seeded issues. Memories from her past keep rushing back. An uncle that made passes at her, claiming he like chubby girls and kids at school making fun of her weight, even her own dad calling her chubbikins. After losing weight and meeting Calvin, Stacey thought her life was going great--until the voices in her head kept telling her she was going to be fat again and no one would love her. It was a battle the voices intended to win even if it cost Stacey her life.
"Crazy Stacey bubble butt.
Never keeps her big mouth shut.
How much does she weigh?"
When Calvin Greenlee lost his brother, Michael, to the war in Afghanistan he thought he would never smile again--until he met Stacey Varnell. She comforted him and listened to his hurts, giving him a shoulder to cry on. She made his world right again and he loved her for it. But when Stacey starts getting sicker, Calvin realizes a whole new kind of heartbreak. If he tries to help her he might lose her, if he doesn't he could lose her anyway. As Calvin fights his fears of losing Stacey, she is fighting agonizing fears of her own. Can they both win the hardest battle of their lives?
Stacey fought some very serious demons. Her perception of herself was so distorted. Where she saw ugly, fat and unloveable, others saw only beauty. The voices in her head screamed she was fat when, in actuality, her clothes hung loosely on her body. She was a sixteen year-old girl full of anguish and fear, who was scarred from unkind words in her past. She had OCD tendencies and she was fighting a very verbal killer--anorexia nervosa.
Calvin--I loved Calvin and Calvin loved Stacey. He loved her with everything he had. When she was at her worst he would tell her how beautiful she was. He did his best to love Stacey through her battle with anorexia. He had a huge heart and such a cute way of tugging on his hair whenever he was upset or flustered. He loved riding his Yamaha and the hum of the motor helped him forget his worries for a little while. I loved the way he turned to God even when, deep down, he couldn't bring himself to completely rely on God to handle the situation.
Calvin found a relatively flat spot and cut the Yamaha's engine. He set the kickstand and swung his leg over the seat. The sound of rippling water and a breeze in the leaves gently drowned out the ringing in Calvin's ears and the echoes of a song he now hated. He sat cross-legged at the top of a ridge that fell down to the river's edge, and pinched a chunk of papery bark off a birch tree. Sunlight sparkling on the water dazzled his eyes. He mindlessly toyed with the bark while his heart reached for some kind of peace...but couldn't find it.
He was supposed to pray at times like this. Pain clamped down on his heart again.
"God..." Desperate, hurting, frightened, confused, angry. What could he say? "Please. I don't know what to do. Show me what to do. "
Taking deep, desperate breaths to ease the pain in his chest, Calvin looked at the sky and grimaced--the prayer felt meaningless, like all the words he'd used trying to save Stacey from herself.
I remember watching a TV movie once that starred Tracey Gold as an anorexic teen entitled, For the Love of Nancy. That movie has stayed with me ever since just as this book will stay with me for a very long time. I could literally feel Stacey's and Calvin's fear and anguish for two very different reasons. Stacey's struggle within herself was so heart-wrenching while Calvin's struggle of how to save her was heartbreaking. I found myself wanting to reach out and hug them. Anorexia nervosa effects millions of young adults and the stark reality of this horrible disorder is vividly portrayed in the effect it has on the person's life and those that love them. I can't begin to describe the emotions she wrung out of the characters and me. I found myself crying several times throughout the book and I am certain you will need tissues too. The story line was just spot-on from beginning to end. Absolutely perfect. I also loved the way the term "running lean" connects the three majors themes in this book--Stacey's battle with anorexia, Calvin's love of motorcycles and not letting God have control of our lives. I don't believe this book could have been any better and I can't say enough about it. If you don't fall in love with the characters and the story itself something definitely wrong. Anorexia nervosa is a devastating and very deadly disorder. If you are battling this disorder or know someone that is, please read this book. I believe Stacey's struggles might help in some way. But, even if you're not effected by this disease in any way, I still highly recommend it because it is an amazing story from beginning to end!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. If I recommend a book it's simply because I loved it. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Posted February 14, 2014
Language: 5 minor words and mention of characters cursing.
Other objectionable: Anorexia is obviously a key part in the book, there are several romantic scenes, some HS/dating drama, mention of a questionable character in Stacey's past, some drinking (underage) at a party Stacey finds herself at, a character severely cuts their leg, and a character goes into cardiac arrest.
Suitable for: This book is YA fiction. I would say that parents need to use caution with letting a highschooler who has struggled with anorexia/serious self image problems read this book, as that disorder does play a key part in the story.
Pros: Well, when I first got this book and pulled it out of that annoying threaded packing tape, I was surprised at how thick it was. 400 pages is a pretty solid book, and I immediately wondered if the story really needed that many pages to get its point across. But as I read, I came to the conclusion that it filled up every one of those pages. There is a lot of conflict in this book, and the subject is rough, but I think it clearly portrays the extreme consequences of eating disorders. The characters were all dynamic and interesting, and I was sucked in to the story and hoping that Stacey would get help. Her background story is so sad...but I won't get into spoilers here. The end did satisfy me, but I won't give it away on here. :)
Cons: Just the dating drama routine...again. I almost think the story could have been written just as well with Stacey and Calvin just being friends. But that might just be me; I don't know.
Posted February 6, 2014
"Running Lean" is an astounding book. In fact, it easily goes down as one of my favorite books. The author did just such an amazing job of portraying unique and genuine emotions. As an adult, I found it so frustrating, but as I'm still close enough to remember being a teenager, I still found it incredibly accurate. As far as a Young Adult novel goes, the author really nailed the teenage problems and angst that tend to be standard with kids.
The book itself is really enjoyable. It does have a religious/Christian slant to it, but even if you aren't religious, the book doesn't have enough of it to make it bothersome. It's noticeable, but it can easily be written off as part of the character's personalities, and it doesn't come off as preachy either.
The book was just amazing. I don't really have much more to say than that. I picked it up, planned on putting it down shortly, and I just couldn't. It's an amazing book that easily goes into my favorites because the author did such a great job of tackling how an eating disorder feels and how it effects all of those around the person.
AS AN IMPORTANT NOTE: If you know someone with an eating disorder, do NOT buy this book for them without asking first! You might think you're helping them, but reading a book like this can be a trigger for them to start their disordered eating all over again. Make SURE to ask them first! Disclosure: I received this book, free of charge, in exchange for my honest opinion.
Posted January 13, 2014
Running Lean, I loved the aspect of teaching us about a real life situation to an eating disorder. Now, I know what to look for as my daughter gets older. Some of the tricks and techniques that Stacey used was very spot on for a lot of people.
My opinion of the book, and the reason why I only gave it three stars was due to the lack of depth. We never understand Calvin’s pain, or how his brother died or how Calvin coped with his grief. We never learn anything about Calvin other than he gets jealous, likes motorcycles, and his brother died. That is all.
Running Lean is fully impacted by the whines of Stacey and how everyone starts revolving around her. Sure, something is wrong, but “sorry” was overpowered in the book. The story felt forced to me, and I don’t know why Calvin stayed with her. You never get to experience the “love connection” before Calvin and Stacey, and why they love each other… they just seem “there”. I do understand when we go through life, us girls (no not all of us) get clingy. We demand attention, we stomp our feet when we don’t get our way, but by the time I was Stacey’s age I wasn’t whining. I knew what life was about, and I had to take it by the horns and do what is right for myself. I never seen Stacey step up to the plate til it was almost too late, and even then it was like she didn’t understand the whole picture.
I wish I could get more involved with the book, the cover is awesome, and the summary seemed like it would be well worth it. It was okay.
Posted September 20, 2013
This was such an enlightening read, I don’t know where to start! There was just so much you can get out of this book; especially if you are in the YA age group, or have children that age. It was especially effective if you are or know someone who was struggling with coming to terms with an eating disorder. I was surprised with the underlying faith displayed by various characters in the book, and it added another layer of depth, in my opinion. There were so many good things about this book, it was hard to describe them all. The characters, although probably not the most mainstream teenagers, were realistic and very believable. Your heart breaks for Calvin and Stacey, over and over again, as they try to work through their past and current struggles with each other, and with their families and friends.
Calvin shows a lot of strength of character in trying to research what he feels is happening to her, and then trying to support her and help her get better; even as she’s in denial. Stacey has been through so much, it’s easy to see where her fear and low self-esteem come from, and you just want to hug her and take care of her. I wasn’t a big fan of her friend Zoe, but both of them are young and impressionable and neither really knew what they’re doing. The author does a great job of giving insight into the thoughts, fears, and insecurities of teenagers and how easily this could happen to them. A definite recommended read of any mom of a teenage daughter, or son, for that matter.
HEAT Rating: None
Reviewed By: Daysie W.
Review Courtesy of: My Book Addictions and More
Posted August 17, 2013
Stacey and Calvin are an adorable couple that you can not help but fall in love with.
I really enjoyed that the author gave us the insight of both of the main characters minds, letting us know what each character was thinking and feeling.
Self esteem issues plague more and more young girls everyday with the constant media influence of what the perfect girl must look like in order to be noticed and loved.
Calvin is every girls dream. He loves unconditionally. Despite of his own grief he risks everything to save her life. A true modern day knight in shining armor.
This is a must read book for teen girls and their mom’s to help gain insight on the mindset that one has when suffering from an eating disorder. To have understanding and compassion is the first step in helping someone. I feel this book would give great insight into the mind of one who is suffering.
I also think that there are few guys out there that could learn a lot from the character Calvin on how to treat a young girl even when he can not understand why she does the things she does.
Put this book on your MUST read list! You won’t regret it!