A must-read for anyone who struggles to be happy in their own skin. Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She’s an avid musical lover, she’s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea’s weight. Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through. Don’t make waves. Don’t draw attention. That’s how life is for Chelseauntil a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea’s world. As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life. But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve. Readers will be captivated by Chelsea’s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think.
About the Author
Chris Struyk-Bonn is originally a Midwesterner from a small town in Iowa. Currently, she works in alternative education at a small charter school that houses its curriculum primarily online. She works with many students who have found traditional schooling to be a poor fit for them for a variety of reasons. She often finds inspiration for her stories through her students’ experiences. Struyk-Bonn’s first novel, WHISPER, was released in 2014 and won praise from critics in CM Magazine, Kirkus, School Library Journal and more.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Received an advance reader copy for a fair review." Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn! Chelsea is an overweight teenager who takes after her father in many ways; personality, likes, dislikes, talent and genetics. The doctor suggests Calorie Counts, a weight loss program run by Bridgette, who helps Chelsea see that her self esteem is more important than anything else. Chelsea has four favorite people: her dad, Bridgette, Melody and Trevor (classmates). Chelsea tries to get involved and make friends, but then bullies set her back. The bullying is already bad enough on its own, but they send pictures of everything online for everyone to see. This book is a touching and inspiring story of the challenges we have to deal with in life and the different ways we can strengthen ourselves. 4.5 stars!
"Nice Girls Endure" was a tough read emotionally. Chelsea is "fat" (although apparently her BMI is only 27.5 which is overweight but not obese), and she gets it from her fun-loving father. Everyone seems to be reminding her constantly of this and making sure she cannot forget it. She feels good about herself- why can't everyone else? This is a really common problem, where people fixate so much on weight. Her doctor judges her for it and talks about the need to lose weight. Although it wasn't shown, this can be a problem where people don't get proper medical care because their weight is blamed for everything- even when the problem is not rooted in weight (e.g. see the work by Scott Kahan). Additionally, teenagers are ruthless and this is no exception. She is sexually harassed/assaulted and feels the blame for it since it is centered around her weight. Thank goodness for Melody and her therapist who helps correct this. Even her mother seems to judge her based on her weight and make her feel odd about exercising (when she does, her mother makes comments about it). Her mother enrolls her in Calorie Counters (Weight Watchers), and this is really difficult for a teenager. I think her mother has good intentions, but maybe goes about them the wrong way. Chelsea finds her first friend in Melody, who is amazing! She has ADHD, but doesn't seem to care about what anyone else thinks and likes Chelsea for being herself. She encourages Chelsea in a way no one else does, e.g. praising her singing and giving her room to be without needing to perform socially. Chelsea is the patient, solid friend that Melody needs as well. They are good for each other. The style of the book is interesting. It consists of many small chapters which are sometimes flashbacks to defining events in Chelsea's past and current events in the present. The main storyline is the film project Chelsea has for her favorite class, which is to be an autobiography in which she showcases the way she is treated. Importantly, Chelsea's problems are compounded by a social anxiety disorder which is finally recognized and treated later in the book. I was glad her parents got her a therapist for this, which also seems to help. Chelsea breaks out in hives and flees from uncomfortable social situations. To some extent, this is a normal teenage discomfort (she is dealing with some pretty bad bullying and harassment) but her hives/rashes and vomiting put this into the realm of psychiatry. I was so glad that she got the help she needed, and her life definitely improves. She can hold her own and even try out for a school musical (she loves to sing) and enjoy her friendship with Melody plus a burgeoning relationship. This was an emotionally difficult book to read, but would be valuable to teenagers to understand what it's like on the other side of bullying. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.