Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Never Enough by Denise Jaden

Never Enough
Denise Jaden
July 10th 2012
400 pages (paperback)
Simon Pulse
Source - Publisher (unsolicited)
"Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special… even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship —and her sister—before it’s too late?"
"Nothing is ever perfect....Beauty isn't perfect. It's something 
to be felt and something to be breathed." * 

Claire has it all — beauty, talent, a great figure, and Josh Garrison. Our narrator Loann, however, has a short stature, an ample amount of curves, and a mysterious yet amusing locker neighbor named Marcus. But the next moment, Loann's oridinary life begins to change completely as her sister Claire spirals out of control with her self-image and destructive eating habits. There's nothing worse than trying to help someone when you're rendered incapable of doing so, and Jaden captures this dilemma and portrays it honestly through Loann as she watches her sister's perfect life crumble to pieces. 

Never Enough draws you in with tender moments and breaks your heart with the harsh reality of the price beauty and "perfection" demand. There are plenty of other interesting character interactions, but it is the moments between these two sisters that made the most genuine and memorable impact. Never Enough is a story with multiple varieties of issues and can feel a bit busy sometimes, and yet this story remains realistic and touching. While I did enjoy Denise Jaden's first novel Losing Faith much more,  Never Enough is a strong sophomore effort that's worth reading. 

Highlights: Claire and Loann's complicated sisterly relationship is sure to be something readers with siblings will relate to. The ups and downs of their relationship felt very real and I wish they had interacted more in this story. I very much enjoyed Marcus and Loann's slow friendship. Jaden's characters always seemed authentic because they have positive and negative traits that serve to make them more realistic. It was interesting to watch Loann grow throughout the story.  

Lowlights: Loann could be a bit naive. It took awhile to get to the main plot. A few subplots could have been cut to give this story more focus. There wasn't enough time to stretch out and fully resolve the extra subplots1, so they made the story weaker (and almost resulted in a much lower rating).


* pg. 371
1 This footnote is a long spoiler that can be found on my Goodreads review of Never Enough.



  1. This seems like a great book which adresses a serious topic! I really like it when a book manages to break my heart, but I need hope in the end, the promise of something good at the end of the ride.

    However, I need a real ending with a real closure and it seems like this lacked here a little!

  2. Agree about the spoiler-I was horrified about the way it was brushed aside when it definitely should have been a much bigger deal.

  3. Danny: The main plot of the book does have a resolution (the smaller plots either never resolve or resolve too quickly to really make an impact). The ending was a bit bittersweet, depending on how you look at it....You should try to check it out and see if it's your kind of story!

    Bookworm1858: It really did seem like it was going to be a big part of the story, and then suddenly it's just forgotten. I almost wish that scene would've been cut.

  4. I can't even TELL you how much I love books about sisters -- as a girl who has one of my own, I know what it's like to feel overshadowed! This sounds like such a tender and beautiful contemporary that's sure to break some hearts. Even though you liked Denise's first book much more, I'm still definitely going to pick this up because it sounds amazing on its own!

    Beautiful review, Lea! <3 :)

  5. So glad you liked it but I think I'm going to be cautious when I read it. I like books that discuss lots of issues but too many can sometimes take away from everything else, you know? I've read the spoiler part got a lot of readers and it's sad that it just got pushed aside.

    ~Kailia @ Reading the Best

  6. I love books with complicated relationships. I also appreciate that the characters aren't perfect and have flaws - that really does make them seem more realistic. Great review, I'm glad you enjoyed this book even if you didn't like it as much as Losing Faith.

  7. I love sisterly relationships, totally can relate to that. I have two older sisters. :)

  8. So I've decided I'm not going to read this one this week because heartbreaking and THAT time of the month? Nope. I don't feel like spending the next few days in a quivering ball of emotions. Lol. But glad you liked it! :) I'll definitely be reading it when I'm more...err...stable? :D

  9. Mimi Valentine: I've only got a brother (who was so the perfect, golden child growing up), but I still really related to this one. You'd probably relate really well with the characters, too. I hope you like NEVER ENOUGH if you do read it :)

    Kailia: It's going to depend on your tastes if you enjoy this one or not, just because there are quite a few issues being dealt with in the story. I'm a fan of the Jaden's writing style, so it didn't bother me as much as it would've have if someone else had written it.

    Liz: Flaws definitely help to make characters seem more real - besides, perfect characters are just so boring! ;)

    Nina: You should check this book out! The relationship between the sisters is pretty up and down, but they have some sweet sisterly moments.

    Natalie: Ah, it might be best if you waited a bit. I'm glad I'm not the only who avoids emotional books at that time of the month. I usually seek out comfort books instead - anything that won't make me an emotional wreck! ;)