Never Enough

Never Enough - Denise Jaden Note: I received an ARC of this book from S&S GalleyGrab.If "Never Enough" had been shaved off by about 100 pages, I think it would've been a much better book in terms of getting to its respective premise and message. Granted, it tackles quite many tough issues - from domestic abuse to eating disorders to a family spiraling out of control. In the center of it all is Luann, a young woman who struggles to make herself more prominent in a life where it seems she's invisible.At almost 400 pages, "Never Enough" walks initially through Luann's life in the shadow of her more popular and seemingly perfect sister, Claire. There's also a bit of a falling out that Luann has with respect to her own social circle, leading her to the rather quiet, but well meaning Simon who seems to bear his own burdens unspoken. Luann struggles to keep her own social life afloat, even as Claire's behavior seems to work against Luann more often than not. However, after a certain point, it seems that Claire's own handle on life seems to be slipping away, not just in what she chooses not to eat, but also in terms of her uncertain and fragmented hold on the future.Luann struggles to make sense of what's wrong with her sister, tries to keep her family and relationships intact, and struggles to come to terms with her own grip of the future, making plenty of mistakes along the way. Some of those mistakes made me grind my teeth and think Luann should've known better (i.e. her relationship with Josh), but I think I saw the purpose of having Luann grow from her experiences. There were times when I appreciated the expansion, but if I'm reflecting on the collective whole of the book - it takes a bit too long to get to the main storyline. It wouldn't be as much of a problem if the book developed some of the characters more significantly during these progressions, but it doesn't seem that the character progress all that much or have significant development until after quite some time in the book. On one hand, I do appreciated the slice of life progression it took, but on the other, I think that it could've been further condensed and still given enough focus to the main character and her struggles.When the book does arrive at the point where Luann and Claire hit a breaking point with respect to Claire's struggles with bullimia, I thought the story took a heartbreaking turn. It shows just how much the family's fragmented and Luann has to come to terms with her frustrations and grief over her sister's condition and ultimately what it lends to in the end. Is it the best book I've read on the subject matter - probably not by a long shot, but it did manage to make me care about the characters and turns of events. I just wish it'd been a little better on the road getting there by not taking too many diverted courses along the way, though I saw the purpose behind them.Overall score: 2.5/5