In the wake of her parents ugly divorce, Lacey Steele is forced to choose to stay with her dad in the home she loves or to move to California with the woman who has never had time or patience for Lacey, otherwise known as her mother. When Charity, Lacey’s sister, chooses their dad and home, Lacey knows she has to side with her lonely mother.
Yet, four years later, after having no contact with the father or sister she left behind, Lacey is sent back to them when her mother decides to get remarried. Moving back to a household that used to be filled with love (it’s now icy cold) and finding her ten-year crush has found his way into the arm’s of Lacey’s sister, are the last straws of many. Lacey decides it’s time to stand up for herself and take matters into her own hands. Everything would be fixed if only she were thinner and fit into the mould both her mother and sister had perfected.
With her friend Ashley, they create the Future Goddess Girls Club. All it will take to lose the future? Drop the extra pounds plaguing them. Extreme calorie cutting may be a bit much, but no one would actually get hurt, would they?
Skinniness is Next to Goddessness? Lacey’s Story takes on a dark subject in a brighter manner combining the difficulties of body image and eating disorders with hope, love, and eventual acceptance.
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.
Lacey’s story is truly captivating, Keanini has created a gripping story around the mindset and struggles of this teenager and it is one that keeps you turning the pages. There is a lot happening in Lacey’s life and Keanini blends these together beautifully and connects them nicely, each playing off one another.
Lacey is quite self deprecating but Keanini isn’t cruel in depicting this, instead she uses Lacey’s voice honestly and in a way that feels real. From Lacey’s point of view we understand where she is coming from, feel what she feels and understand why she does what she does. As terrible as it is, you do understand her arguments and actually root for her in the beginning; you want her to be happy.
What makes Lacey so likeable is that she’s a sweet character, she is unsure of herself, had to deal with torment from her sister, people at school, and criticism and comments from her mother, but she is still a nice person. She tries her best to hold her head high but there is only so much people can take and Keanini shows how little things can make huge impacts on people.
From a seemingly straight forward story it takes an unexpected and very real turn that makes you realise the danger involved in what Lacey is doing and the decisions she is making. With this change Keanini excels in demonstrating the changing mindset: the gradual decent, the justifications, the innocent thought turned into a dangerous spiral. What makes this great though is that Lacey is always telling us the story; we see her inability to accept, her blindness to her situation, and it makes us understand that people can’t always see what those around them see.
With a topic like this it is easy to make it deep and emotional and dark, but Keanini has a wonderful balance between the bad and the good, the deep and the light-hearted. From the first page the narrative feels genuine which makes it believable and in a way, relatable. The characters and their friendships and relationships ring true which add a lot of depth, they are complicated and typically teen, and Keanini addresses the challenges of being a young teenager nicely.
There are things that fill Lacey’s life such as friends, boys, family drama, as well as finding her feet in school and feeling happy within herself. Each aspect is given due attention and importance and each becomes a factor in Lacey’s decisions, overall creating a well rounded and solid narrative.
The narrative may not focus directly on the eating disorder as much as you’d expect, but I didn’t mind; the fact that it is always there, lurking in the background, always on Lacey’s mind, happening around normal activities like outings with friends or family drama, that is important as well, not just focusing on it the entire time.
Keanini manages to show the decent into an eating disorder while never making light of the situation nor placing blame, and she also demonstrates the support available and recovery process, the ongoing struggle and the dangers it has. This is a wonderful story that brings to light the struggle of disorders while refraining from preaching or being too intense, and is an important message surrounded by a captivating and moving narrative that only enhances the story being told.
You can purchase Skinniness is Next to Goddessness? via the following