I’ve been reading a lot of wonderful YA books lately. Lots of teen angst and drama… lots of high school. And don’t get me wrong, they’ve been wonderful reads; but it’s been *ahem* many moons since I attended high school, and I found myself really needing to read a book about a main character who was closer to my age. I had gotten Worth the Weight as an Amazon freebie and read it on a whim one day. I’m so glad I did. I loved this story!
Elizabeth Hampton is a very successful woman. She started her own PR business after college and has acquired some amazing professional athletes as clients. Everything in her life was right on track except for one thing: her weight. Liz gained a tremendous amount of weight that put her in the obese category, and for the last several years she has worked her ass off – literally and figuratively – to return to a healthy size. It has not been easy, and every day she faces a food hurdle bent on luring her off the healthy path she is on.
“Turning quickly away from the aisle, lest the lonesome call of the Kit Kat
make her succumb, she made her way to the checkout.”
But Liz will not be swayed. She has a plan, and she’s going to stick to it. When she was 18, Finn Robbins broke up with her; and though it took her a while to admit it, he broke her heart and took a piece of it with him.
Now she’s returning to her home town with a new confidence; and she’s going to find Finn, have a fling with him, and then forget all about him. Just so she can check it off her “to-do” list and move on with her life and onto a man she’s had her eye on.
But things were definitely not what they seemed back then; and when Finn and Liz reconnect, old feelings quickly rise to the surface.
One of the things I appreciated most about their story was that Liz wasn’t the only one who struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Finn had a lot of demons of his own. It was very interesting reading about a man who felt like he was less than what Liz deserved. It broke my heart, but it really cemented the fact that these two needed to communicate; and I felt they belonged together.
I enjoyed reading about Michigan’s Cooper Country and the “Yoopers.” As a southern girl, I could definitely appreciate the regional lingo that outsiders wouldn’t quite get, and I related to Elizabeth’s feeling that there’s no place like home. There were tons of great secondary characters in this book: Finn’s grandmother, Stevie and Annie… and all of Liz’s friends were fun to get to know.
It was so sad to read about a character who suffered from poor body image and low self-esteem, and I really admire the author for writing it the way she did; I hope women out there who may be dealing with the same issues Liz does can find strength in this story and realize they aren’t alone. One of my favorite moments in this book came from Liz’s therapist when she was trying to make Liz understand that even though she felt she needed an explanation as to why she put the weight on and couldn’t hope to change if she couldn’t understand the why, she may never get that answer. She gave what I felt was a fabulous analogy that can be applied to so many things in our lives – not just a struggle with weight.
“Think of it as a journey that you are driving. Suddenly you realize you are going in the wrong direction, have been for some time. Do you pull over and spend hours trying to figure out why you went the wrong way? No, you turn the car around and start to drive in the right direction. Along the way, you start to think about the reason you got off course, but do that as you’re headed toward your destination.”
I really loved that bit of wisdom!
There were a lot of thought-provoking moments in this book and a lot of really funny parts, and then there were some moments that made me want to weep and give Liz a giant hug:
“She allowed a tear to trickle down her cheek,
making no attempt to wipe it away.
That girl in the theater lobby deserved a tear or two.
She hadn’t cried that night – had not cried any more over Finn Robbins.”
I won’t reveal anything else in this review because there are some twists and turns that need their shock value when they are discovered. Turns out grown-ups have their own personal kind of angst, and you really can’t be sure until the very end if Liz will find her happily-ever-after. While I won’t say who this scene is between, I absolutely must share my most favorite part of all:
When [spoiler] had Liz stand naked before a mirror and asked her what she saw, she gave a list of all the things she felt were wrong with her body. And when she asked him, “What do you see?” he replied:
“I see the woman I’m in love with.”
And that’s the best answer any man can ever give a woman.
I look forward to reading more of Mara Jacobs’s work, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the companion novel, Worth the Drive, that follows the life of Liz’s friend Katie.
“She gauged her internal barometer and felt something
she was sure was… could be… may be… peace.”
My Rating: ★★★★
You can click on each of the covers below to find out more about this series: