ARC Review: Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy

15 Jul 2016

Book Title: Nothing Tastes as Good
Author: Claire Hennessy
Series: Standalone
Release Date: July 14th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
What happens when you give in to the voices in your head?

Annabel is dead. And she’s not happy about it. Despite having strived to be ‘lighter than air’ back when she was alive, the consequences of that yearning haven’t quite sunk in yet.

Julia Jacobs is fat. Which Annabel immediately notices when she’s assigned as Julia’s ghostly helper (don’t even think about calling her a guardian angel). And as her helper, Julia’s problem seems pretty obvious to Annabel. Fat = problem = unhappy. Sorted.

The only trouble is that whatever is causing Julia to overeat is hidden deep within her. Annabel will have to get to know Julia to uncover this secret and ‘fix’ her. Annabel can become the voice of reason, Julia’s source of strength.

Except. . . all this time spent in someone’s head has got Annabel thinking. Not just about food, but about her family too. And that maybe happiness can mean more than eradicating all the flesh from your bones.

Witty, original and thought provoking - Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy is a story that speaks volumes on one of the pressing issues within teens. In a refreshing YA twist, Annabel is a spirit of a deceased anorexic teen who has been assigned as a guardian angel to help her schoolmate, Julia who is obese. By helping Julia, little does Annabel know that she may be helping her own self.
Two things hit me in the gut, or would if I still had one.
One: I know this girl.
Two: She's fat. If I'm supposed to save her from obesity, this is really not funny.

Honestly, Annabel was not one of those main characters in a book that you'll fall in love immediately. On the contrary, she sounded like a displeased, judgemental brat whose life was taken away from her too soon. This could hint to a rough start for many but hang in there as you'll slowly learn more about Annabel's past (living) life as she navigates through Julia's thoughts and current life.

It was also refreshing that the author panned the story out in a way that we get to listen to both sides of the extremes with Annabel reflecting on her anorexic days whilst trying to guide Julia with her eating problems. There's also an interesting plot twist that I didn't see coming which I felt was done well and cleverly slotted into the storyline. The writing was also laced with humor when it came to Annabel's monologue and the romance also grew slowly on me with its ups and downs.

An insightful read with the realistic portrayal of the struggles faced by teens, this book felt so real that my heart broke for these characters. It's not the mere talk of the eating disorder that takes centre stage of the book but it's about taking control of your life, the decisions you make and how it will affect the people around you.

You need to know deep down, in your own truest self, that you are more powerful when you're not lugging around all the flab. You are in control. You are strong. You are glorious.

With a beautiful ending that had tears welling up my eyes in the end, Nothing Tastes as Good is nothing short of a top 2016 read for me. An inspiring read not to be missed, this is one of those that will stick with me for a while.

ARC received by Hot Key Books via distributor in exchange for an honest review.

Claire Hennessy

I write YA novels and 'grown-up' short stories, drink lots of tea, teach creative writing workshops, have feministy rants on twitter and in real life, and read lots of books in various capacities (editor, reviewer, reader).

Sometimes I consider taking up a hobby, like knitting or scuba-diving, just so I have interesting things to say in author bios. But who has the time?

My new YA novel, NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD, about a snarky anorexic ghost reluctantly assigned as a 'spirit helper' to an old classmate, is available as an ebook now and will be published in paperback 14 July (Hot Key Books)

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