Fourteen, by CM Smith
Published by: TWCS Publishing House
Release Date: July 28, 2011
Publication Type: eBook (172 pages)
Source: eBook provided by publisher
Audience: YA (ages 14+)
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Arianna Weller has never fit in with the other kids at her high school. The daughter of the only lawyer in town, she's overweight compared to everyone else. Being picked on and put down by her peers has become normal—expected. When she has a bad run-in with Evan, the boy she's had a crush on for 4 years, she decides to bide her time until she’s out of high school and off to college where she can start over. Evan Drake has never had to worry about not being popular. He's on the baseball team, has more friends than he knows what to do with, and he doesn't care about anyone that's not in his "circle." So when he is forced to work with Arianna for a science fair project, he decides that dealing with her is just an unfortunate circumstance… until he sees what he's done to her. The road to forgiveness and acceptance is not smooth. Overcoming peer pressure, jealousy, miscommunications, and social prejudices is never easy— especially in high school. Evan and Arianna have to learn things the hard way and answer one important question. Is it worth it?
The second I started this book I began to cry. I could relate to Arianna and have felt the way she feels my entire life. I haven’t read a book that affected me like this in years. Arianna is in high school, and can’t wait to get out to go to college and get away from the idiots at her school. She is taunted and physically harassed all the time. According to her, she has been the butt of jokes since middle school and it continues to get worse. She has built up a shield in her mind and for the most part, can ignore them, but every now and then, the taunts hit their mark and she is crushed.
She has had web pages made about her, videos of others making fun of her posted on the Internet and texts sent through the school. The irony is that she is a size 14- hence the title- she has been running and has come down several sizes. She is a comfortable, healthy, size 14; which she argues, is the same size as Marilyn Monroe. Her classmates don’t see the change. She is forced to be science partners with a boy who used to be her playmate when they were little kids, and since middle school, he’s been the most popular boy in school. He turned on her and was one of the worst offenders when it came to teasing her about her weight. Being partnered, forces him to face the type of person he has become.
I found Arianna to be one of the strongest females I have read about. She stands up for herself, doesn’t let him off the hook and is assertive. He is struggling with is opinion of himself and the image of her he has embedded in his head. He decides it is worth it to get past that and get to know her. Will she be able to trust him with everything she will need to share with him if they are to be friends again? She will have to take a risk and ultimately, he will be taking a risk as well. It is up to the reader to decide who they believe is suffering the most.
I enjoyed the book and the way it ended, until I got to the Epilogue. I was content with the ending and then to read what was happening 10 years later, was a let down for me. I would rather have let my own imagination wander and create their ending than have the author tell me. I found it to be a bit contrived and difficult to swallow. Things like the Epilogue happen in the movies, but not in a good book. I LOVED THE NOVEL. Please don’t misunderstand me. I only wish there had not been what felt like a forced ending.
(This rating of 4 birds isn't enough.....4.5 would be more accurate. It would have been a 5 for me, had it not been for the Epilogue.)
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