Sunday, February 9, 2014

Running Lean by Diana L. Sharples

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310734975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310734970


I really love how this book deals with present day issues involving teens, especially teen girls. This is a rough read but a good one and one I would recommend to reader teens and adults.
Stacey is a bright, talented girl who battled weight trouble in her past. She has so many inner demons due to some traumatizing moments in her young childhood, and she can't seem to shake them. Because of this she isn't comfortable in her own skin, and while others see her as pretty she just sees fat. Her friend Zoe is on a diet and continuously encourages Stacey on her dieting journey. However, Stacey takes things to far with her dieting and begins purging food. She becomes clever in her ways of hiding food and making it seem like she is eating when she isn't, and nobody is none the wiser in her presence. She wears baggy clothes to hide her weight so nobody needs question her. In love with her boyfriend Calvin she fears losing him most of all, but can't get her thoughts and actions straight enough to make all well between them. 

Calvin is a teen boy who helps his father work their farm. Recently losing his older brother he has his own demons to battle in the sense of emotion and loss. Hardly wanting to deal with life's harsh realities his dirtbike and girlfriend Stacey are his only moments of release and happiness. His dirtbike is ancient and begins to have problem after problem. If that isn't enough of a worry for Calvin his girlfriend Stacey begins to act unlike herself. He notices a few signs where she doesn't eat and he begins to worry about the amount of weight she is losing. When she starts passing out and he figures out some of her secrets of hiding or getting rid of food it's like a punch in the stomach. He urges her to see a doctor and stop the madness but she shrugs him off. He just can't bear to lose another person he loves in his life so he struggles with what should be done to save Stacey.

My favorite thing about this book is that the author hits a major issue head on. Anorexia, bulimia, eating disorders, etc., is something a lot of teens these days are going through. Media tends to portray "beautiful" as super skinny. We see it everywhere: magazines, commercials, movies, fashion, etc. In reality few realize that everyone is beautiful and nobody was created to be the same, but due to everything our impressionable teens are seeing it's hard for them to realize that they are all beautiful in their own way. Teens do not understand the dangers of eating disorders and generally become good at hiding them from loved ones. Not only does this book show some of the beginning signs of anorexia and health risks, but it shows that if someone you love needs help you have to just be there and get them help. Often teens with these disorders do not see them as a disorder and they do not see anything wrong with their train of thought. I love that this book does not sugarcoat anything of the teen lifestyle but keeps things at a clean level without getting too graphic. I felt this is a novel very real and down to earth. The author does a fabulous job of writing so you find yourself lost in the story, and characters.
I love the balance between these two main characters. Stacey is passionate and outgoing while Calvin is more reserved and laid back. The characters are so different but mesh so well, and reading that was wonderful.
I was hoping to read more about some of the other characters in the book. I felt left hanging when it came to Stacey's sister Renee, as well as with Calvin's friends Tyler and Flannery. I would have liked just a little bit more when it came to them, but maybe they will end up with their own stories, who knows?
I love the faith in this book. No matter how hard things get and no matter how often a lot of these characters want to give up they pray and let God lead them. It's a great way to show teens that God can always overcome any obstacle, and with God they can overcome anything.


This book is available in   Print   Kindle   Nook

Here's a book trailer:





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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