Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even if she dies trying.
Part of the in-crowd at Providence High, she is steps away from being asked out by the most desired guy at school, winning a prom queen nomination, and her parents' approval. If she can just get skinny enough, be pretty enough, and popular enough.
But Grace is thin on the outside and fat on the inside. No amount of weight-loss ever seems enough. Convinced the melting pounds will solve her problems, every pound lost brings her closer to her goals. But flesh and bone can only hide the weight of her secret for so long.
Fans of the emotional and thought-provoking contemporary YA fiction, such as Before I Fall, Tell Me Three Things, and All The Bright Places will fall in love with Souder's heart-wrenching novel, SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE.*coming to Kindle 3/28/18*
My Review of Something of Substance
Tia Souder’s, Something of Substance, is a thought provoking work of fiction that will make the reader ponder how they view themselves and what price popularity and attention are worth.
Grace Michaels has finally infiltrated the in crowd at Providence High. Since her weight loss and transformation last summer, her fellow classmates and peers hardly remember the old Grace. The problem is there was really nothing wrong with the old Grace. The Grace that her true friends know and love is fun loving and a talented budding artist looking forward to a future in Fine Arts. Grace and her best friend and neighbor Cara are inseparable and handsome Jake, Cara’s brother, has loved Gracie for most of her life.
But things change dramatically her junior year of high school. Haunted by a weight gain the year before and her sister’s athletic talent and growing popularity, Grace is determined that nothing but a complete alteration or makeover will do. However, the pressure to be popular and remain with the in crowd causes undue stress that Grace can’t handle. Her new friends Lindsey and Jen have her convinced a prom queen nomination could be in the works and a possible new relationship with Providence High’s quarterback is on the table. Mounting pressure to be perfect leads Grace to believe her 120 lb frame is not good enough, not thin enough. Determined to become a perfect size zero Grace restricts her caloric intake to practically nothing. Angry at her sister and what she perceives is her parents’ lack of interest in her life, Grace is now consumed by only dieting and exercise. Ignoring her love of art and Jake’s attention and affection, Grace starts down a path of no return. When the scale tips at 88 lbs her true friends and sister become alarmed, but all Grace can see is the fat girl in the mirror. Not until the love from the boy next door and a tragic turn of events will Grace see the beauty of the girl in the mirror and the healing of her heart begin.
I think that Something of Substance will resonate with a lot of young girls or young adults that feel that they don’t measure up to their peers or society’s standards. This book will show its readers the misery of peer pressure and preconceived ideas of beauty and popularity. Sometimes the things we think we want are actually the very things that make us miserable. If anything, I hope this book encourages young girls to realize there is more to a person than what is on the surface. I hope it encourages them to be an independent thinker and to pursue their dreams. I hope it teaches them the true value of a genuine friend and that they are only as sick as their secrets.
In addition, I love the way Ms. Souders writes her characters. She really seems to know the teenage mindset. There are the beautiful, but shallow girls who vie for popularity while the jocks think they rock the world around them. There are the kids that just want to get through high school where they can find their niche away from the weight of the in crowd. And then there is the group of teens that have genuine friendships, encourage one another and have each others backs through thick and thin. Cara, Jake and Kelly belong to the latter group, but I have to admit of all the characters in the book, I really liked Jake. Handsome in his own right, loyal and talented in sports, he managed to keep it real and put everything in perspective. Sports are what he played, not who he was. He saw the beauty in Grace and was relentless in letting her know just how much she was loved.
All in all Something of Substance by Tia Souders was a great, thought provoking read that will be enjoyed by teens and young adults alike who are trudging through their high school years, trying to find out who they are and who they want to be.
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