Book Review: Nothing Tastes as Good by @clairehennessy @HotKeyBooks


Book review of Nothing tastes as good

Published: July 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Bought from shop

Don’t call her a guardian angel. Annabel is dead – but she hasn’t completely gone away. Annabel immediately understands why her first assignment as a ghostly helper is to her old classmate: Julia is fat. And being fat makes you unhappy. Simple, right?

As Annabel shadows Julia’s life in the pressured final year of school, Julia gradually lets Annabel’s voice in, guiding her thoughts towards her body, food and control.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. Spending time in Julia’s head seems to be having its own effect on Annabel . . . And she knows that once the voices take hold, it’s hard to ignore them.


I don't like Annabel. But that's OK. I don't think we're supposed to. We all have an Annabel inside us. That nagging voice that tells us we're never good enough, never thin enough, never smart enough. We all have our own Annabel in need of silencing.

Annabel doesn't want to be described as a guardian angel. She's more of a spirit guide who's been chosen to guide Julia, a school girl with dreams of becoming a journalist. The only difference is Annabel

From the start Annabel only seems concerned with Julia's physical appearance. She is sure this is why she has been sent to help. To rid this girl of her rolls and curves. And who better to help than a girl who was an expert in hiding. Hiding food, hiding her weight hiding the truth about the illness that killed her. But it's OK. Now she has the chance to make it all OK by "fixing" Julia.

“Boys don't go for fat girls. They talk about wanting 'real women', but what they mean is big tits. Not thighs, not bellies, not fat bums. They want skin and bone.”

Annabel drives her own thoughts into Julia's head. She must be thin. She must say no. That is the only way she can succeed.

“Every time you say ‘no thank you’ to food, you say ‘yes please’ to skinny.”

I like the way Claire handled the many pressures girls face in school: Grades, boys, sex, body image. There is a dangerous misconception that anorexia and bulimia are caused by images in magazines. These issues are mental and the physical manifestations (starving, binging purging) are a result of this. They are not the cause.

I didn't really warm to Annabel at any point, but again I'm not sure if the reader was supposed to. The most important message is that Annabel finally started to realise that Julia's weight problems were not just physical, but mental too. She helps her to overcome her demons and to deal with the people who have wronged her.

The book is not a roller coaster ride. You won't be on the edge of your seat but it will make you sit back and think, and that's never a bad thing.


★★★★ ☆

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