Until It Hurts to Stop

Jennifer R. Hubbard. Viking, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-78520-9
Although many readers will relate to Maggie Camden’s insecurities, which result from the fact that she was bullied in middle school, some—like Maggie’s best girlfriend Sylvie—may be frustrated by her inability to move on with her life. By age 17, Maggie’s situation has improved considerably. The taunting has stopped, and she has found a niche for herself, hanging out with Sylvie and hiking with Nick, the boy she secretly likes. Still, Maggie feels inadequate (“How could I forget Raleigh’s words about how I make guys gag?”). When her chief tormentor moves back to town, Maggie is overcome by the fear of being targeted again. Her all-consuming worries make her unable to trust friendly overtures from classmates, support Sylvie when her friend needs her most, and become romantically involved with Nick. Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe) persuasively conveys the depth of Maggie’s despair and the lingering pain bullying inflicts, but other elements of the novel come across as artificial. It is never clear why Maggie was victimized to begin with, and her archenemy feels manufactured, as does Maggie’s eventual rebound. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/2013
Release date: 09/12/2013
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