I’m so happy to welcome Nyrae Dawn back to the blog today. I’ve always loved Nyrae’s writing, it’s funny, heartfelt and always swoony but her latest release, Measuring Up, really hit home with me. You can read my review here.
Seventeen-year-old Annabel Conway is tired of the Hillcrest High School elite making her life miserable because she’s not a size two. This summer, she's hiring a personal trainer to help her lose weight.
Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!
Soon, Tegan's so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn't try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.
But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…
Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself? ~
Nyrae has written this wonderful guest post about how writing her character Annabel helped her with her own struggles with body image. Take it away Nyrae!
Hey! She’s a little like me…by Nyrae Dawn
Like a lot of my stories, MEASURING UP started with a character…Annabel. I saw this girl who was struggling with the same things I do—one in particular and that’s body image problems. She came through to me fully formed. I knew who she was and how she felt. I wanted nothing more than to find a happily ever after for her.
At the time, I was dieting (like I often am) and it was amazing to go through exercising and trying to eat right, right along with this character who’s story I was breathing life into.
I started out writing a girl who was struggling with her weight, but she grew into so much more.
Yes, I relate to Annabel’s weight issues and dieting failures, but in my eyes, her story morphed into something that wasn’t just about weight. I related to how Annabel felt with Tegan or when she dealt with jerks at school.
When she looked in the mirror and wondered what other people saw when they looked at her, or how some people expected certain things out of her that weren’t who she was.
As I wrote her I was so proud of her strength and laughed at her sarcasm. In a way, I felt like I was growing with Annabel. That doesn’t happen a lot.
Even before the book released I told a lot of people, “I relate to Annabel”. Now that it’s available, I’ve realized I’m not the only one. I think there’s a little bit of Annabel in all of us. It doesn’t have to be weight issues, but I think a lot of the feelings are universal. There’s a lot she goes through in the book and they’re struggles most of us have had to face.
And she comes out on the other side better for it.
I feel sort of lucky to have a little bit of Annabel in me
Excerpt:I’m standing in front of my mirror in a pair of pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. It’s ridiculous, I know. I see myself every day, but I can’t help but study every rounded curve of my body. No inch goes unnoticed. My shiny black hair, the freckles on my nose. My eyes, like I said, I’ve always liked those. My mouth isn’t bad either, I don’t think. Plump lips are in right? I mean, ever since Angelina Jolie at least.
There’s a little mole by my collar bone. A dimple on the right side of my mouth when I smile big. I frown. It’s much smaller that way.
He said he’s looking. Tegan’s looking at me and I’m trying to figure out what he sees. I know what I see. There’s little dimple in my thigh, resting under my rear. My arms are too big. Is that what he sees? If so, why is he looking?
Turning to the side, I suck in my stomach. My boobs aren’t bad. Actually, I’m pretty proud of them. They’re nice and round. Much bigger than Em’s, but not too big, if you ask me. She always says she wishes hers were more like mine. Are they what he sees?
Or is that not what he meant at all? That he’s looking deeper than what he sees on the outside? My willingness to help him with his brother seems big to him. Like it actually meant something. Like it tells him something about me. Maybe I’m studying myself in the mirror for nothing and it’s really the helpful girl who pulled a chair from a van that he’s talking about.
I want both to be true. I like being seen for the inside, but for once, I’d love for someone to look at me too. To think I’m beautiful.
Author: website | Twitter | Goodreads
Buy the book: Measuring Up
Related reviews & guest posts: What a Boy Wants | What a Boy Needs Blog Tour | Guest post with Aspen & Sebastian | What a Boy Needs