Not Enough by Mia Hoddell
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Smashwords on November 16, 2015
Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Goodreads
Neve Colvin isn’t good enough. As an introvert, her life is a never-ending list of labels and criticism. Pressures to change come from everyone—including the one person she thought would love her unconditionally … her mother. All Neve wants is acceptance, but surrounded by extroverts it’s a wish that’s nearly impossible to fulfil.
For Neve there’s only one solution: anyone disapproving must go. Even if it means only one person will remain.
That person is her lifelong friend Blake Reynolds. He’s seen the fights with her mum, the breakdowns caused by attacks on her personality, and the battles for acceptance. Each time she is left shattered and questioning who she is, he’s the one to collect the pieces of her broken heart. Shielding her from the cruelty is his only concern. But how can he protect her when Neve is concealing a secret so dark?
Blake thinks he knows everything about her, and with their relationship developing, he assumes Neve trusts him fully. However, there is one memory Neve is too ashamed of to share. Revealing it will test Blake’s loyalty beyond what she could ever ask, and Blake is the only friend she can’t afford to lose. He’s the one person capable of dragging her from the darkness plaguing her, but with pressures to conform increasing, even Blake may not be enough to pull her back this time.
Not Enough follows the story of Neve Colvin, an introverted artist who is seriously misunderstood and abused by her family. Only one person seems to be ok with her quiet nature, and that’s her best friend Blake. Blake’s always been there for her, or at least, that’s what she’s always told him. But he doesn’t know the extent of the darkness in her past; and if she can help it, he never will.
Not Enough may use a familiar formula, but that doesn’t make it any less important or enjoyable to read. There isn’t necessarily much new here; the story is about a quiet girl abused by her awful mother, who is ‘saved’ by a guy she’s always liked, and therefore moves on into a better life with him, away from her past. But stories like Neve’s are important, especially for people like me who have never had to face the kind of things people in Neve’s position have had to face. It reminds us to be sympathetic and kind to everyone we meet, because you never know what they may be going through. It also helps us remember that it’s not bad if someone is different from you. It doesn’t make them less of a person if they don’t like the things you like. It just makes them different.
Blake is certainly an immensely likable character; he’s confident, but not alpha male cocky. He’s sweet and adorable and cares about Neve above all else. He knows the importance of communicating, and he isn’t about to let Neve’s bitterness fester. Neve, on the other hand, is not nearly as likable, although I didn’t dislike her. She’s going through some really tough stuff with a verbally abusive mother, and that would make anyone stressed and sullen and miserable.
Admirably, Neve puts on a brave face and tries to be happy for much of the book. You are in her head so you know that she’s really not happy, but she does try keep moving on with her life, even though things are crumbling around her.
Neve’s journey from self-loathing to self respect is a rocky road, but wouldn’t it be for anyone? That’s why it’s a book worth reading, because it’s a story many of us can relate to. I found the ‘introvert vs. extrovert’ theme very interesting as well, as that’s not a huge theme in YA/NA, but it’s a very important one. Introverts are often completely misunderstood by extroverts (I’ve had this happen plenty in my own life), and while I’m not putting the blame solely on extroverts, it’s far rarer that I see an extrovert being completely misunderstood by an introvert. Neve likes to do introvert things, not going to clubs, or dating random guys. Her mother refuses to even try to understand her daughter, instead pushing for her to do all of these things that make Neve immensely uncomfortable. A huge theme of the book wasn’t even pointing the finger at anyone, it was just about communicating, and how that communication can lead to a better understand of people who are different from you. Which is always an important theme to promote.
This is a love story, both between Neve and Blake, and Neve and herself. The romance is adorable, two friends growing closer, but Neve learning to stand up for herself was the more powerful part of the story. The romance was just the icing on the cake.
Not Enough is a great next read for fans of Katie McGarry and Simone Elkeles. It follows characters dealing with real issues and dealing with them in healthy, honestly quiet mature ways. If Mia Hoddell is not already on your Kindle, you should head on over to Amazon right now to remedy that tragedy. You won’t regret it.
Romance: Making out, a little graphic detail, but sex is only mentioned, not detailed
Language: up the F-word, verbal abuse
Recommended for: 16+
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About the Author: Mia Hoddell
#1 Amazon bestselling author Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading, loves anything romantic, and has an overactive imagination that keeps her up until the early hours of the morning.
Mia has written over ten titles including her Seasons of Change series, the Chequered Flag series, the Elemental Killers series, and her standalone novels False Finder and Not Enough.
Her favourite genres are contemporary romance or romantic suspense, and with an ever growing list of ideas she is trying to keep up with the speed at which her imagination generates them. She also designs book covers on her website M Designs.
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