Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan@bookslayereads where each Sunday a standalone book (not part of a series) that I loved or would recommend will be featured!
I love that meme as it takes little time to do (I’m always running like the real busy bee I am) AND I get to promote a book I really loved. This is the perfect idea for me!
If you want to play, feel free but don’t forget to tag Megan’s blog.
This is my second Standalone Sunday and I’d like to feature Weightless by Kandi Steiner
What I really loved in that book? Everyone can find something he/she experienced one day in his/her life in it. Everyone has sometimes been at a turning point in his/her life and decided to make a choice that would alter the future. Everyone has been or known a Natalie and will love this girl to pieces.
Have you ever felt at a turning point in your life? That moment you feel will change your future, forge a new path? Well I did, some thirty years ago. Like Natalie, our main character, in a decisive moment I opened my eyes. It was crystal clear. I had to change, I had to do something.
This story completely took me by surprise as I’d never read one of Kandi Steiner’s books before and did not know what to expect. Without the incredibly supportive review of another GR friend, I would never have taken a chance with this story but I would have missed a real and true gem.
In some way I recognized myself in Natalie’s battle. You probably were/are or know a Natalie yourself. Someone a little awkward, someone on the outskirts, a girl uncomfortable in her own skin. Someone you want to hug and show how deeply beautiful she is.
Our main character is Natalie Poxton, from Poxton family. Her stepdad virtually owns the town. She’s just finished high school and her boyfriend broke up with her to go with another, shinier, skinnier girl. Natalie is heartbroken and feels like the ugly duck, too chubby, too common, neither beautiful nor captivating just… not enough. After a painful incident where the new girl will mock hers and I sooo wanted to slap that mean girl, Natalie can’t live like that anymore.
»I remembered covering myself at the beach when all my friends laid out in two pieces. I remembered having to shop at a completely different store for my prom dress…I remembered it all, all of a sudden, all at once-all in striking details. It was the first time in my life that I realized I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.” “It was the first time in my life I fully admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy with who I was. Or how I looked. Or how I felt.”
In this defining moment, she’s determined to take control and change her life.
”Poor Natalie Poxton. But I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. If my life was a story, I wanted to take control of the pen.”
Her mother will make an appointment with a trainer at the country club, someone known to work miracles.
”I knew right then and there, on a warm Sunday evening with my feet sinking into the sand at the edge of the ocean, that this summer would be the hardest of my life. It would either change me for the better or shatter me completely.”
But nothing of worth comes easy and Natalie will need determination and an iron will to reach her goal. She’ll sweat blood and tears as she comes from a long way. ”I could do anything, be anyone, if only I had the courage.”
Now she’s decided to do something about it and take control, she did not feel any other support around her. Her parents were always gone, her friends turned their backs on her as they liked her only for her money she has no boyfriend anymore and her best friend Willow left town to take summer classes in college. She does not know what she wanted to do… she was lost.
It will be a lonely journey for Natalie to morph the chrysalis into a butterfly.
Her coach, Rhodes, will play a crucial part in her transformation. He’ll push her shout at her, he’ll be relentless. All you’ve seen in movies when the trainer kicks his client’s behind you get here!
Rhodes was a mystery gorgeous but closed off. He was the high school bad boy always in juvie turned hot personal trainer. He made some wrong choices because he needed money for his own reasons and I did not expect we would get “that” when I ordered the book. Rhodes truly grew on me, he was like those Russian dolls, always another layer to get to the core and he hid a bright and surprising personality.
He tried to keep his distance with Natalie as he felt guilty, unworthy. He did not want to taint her with his dirt but was attracted to her and blew hot and cold, rejecting Natalie more than once.
”Why? Because I’m the only one who’s actually fat?”…”You’re not, Natalie. You’re weightless. The world hasn’t touched you yet. You’re not heavy with the weight of pain and guilt.”
Patiently Rhodes will help Natalie to gain confidence, to become a new woman, the one she was destined to be while she helped him to see his true worth.
”It was as if we were finding our confidence together-me in my body, Rhodes in his ability to be better than his past.”
I loved so many things in this book: the complexity or the characters, their evolution, the story inside the story (I did not really see it coming even if we have little clues here and there)… I cheered when Natalie shut Shay’s mouth: Ha! Take that Shay!!! My heart hurt for Natalie and I could easily see a younger, less confident self in her. I was proud of her accomplishment. And of course I had butterflies in my belly each time she trained with Rhodes and he decided to show his charming side.
It was my first Kandi Steiner book but it certainly won’t be my last.
Some more parting quotes:
”Joy wasn’t made by the destination, but rather discovered in the journey.”
”And maybe that’s the thing about weight – thought it hurts when we feel its added pressure on our lives, it only makes us stronger in the end.”