I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is February 7, 2017.
Raesha will to do whatever it takes to win Nationals. For her, competing isn't just about the speed of her horse or the thrill of the win. It's about honoring her mother's memory and holding onto a dream they once shared. For an athlete, every second counts. Raesha knows minus five on the scale will let her sit deeper in her saddle, make her horse lighter on his feet. And lighter, leaner, faster gives her the edge she needs over the new girl on the team, a girl who keeps flirting with Raesha's boyfriend and making plans with her best friend. So she focuses on minus five. But if she isn't careful, she's going to lose more than just the people she loves, she's going to lose herself to lighter, leaner, faster...
I wish I had known when I requested this one that it was written in verse. I am kind of picky when it comes to those because there have only been a few that I have really enjoyed. I was really interested in the premise of a girl (Rae) who becomes anorexic because she wants to be lighter for her horseback championship. In some ways, this book was well done. I thought the portrayal of her eating disorder was very realistic. Rae starts out like any other girl. She is concerned about her weight yes, but she doesn't start out thinking that she needs to lose so much weight and she is going to stop eating to do it. It's just about losing five more pounds. But then she decides to lose just five more . . . and so on and so on. She constantly obsesses about food and she feels less hungry the longer she goes without food. Rae constantly compares herself herself to the new girl in town, Kierra. It's annoying, but I get it. I loved the family stuff. Rae's mom was a horseback rider and she died years ago, but she is very close to her father.
I was not a fan of the people in Rae's life. Everyone notices Rae's eating disorder, but no one seems to want to do anything about it. Her best friend, Asia, seemed more annoyed about Rae not eating than concerned. She would call out Rae for not eating in front of everyone and she would just dismiss Rae when she wouldn't eat like Asia wanted her to. And Rae's boyfriend was no better. Cody seemed supportive enough at the beginning, but he continues spending time with Kierra, knowing that it bugs Rae. And when Rae loses all that weight, does he seem concerned? Not really. He makes a comment about how no one likes to hug a skeleton. Really? Crazy. Part of the problem I had with this book was the boy drama. I wanted more about the eating disorder and also more about the horseback rising championships. The horseback riding was kind of a subplot and there wasn't as much written about the competition aspect as I would have liked. And I hated that Rae spent so much of the book mad at Kierra for nothing and worried about whether she was stealing her best friend and her boyfriend. It kind of overshadowed the eating disorder part.
My other problem was with the writing. Honestly, the narrative was just not that good. It didn't even seem like verse so much as a regular narrative that was formatted differently. Maybe the unique formatting was an attempt to add more depth to the story, but I thought it fell flat. I just couldn't connect emotionally to the characters. It was an okay story, but the combination of the boy drama and the narrative just disappointed me.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.