(Belated) ARC Review - Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
Happy Monday everyone! I have a different, fun book review for y'all today - Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. Now, this book wasn't perfect, and after a particularly problematic exchange early on, I almost DNFed it. But I'm glad I didn't, because then I wouldn't have this review to write today.
Janey Sweet is the CEO of B, a wedding dress design company that she runs with her childhood best friend Beau. Since her separation, she's put on a little bit of weight, and was photographed eating a bruffin at a fashion show. This causes Beau to put her on a leave of absence to lose some weight, and she gets caught up in the crazy New York City fitness world. There is a moral of the story at the end and everything.
3 Things I Loved
*Note: I had some trouble coming up with three distinct things that I loved, because this book isn't going to get a super high review from me. Read on to find out why.*
- Janey's voice. Janey is our narrator, and she is funny and charming and would be even better if she didn't allow her friends to say such problematic things. But you know.
- Her two love interests. Okay, these two were actually some of the highlights of the book. Hugh is completely charming, and Jacob is sweet, and their scenes were some of the only ones that made me want more.
- Janey's memories of her parents. Both of Janey's parents died within a year of when the story takes place, and her memories of them were pure and sweet and loving. And when she finds the letter from her mom? I teared up.
Oh hell yes. There is all kinds of shaming in this book - fat-shaming and skinny-shaming run rampant, as does the shaming of people who exercise too much and the shaming of people who have a lot of money and not enough money and it just goes on and on. That part made me super uncomfortable. But this. This excerpt is what almost made me DNF the book at 13%.
Content warning: I don't even know what to label it, so let's go with YIKES.
"When did you become a lesbian?" Janey asked, surprised only because Ivy's daddy was a very well-known Baptist preacher. "I'm not full gay yet. I just identify as LGBTQ right now." Ivy shook her high ponytail. "Anyway, I'm having the best sex of my life with a chick and she's wonderful. I think maybe everyone is a little bit gay these days. I know a lot of divorcees who go gay."
I don't even know how to address how problematic that is! I'm horrified that that exchange made it through editing. There are so many things I could say, but I'll leave it at YIKES and NO PLEASE.
This is all on top of the fact that there wasn't really a plot? I never knew where the book was going until I got to the moral at the end? It was kind of weird.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I've read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good, but not something I'd reread
- Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
I gave this book three stars on Goodreads, and I'm trying to figure out how that translates to my color rating system, and how my feelings and thoughts have continued to grow and mature as I've thought about this book. That exchange early on is so problematic that I think I'm going to do something I haven't done yet in a book review here - I'm going to give Fitness Junkie an ORANGE rating. I can't get past the problems, now that I'm thinking back on the book as a whole. If there was a clear plot, maybe I could bump it to yellow, but the whole thing felt a bit like a waste of time.
Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. And also, if someone has seen or read the finished, published version on this book and that exchange has been cut out, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I would be happy to rerate higher, knowing that sexuality is correctly addressed and is even attempted to be understood in this book.
Happy reading, y'all!