Saturday, February 27, 2016

Review: Hollow Beauty by Khristina Chess

When tall, gorgeous Brody asks Olivia to the prom, she’s ecstatic—until he suggests that she use the two months before the dance to lose some weight. Does he think she’s fat? His comment sends Olivia on a spiral of insecurity and dangerously rapid weight loss that borders on anorexia.
As her pounds vanish, her friendship deepens with Ross, the new prep cook at the diner where she works. Despite his mysterious limp, he doesn’t suffer crippling low self-esteem like Olivia does; usually, she can’t even look at herself in the mirror anymore. But when she’s riding dirt bikes and searching for caves with Ross, she doesn’t feel ugly or fat, just herself again—hanging out and having fun.
With Brody, instead of finding the romance and true love she had hoped for, she feels like a terrified rabbit that he’s going to devour. She refuses to think about that. She’s almost thin enough to be beautiful for the prom.
And then the unthinkable happens.

Rating: 1 Star

I have read books that dealt with similar issues to Hollow Beauty, such as Wintergirls or Paperweight. Eating disorders among teenage girls are a sensitive topic and can be written about with thought, care, and respect. I found none of these things in Hollow Beauty.


To begin with, Olivia decides to diet because some boy she barely knows asks her to prom and says she can diet until then. What a terrible & shallow character to decide to diet on a whim like that. Olivia has no self esteem or self respect.

If you're going to decided to lose weight because some jerk makes an offhanded comment, you don't get to be angry (even silently) with your friend when she says you're slim enough already after seeing your diet change to practically nothing. Though, I don't believe she'd noticed in only a day, two at the max.

For someone who explicitly said she doesn't have an anorexic or bulimic bone in her body, suddenly saying "Eating doesn't make sense. Won't I lose the weight faster if I starve?" is absurd. Olivia starts to sound stupider by the minute.

How many times does this need to be said: you do NOT fall in love with someone after a week! Also, it's rude to make plans, then ditch that person because something "better" came along. I can give her a little credit for at least telling Ross she can't come and why because lying never ends well, but it's still a rotten thing to do.

How is it that Olivia can spend the entire book knowing what the signs of an eating disorder are, keeps saying she'll never do that, but turns around and does it? The way she's doing it makes her look like an idiot. I'm supposed to believe she's 18? 

Now some comments on her dating Brody.

First of all, letting a guy win because he can't handle being beaten by a girl is a sign of a bad relationship. Second, letting him win shouldn't translate to going further sexually than you're ready for.

"Was I crazy for even considering sex with him?"

YES you loon! He's manipulative and pressuring you to sleep with him. He's a narcissistic asshole you've let destroy you with one comment. Why the hell are you still with him?!

You're repulsed by the idea of having sex with him, but hey, maybe if you drink you'll be able to go through with it? What kind of thinking is that?

OK, no. When you're thinking that drinking will help you relax and maybe the problem in a relationship is you because you won't loosen up and have sex, that sounds like an emotionally abusive relationship.

Now, Ross.

Ross is at least a little creepy. He is watching Olivia so closely he notices teeny tiny things, like the fit of her jeans, the bones in her wrist, etc. If someone told me that, regardless of whether we were friends or not, I'd be weirded out.

I can't say that jumping from one relationship to the next is such a smart idea, especially when the last one was ridiculously abusive. Leaving that, dealing with an eating disorder (yes, that IS what Olivia had), and becoming majorly involved with the next guy just isn't smart. And really, how many ED people can quit cold turkey and "heal" themselves with no help whatsoever? It isn't realistic and gives the wrong idea about someone with this sort of issue.


The plot sounded like it could be a great book chronicling Olivia's story, but it ended up being terrible.

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