Title: Until It Hurts To Stop
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Expected publication: September 12th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?
In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?"
First line: "My friend Nick reaches across the cafeteria table and drops a knife into my hand."
Thoughts: I don't know how Hubbard does it, but she writes these incredibly addicting and all-consuming books that just drive me crazy! They're realistic and undoubtedly human. Though her novels are often difficult to read (UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP is no exception to this), I promise you they are completely worth it. Believe me when I say this, you will need enough time to sit down and finish the book from the beginning till the inevitable end. Basically until it hurts to stop.
I genuinely enjoyed the UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP. After all, the two main characters are obsessed with hiking thus made of win. Maggie, the protagonist, is different from all the other girls. She doesn't dress like them, she doesn't focus on her looks, and she accepts the fact that she'll never be part of the "in" crowd. When she was in junior high, Raleigh Barringer and her misfit of minions tortured Maggie. Throughout the novel, Maggie has these flashbacks of all the awfulness she has spent the past few years trying to forget. These flashbacks are, in one word, horrendous. At some point in all of our lives we've either been bullied or at least ridiculed by someone who made us feel less of ourselves (if not worthless). To me, this made Maggie all that much more relatable. I personally cannot enjoy a book if I can't relate to the main character, so all of this was a definitely plus for me.
Now, I will say that more often than not the main characters drove me absolutely insane. Nick, for example, seemed to do the complete opposite of what I thought he would do. I felt like he constantly ran away from logic. The poor guy needed to sit down and think before he acted. I can kind of understand he's dealing with a lot and is most likely hurt, but he didn't treat Maggie like she was his best friend. Same goes for Maggie and the way she treated Sylvie. Everyone kind of took advantage of each other, and I inevitably became frustrated with all of them. Also, for Nick to say he didn't want to be with someone complicated, he sure did surround himself with complicated situations. Whatever happened to bros before hoes? Chicks before pricks. Isn't this an unmentioned motto in the friendship contract?
At any rate, I adored the message behind UNTIL IT HURTS TO STOP. Stand up for yourself, but never lower yourself to their level. Life isn't always easy, and sometimes it's best to just let the past go. Move forward and let go of the hatred and memories not worth remembering. If you don't, you're always going to be stuck in the past and possibly miss out on incredible people and moments. I recommend this novel to all fans of realistic contemporary fiction.