There are some voices in contemporary young adult literature that do not seem to get enough recognition. Jennifer Hubbard is one of those authors that I wish more people would read. She writes these excellent, realistic young adult books that just cut right to the heart of you. After reading The Secret Year, I kept an eye out for Hubbard’s books and have taken a keen interest in her latest release – Until It Hurts To Stop, a book that takes on the difficult topic of bullying, but in what I felt was a pretty new way.
The main character of Until It Hurts To Stop, Maggie Camden, was the victim of some vicious bullying in middle school. It’s taken her years, but she’s gotten past it, or so she thinks. You see, Maggie has new friends who genuinely care about her – Nick, Luis, and Sylvie. She’s enjoying high school. A big part of this is because her main tormentor, Raleigh Barringer, has moved to Italy. Raleigh moves back and all of a sudden it’s as though Maggie has not made any progress in her self confidence or self esteem. Until It Hurts To Stop by Jennifer Hubbard is all about how Maggie moves past her victimization and finds self worth, it just takes a while for her to get there.
Frankly, I LOVED the main character of Until It Hurts To Stop, because I think that I saw something of myself in her. I mean, I was not bullied very much. More that as a kid I was very shy, very quite and um, not quite as economically advantaged as some of my peers. I carried around low self esteem for years and you know, sometimes you think you get past it, but then someone or something can trigger it all again. I can just relate to Maggie, because that’s what happened to her. She thinks she is cured and moved on, but then all her progress just disappears when Raleigh is on the scene. I just felt empathy for her so deeply while reading, and sympathy too, because I know that feel. I also loved that she had interesting hobbies – piano, woodworking, and hiking. Girl is an introvert after my own heart. I thought Hubbard did a superb job making Maggie into a well rounded, relatable protagonist.
Hubbard’s writing style is one that lends itself to ease of reading. By this, I basically mean that Until It Hurts To Stop is written in a very straightforward manner. It’s told in first person and I just fell right into the plot and kind of felt all the things immediately. I am not sure if this is from the story being about things that are triggers for me or not. Hubbard certainly captured the emotions and battle scars low self esteem in childhood can leave perfectly, without making the main character pitiable, if that makes sense. OH and you guys, the pacing with this book is kind of fantastic if you are looking for a quick catch up on your reading challenge sort of book.
I think my favorite thing about Until It Hurts To Stop, besides being able to connect on a sort of deep level with the main character, was the romance. Maggie has been friends with Nick for a lot of her life, but they went to different middle schools so he never played witness to her torment. I mean, he would see her after school and such, because their moms are friends. Anyways, Maggie and Nick go hiking together like all the time and well a kiss happens between them BUT YOU GUYS nothing comes of it and we get some awesome teen angst and the will they won’t they. It’s kind of fantastic how the romance plays out and well, yeah it’s kind of dramatic, but overall I liked the progression this aspect of Until It Hurts To Stop took.
Friends, Jennifer Hubbard’s latest book is a slim, little gem that captivated my attention. Until It Hurts To Stop is a relatable story without the over the top bullying ‘message’. Readers who want more than your typical ‘after school special’ issue book would do well to check a copy of Until It Hurts To Stop out of their library.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher Via Netgalley
Other reviews of Until It Hurts To Stop by Jennifer Hubbard:
Addicted 2 Novels – “you will need enough time to sit down and finish the book ”
The Young Folks – “leaves readers to reflect on their own lives”
Just A Couple More Pages – “I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever read a more perfect ending for a book”
Books by Jennifer Hubbard:
The Secret Year