I have so much to say about this book so please bare with me. A little bit ago I declared I was done with Contemporary YA because I felt I was getting too old for it. This book is definitely something I would typically not gravitate towards either but I adore both authors so I figured I would give it a shot. And I am so glad I went with my instinct and read it. Not only did I finish it within one day because I couldn’t put it down, this story will stick with me for a while. I honestly thought going into this book it was going to be focusing on Peyton’s weight and how she isn’t defined by it and just a bunch of that. Even though this series is called “Redefining Me” and the book itself is called “The F Word” there is so, so, so, so, so, much more to this amazing and uplifting story. The six friends in the story grew up together and after the accident that one night, everything changed. Peyton’s brother Cooper is killed. Cooper’s twin brother Julian leaves. Peyton’s best friend Cameron leaves to “train” at an Olympic facility and doesn’t contact Peyton the whole time he is gone. Addison and Avery no longer associate with them and become the “jock” and “cheerleader” personality that they are believed to be. Nahri is the only one who tries to hold them all together.
Peyton feels abandoned and left alone so she turns to food for comfort. As the story continues, we learn that Peyton has always struggled with her weight but before felt good about herself. Once she realizes how she’s “let herself go”, she wants to change and lose some of the weight. So let’s address this right now. I loved how the authors portrayed this. Peyton wasn’t comfortable with herself and wanted to change. She didn’t want to become a stick or obtain an unhealthy weight but she wanted to feel good about herself. And the support she had was amazing. While she had her friends and family constantly telling her how amazing and beautiful she was, they also supported her in losing weight in a healthy manner of working out and dieting. They realized that this was something she wanted for herself and supported her. I felt this on such a personal level and was so happy to see that she was being supported in this way. Along with the support, she also received backlash from people who didn’t understand. There were multiple points throughout the novel that Peyton was still made fun of her weight even though she had lost up to 30 pounds. It is unfortunate that people like this do exist but I thought the authors did a fantastic job on creating a positive message. A lot of it had to do with Peyton believing in herself even if she was being harassed. It was so great to see Peyton stand up for herself in such a positive light and never give up on what SHE wanted for herself. Again, what an amazing message the authors have sent to the readers - and this hits on all readers, not just the young ones.
Along with Peyton being true to herself and finding her confidence, she brings more her surroundings in means of support. Peyton had created an app that is meant to be an anonymous source to talk about any situation that needs to be addressed. With this space she has created, there was absolutely no bullying but only positive messages. Again, what a great way to send a message of positivity and the authors incorporated it in the most perfect way. This plays a huge part in the book and while some of the lines were very cheesy and cliche - they fit and it that much better.
The other point of view provided was Cameron. And oh my goodness did I feel for his character also. He was affected a couple different ways from the accident and each one really pulls on the heartstrings. Cameron is lost and confused by many things and doesn’t know how to deal with them. I loved seeing how he came into his own issues as well. While he never believed he was good enough, he slowly learns the things that are truly important to him. Cameron and Peyton were exactly what each other needed to heal, even though it takes them time to realize it. One of my favorite things about Cameron is how true he is. Throughout most of the novel he has a hard time expressing his feelings but in the end, he finds his true words and they are perfect.
There are so many other things I could go on and on about this novel but it was so good in so many ways. The messages were clear and the authors presented them in such a good way. This book was a lot more than redefining the characters and stereotypes but learning how to heal after a great loss. I was not expected to be moved by this book but I truly was. It exceeded all of my expectations and the characters were astounding.
Overall, The F Word by Michelle Macqueen and Ann Maree Craven was an amazing book. This review was the longest one I’ve written so far and I didn’t even encompass all the wonderful things I had to say about the book. I was truly blown away by the message this book held and how much deeper it went than I originally thought. There was so much to this book and I recommend it to everyone. Not only does it send a positive message about believing in yourself, it teaches a lot about healing after an extreme situation.