Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!
Soon, Tegan's so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn't try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.
But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…
Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself?
Annabel struggles with insecurities, most of which have to do with her outward appearance and are a result of the way her Mom and other kids at school treat her. She's been made to feel that "big" isn't beautiful so she decides to make a change. That change involves Tegan, the hot "Gym Boy" who becomes her personal trainer. When she first meets him, she assumes he's just like everyone else in her life...ever other skinny, pretty person whose made her feel bad about herself. But the more she gets to know Tegan, the more she realizes looks can be deceiving and everyone struggles with something, even the "perfect" people.
As Annabel works toward her goal she learns that strength and belief in yourself is a beautiful thing and while outward appearances matter to a certain extent, it's what's on the inside that matters most.
One of the things I really enjoy about Nyrae's writing is how her stories are so relateable. Like every other female on the planet, I know what it's like to worry about outward appearances and I completely understand feeling like I don't measure up to society's definition of physical beauty. That pressure is intensified when you grow up with a literal beauty queen among your ranks.
It's no secret that negative words have a way of sticking around a lot longer than positive ones especially when they come from people you expect to find unconditional love in. It's painful when how much you weigh, what size you wear or whether your naturally curly hair makes your face look "heavier" is the focus. After awhile it becomes really difficult to look in a mirror and be happy with what you see.
One of the best lessons I've learned over the years is that it doesn't matter if you're a size 2 or a size 22, knowing who you are on the inside and learning to love that "you" is a big step toward being healthy and happy. Beauty is fleeting but the you on the inside lasts a lifetime.