Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Portrait for Toni by Annette Lyon

Toni has no idea what she’d do without her best friend, Carter. Who else would she be able to vent to about her parents, her job at the dance studio, or her latest relationship woes? When Toni’s father lands in the hospital, Carter, as always, is there for her.

That is, until he starts questioning Toni, saying he thinks she has an eating disorder. Then she starts dating Clint, the hot new guy at the studio, and somehow that puts a deeper wedge between her and Carter. When she’s hospitalized after an on-stage collapse, and Carter stupidly starts in with advice about food and weight, she sends him away—then instantly regrets it.

One night after a performance, Toni tries to mend the hurt between them. She goes to visit Carter at work, in his art classroom at the high school. She doesn’t see him there, and instead, she stumbles onto proof that he has feelings for her that go way beyond those of a friend. Toni is left with the very real prospect of losing Carter forever, unless somehow she can return his feelings—but that’s impossible.

Isn’t it?

Jewelz Review~

A Portrait for Toni by Annette Lyon is a beautifully crafted story of friendship, trials, love, and perserverance. I'll admit I didn't read the "blurb" before I started the book, so I had no preconceived notions about the storyline. When I was about 3/4 of the way through I took a second to read the blurb & quickly wished I hadn't. See, I hadn't reached the part of the story that the third paragraph of the blurb explains. Ugh... I would have liked to have not known that was how she found out. Hmm, maybe I should remove it from this post? (j/k)

All joking aside, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't all lollipops and sunshine - real life rarely ever is. In typical "New Adult" style, this contemporary novel has lots of emotional highs and lows - there's drama, pain, love, passion, sorrow, and loss. But unlike most of the NA books available, this book is clean. There's a few curse words and some kissing, but otherwise Ms. Lyon has managed to write a poignant novel that contains all the "trademark" elements of NA without graphic language and sexual scenes.  Kudos :)

At the root, A Portrait for Toni is about two best friends, Toni and Carter. They've been friends since high school and have relied on one another for years. Unbeknownst to Toni, Carter has harbored romantic feelings for her all along, but he has kept them to himself. Toni has been harboring a secret of her own though. For the past few years she has been suffering from anorexia and bulimia. The two friends support one another through their trials, their romantic interests (Toni with Clint and Carter with Brooke) and life in general. Ultimately, they have to decide - do they give a romantic relationship a chance, or do they go their separate ways?

There was a lot of beauty and passion in this novel - Carter's art, Toni's dancing. So much depth is added to the storyline and the characters because of their passions and interests. I loved that Carter was able to share his gift of art with Toni - that she was able to embrace a new interest and skill that helped her to begin healing. I also loved that she did ultimately find strength and self worth by turning to God.

Overall, this was a wonderful novel that explored the difficult topic of eating disorders, yet still showed the beauty in life. Personally, I enjoy a book that gives me a glimpse of reality while still managing to offer an escape.

Honest disclosure: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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