I’m beyond thrilled to be hosting one of today’s stops on the
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas Blog Tour!
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas
Publish Date: March 26, 2013
Source: Author for Review – Thank you!
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes – and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two. When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn’t there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral – nude modeling for a nearby college’s human form drawing classes. When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she’s posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she’s ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat’s absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again – confident and beautiful – as long as Nate’s around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he’s just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again. But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing – this might destroy their relationship before it’s even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she’ll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin – even if it means leaving him forever. -(from Goodreads)
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas
My Thoughts: Picture Perfect is a great New Adult story of one girl’s struggle with a new body after weight gain following surgery plus a great romance.
The first thing you need to know is this:
Cat doesn’t come back to her college campus FAT.
She comes back average-sized.
As the book opens up, Cat is going through her closet at school trying to find something to wear and of course nothing will fit Cat’s new, larger body like she wants it to. Cat is frustrated and nearly in tears, but she finally finds something! She puts it on and then: NOPE! Still not happy with it.
Cat’s friend Joey (a girl!) takes her shopping and helps her pick out a few things that work with her new body. When they go out with friends later, Cat fidgets in her new clothes – she is constantly aware of how they are arranged on her body, aware of how the fabric feels against her skin, aware of how she must look as her larger thighs and belly fill out the garments. Then there is a horrifyingly embarrassing break-up with the guy she considers her boyfriend in which he actually uses the word “fat.” To Cat, things really can’t be much worse.
Pretty soon Joey has convinced Cat she needs to see someone to help with all of the feelings she’s having. She is obviously struggling with her new body, with not being able to model anymore, with the loss of income without modeling, with the embarrassment of the very public break-up, etc. The therapist is helpful, and suggests that Cat try modeling again to help with her body image issues before they eventually become a problem – nude modeling, that is.
The second thing you need to know is this:
Cat is very brave. She actually does the nude modeling.
And meets a guy while she’s doing it.
Cat meets a guy from the art class. See, she has a bit of a panic attack while she’s up there and runs out in a hurry (Hey, no judging! I might do the same thing.) She’s outside the building, crying on the steps when Nate comes out, sits down, and starts talking to her – the two hit it off even though she is a little embarrassed because HELLO HE’S SEEN HER NAKED! They go out for burgers and end up dancing and calling it a date. Soon there are kisses and more dates.
Nate is so great. And swoony. And really great. He loves her curvy, average-sized body. See, Nate is an architect so he understands how things are supposed to be built. He can appreciate structure. He tells her adoringly that he loves the way she looks and that she is beautiful. He kisses her and doesn’t act repulsed when he puts his hands around her waist. Over time, Cat begins to believe that Nate really believes that she is beautiful – so she finally begins to feel beautiful again. She begins to find a little bit of her former self, the confident Cat that she used to be when she was modeling.
The third thing you need to know is this:
It isn’t healthy to put all of your self-worth into one person –
because what happens if that person disappears?
Cat’s therapist warned her about spending too much time with Nate and not finding other things to make her feel alive and beautiful and worthy and fulfilled – but Cat only wants to spend time with Nate. She can’t think of doing anything else – why spend time elsewhere when she is really, really happy with him? The two cook together, they exercise together, they eat together, and woohoo the swoony-swoony times are fantastic! But Cat always hears the voice of her therapist in the back of her mind reminding her to branch out a little bit, to find some other fulfilling things to do, some other place to spend some of her time…but she just ignores it.
Then, of course, there is a hiccup in the relationship…and Cat barely knows what to do with herself. Why? Because she’s completely wrapped herself up in Nate. Her identity is wrapped up in how Nate makes her feel. So when she spends time apart from Nate, Cat begins to feel just like she did before Nate: Fat. Unhappy. Ugly. Worthless.
But then she remembers what she’s there for, what she came to college for in the first place, and Cat gets a little bit of gumption. Cat finds a place to put her energy and it is – thankfully – a good place. She’s hoping that through this THING she’s doing, she’ll be able to love herself and her body again. But what will happen next? Will she model again? Will she see Nate again? Will she ever feel comfortable in her new body?
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas is one of those books that is not entirely a romance book – there’s so, so much more in these pages than just a romance. Don’t get me wrong – the romance is really good – but this book is also about acceptance and self-worth and self-esteem, and that message is loud and really important.
Cat’s character is a realistic character – as a girl that is struggling with her body image and weight, I feel like the thoughts that she is having nearly constantly are pretty accurate. Even though her friends and boyfriend are building her up and telling her that she is beautiful (and not fat) – and even though Cat isn’t really that big at all – she doesn’t feel anything but fat. She is always aware of how her body looks and feels in clothing, how she looks and feels naked, how her body looks and feels when she walks. I can imagine potential readers that do not struggle with weight issues or self-esteem issues could possibly think Cat is annoying or whiny, but I don’t really feel like this is the case – I think her character has realistic thoughts for someone going through the things that she is going through.
Nate is a great guy – he’s the “perfect” boyfriend. He tells Cat that she’s beautiful. He encourages her to exercise, even exercising along with her. He cooks healthy foods. He practically worships her average-sized curvy body. He has an issue or two of his own that come out at one point (remember when I said there is a hiccup?) and these things devastate Cat, making her question pretty much every second they’ve been together. But he always has Cat’s best interests in mind, taking things slow with her, making sure she feels loved and accepted and beautiful, not just for her body but for who she is on the inside as well.
I feel like Cat’s issues with her own self esteem keep her from being able to deal with Nate and the thing in an appropriate way. Instead of just approaching Nate and talking to him, like she should, she runs away. SHE RUNS AWAY. She allows her hurt and anger to fester and grow. While it is true that she uses this hurt to fuel something inside of her that helps her to eventually find herself, her own self worth – which helps her to love her own body – I’m not sure that her arrival there is the healthiest path. However – everyone deals with things differently and I did enjoy reading the way that Cat and Nate dealt with this bump in their relationship. Ultimately it was the catalyst for helping Cat finally begin to love herself again.
Man, you guys, I just enjoyed this story so much. It’s refreshing to see an adequate portrayal of an average-sized gal that struggles with being curvy, a gal that has body image issues. There is such an important message in this book underneath what is also a great story. I think this is a great book for people to read if they’ve ever struggled with weight issues or body issues of any kind, or if they know someone who has/is. But the romance is so great, too. Speaking of the romance, this book is a New Adult book, so there are plenty of mature scenes – younger readers should wait a few years before picking this one up. It’s pretty steamy!
Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since she’s not, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time. When she’s not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.
Picture Perfect will appeal to fans of:
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Romance: No triangle. No insta-love.
Issues: Body-image, Weight.
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas
is currently available for purchase.
*Mature audiences only – this book is New Adult and contains some scenes
that are inappropriate for younger readers.
And now for the Giveaway!
Author Alessandra Thomas
is offering TWO SIGNED COPIES and
TWO EBOOK COPIES of
*The 2 signed copies are for US/Canadian winners only.
The 2 ebooks are open to worldwide entries.*
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