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Strong Enough by [Harger, Ellen]
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Strong Enough Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 332 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 898 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Publisher: iNovelist; 1 edition (23 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BLD5U78
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,875,017 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
The cover was plain but in the typical cartoon style of 'chick lit', the title was nice and large as was the author name. I liked the title. It was simple, yet appealed. I was put off by 'a midwest novel' tag on the microphone but only because being from the UK I felt I might feel excluded from urban slang and so forth (I wasn't).

In the blurb I'm introduced to the main character, Whitney, who is average in just about everything. But she wants to change. She's tired of being average. What I liked about the blurb is that there wasn't any mention of 'she wants a man'.

The 'look inside' was disappointing. I like to get to the hub of the book to see if it's something I can read and hopefully download, but first I had to scroll through the three pages of TOC, then the blurb again, then the introduction and prologue (which wasn't very interesting).

The book (finally) opens introducing the alter ego of Whitney - DJ Kelly Carter. Kelly is bright, outgoing and full of energy. Whitney prefers to fade into the background. Already it's different to the normal 'chick lit' novels and I feel this is going to be an interesting read...

The chapter titles were song titles and very apt for Whitney's profession. Clever, I thought. Whitney is a nervy lady but her alter-ego (the DJ) is not. She has a nice set of friends in Sadi, Leah and Marc. There was good characterisation with the characters but Whitney should have been centre-stage for most of the time. She's wasn't, and at times I wondered whose story I was reading.

Strong Enough takes you through the dynamics of friendships, and the humour is subtle but Whitney as a character is someone you'd want to slap. She's so suspicious of everyone's intentions and beyond.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Character-Driven Women's Fiction With Dynamic Characters and a Stellar Soundtrack 24 Dec. 2013
By Jen Blood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DJ-in-Training Whitney Brown moves to the small-ish Midwestern town of Sundown after ditching her dull fiance and scandalizing her small hometown. In her quest for independence, she's soon sucked back into old patterns when she agrees to rent from her old college roommate, the shallow, manipulative Leah. When Whitney starts dating the sexy singing fireman who just happens to be head-over-heels for Leah, things get complicated... Whitney turns to an unlikely source for help pulling her life together: Sadi, another old college acquaintance -- an independent, fiery feminist who doesn't seem to know the meaning of the word 'insecure.' As the two get to know each other better, they soon realize they've both made some major misjudgments over the years.

The tagline for STRONG ENOUGH is what first attracted me to the book -- "An aspiring midwest DJ finds salvation in music, an angry feminist, and a broken condom." I was immediately intrigued. Based on that description, I was expecting your basic Chicklit novel: lots of laughs, some good sex, strong friendships and a semi-predictable ending. What I got instead was a book whose characters and relationships have remained with me for days. I want to live in Sundown. I want to hang out in the bookstore with Sadi, request obscure classics on Whitney's themed radio show, I want to eat at the restaurants and go to the clubs and I definitely, definitely want the soundtrack.

Because it's THAT kind of book -- the kind you wish you could live inside, when all is said and done.

Don't get me wrong -- there are imperfections here. The pacing is slow in the first third of the novel, and there were times when I found Whitney's character so naive and insecure that she grated on me, particularly in the beginning of the book. But, the thing I soon realized was, I think we've all known women like Whit. At least once in our lives, I think we've all BEEN women like Whit: Freaked out by our own bodies, so grateful the popular kids have deigned to walk among us that we'll do anything to keep them there, too embarrassed by our own ignorance to push for the answers we need... The difference is that, in STRONG ENOUGH, Whitney figures things out by the end of the book -- she asserts herself, tests her limits, and takes some surprising turns along the way, that I thought were handled with true intelligence and grace by the author.

If you're looking for a fast-paced read or a fluffy romantic romp, look elsewhere: With great wit, dynamic characters, intelligence, and depth, STRONG ENOUGH is the kind of character-driven women's fiction fans of Fannie Flagg, Alice Hoffman, and Barbara Kingsolver will appreciate. A strong 4.5 stars (rounded up to 5) from this reviewer.
5.0 out of 5 stars Hit's All the Right Notes 30 May 2013
By jennjsutliff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I make no bones about the fact that I am a Midwestern gal, born and raised in Joplin, MO and then I transplanted myself here in Springfield, which is the inspiration for Harger's fictional town of Sundown, MO. But even if you've never been to Missouri, there is quite a lot about this novel that is enjoyable.

Right away, we are introduced to the book's main character, Whitney, in a very memorable way. Harger has this skillful way of making the reader connect with the characters she has created. Whitney journeys from her small hometown, in hopes of a fresh start, to the small burg that is Sundown where she reconnects with her two college friends. But if you think that this is just another story of gal pals hoofing it through life with shopping bags and men in tow, you're sorely mistaken. The book does focus on fresh starts, even if that means "burning a few bridges to get there." Love, life, and the choices we make (and how tough they are to make) is a reoccurring theme.

WARNING: GUSHY BOOK REVIEW ALERT

I did not want to put this book down. In fact, it took me months to read it because I was so busy with school. But when I did finish it, I found myself missing the characters. Harger really made them come to life with her gift of description. I felt like they were people I knew, old friends that I might see out and about. That is the sign of a good read. I laughed, I am sure if I was capable of crying I would have, and I even at one point, found myself yelling at one of the characters in the book.

Harger also does an excellent job with tackling a touchy social issue and how it is handled here in the Bible Belt. But she makes no apologies for it. And why should she? Answer: she shouldn't.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just a love story 18 Mar. 2013
By Amanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Strong Enough is a delightful gem of a debut by Ellen Harger. It is a well-written story about making decisions and starting over, about knowing when to hang on and when to cut your losses. To be honest it did take me a bit to really get into the story. Once I did, however, I didn't want to put the book down and in a world where anyone can self-publish, that doesn't often happen. The author did a good job of creating relatable, true-to-life characters who face tough situations to which sometimes, there is no easy answer. Kudos to Ms. Harger for tackling difficult social issues and their unavoidable pain with grace and honesty. This is ultimately a story about friendship, courage, learning who you are and what to do with that knowledge once you've found it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an average, everyday girl 27 May 2013
By emmasmommy0728 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I initially picked this book because it sounded like something I could relate to. A midwest gal who has burned some bridges along the way? Sounds familiar.

The book itself has a good plot. An average, everyday girl is trying to make a name for herself after what was a rather rocky exit from her hometown. She is joined by two college "friends," as well as the men in their lives and friends of friends. You follow Whitney through her life and all of the different events that occur in her life.

Ellen Harger is very descriptive. There are many different characters that are introduced early on in the book. I often had a hard time following who we were talking about and who some of the various characters are. I wouldn't say the book is poorly written, I just didn't connect with it very well. There are a lot of words, but I didn't really feel like I knew what was going on in the character's heads. It took me until about half way through to really feel like I wanted to continue and find out where the story was going to take me.

Strong Enough is definitely a good story about an average, everyday girl finding her way. I just didn't ever feel there was a climactic point or something that made me want to continue on. I kept waiting to be sucked in and never really was.
4.0 out of 5 stars Stronger Than Enough 2 July 2014
By Ellen @ The Canon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Originally posted on The Canon! {http://canireadeverything.blogspot.com/2013/06/title-strong-enough-author-ellen-harger.html}

I feel like Strong Enough is one of those books I will read again and again, mostly because the characters are so extraordinarily vibrant. From the first page, each and every one of them stuck in my mind due to the personalities and traits described through Whitney's eyes. Leah is the bitchy friend that pretends to be nice, Sadi is defensive, and Whitney is on the journey from pushover to being "strong enough" <- =]

Sorry. I'll stop the corny puns. In all honesty, I found this book engaging and emotional. I easily sank into the setting on Sundown, MI and fitting into Whitney's shoes is something anyone can imagine, not only Midwest girls. I found myself constantly cheering for her to succeed, especially as she began her journey in the radio world.

The narration in this novel is a little unusual, but it grew on me as I read. Strong Enough uses a third person limited view (which means we know what Whitney is thinking, but the narrator is outside of her - no "I") and is usually in the present tense, something I'm not quite used to. In the beginning, I kept noticing the tense, but as I read, I slipped so easily into Whitney's world because she was constantly doing instead of showing us what she wanted to do.

I loved how Harger slowly presents each plot point in the novel; unlike other works I've read recently, she doesn't lay the entire novel plan out on the table right away. We know Whitney has a history, has something she is running from. I loved the tension Harger creates as she tempts her readers with Whitney's past.

Final Thoughts: This book is a new favorite of mine because I truly admire the protagonist. She is in a crossroads in her life, something we all can relate to. Whitney, despite what she sometimes thinks of herself, is a strong, vibrant character that engaged me into her story.
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