Jennifer feels that she has a monster inside of her – if she doesn’t kill it, it will kill her. She has been hiding her bulimarexia (a combination of bulimia and anorexia) from her family and friends for years. It is incredibly hard for her to reach out to her mother and admit that she needs help, but nowhere near as challenging as the path laid out before her as she enters the Samuel Tuke Center. Jennifer's struggles in recovery are laid out in detail, from her meal plans to her therapy session to her increasing privileges as she moves through the stages of treatment. Her relationships are tested and her inner strength is pushed to the limit as she strives to "work the program", complete treatment, and return to her normal life. She's not sure she can kill the monster, but she knows now that she can conquer it.
Why It's Worth Reading:
It's a mostly true story (just a few names and details are changed) that represents the treatment and actual stages toward recovery that author J.J. Johnson experienced when she voluntarily submitted to in-patient care for her eating disorder at the age of 15. The author conveys with great honesty and tact the gritty and frustrating experiences that come with intense therapy while always maintaining the idea that power and strength that can be found in recovery. A particularly cool feature of this book is that the physical text morphs and changes as Jennifer enters different stages of treatment (faded, short lines of verse during Admission to full, bold sentences and paragraphs in Stage Three) creating a visual metaphor for the character’s growth and increased stamina. In a country where over 30 million people will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime, most of them during their teenage years, the odds are good that those of us working in or attending a high school will know someone struggling like Jennifer at some point. This book is not only an interesting page-turner, but also an informative resource.
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Source: School Library Connection magazine - I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my review. My complete review can be found in a future edition of SLC magazine.
Awards: 3 great reviews, 1 of them starred
Do We Own a Copy?: On order