Believarexic – book review

by JJ Johnson
Realistic Fiction
Novel in Verse (partly)
* * * Stars (Pretty good)

Jennifer (15) is an alcoholic and has an eating disorder that she’s been hiding for some time. She realizes that she’s sick, and that she will need help to heal, but her family is skeptical – is this just another case of Jennifer seeking attention and being dramatic? Still, her mother makes an appointment for her to be evaluated and the doctor takes her concerns seriously. When it’s time to decide on a course of action, however, Jennifer is no longer certain that hospitalization (and this particular treatment center) is right for her. By then it is too late. The advertisement she saw on TV is nothing like the reality. The staff shame and humiliate her, her roommate is sullen and closed off, the food is terrible, and they won’t let her talk to her family. Jennifer isn’t sure she’ll survive the cure. But with therapy and a treatment plan, she starts to see improvements and feel better, though there are still many obstacles to overcome. This realistic story starts off in verse, but becomes prose as Jennifer heals and finds her voice. JJ Johnson draws from her own experiences of bulimarexia, hospitalization, and recovery in writing this challenging story. For high school teens.

Reviewed by YA Librarian

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