Author: Meg Haston
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 4 Stars
Add to Goodreads
Buy the Book
***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.
Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.
In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?
This book was very difficult to read and I think for those who have suffered from an eating disorder, it may be triggering. But this is an important story that needed to be told especially in a society so obsessed with physical appearance. Everyone has felt the way Stevie feels. Inadequate, not good enough. When Stevie looks in the mirror she sees flaws, even though her hip bones stick out from her body, you can see every rib, her spine juts out from her back and her collarbones are sharp against her skin. This broke my heart. When Stevie looked in the mirror, she saw a girl who wasn’t good enough for her own mother and who would never be good enough for herself.
Stevie is very angry in this book. She’s furious that her father has sent her to treatment. She hates her mother for abandoning their family. She’s mad at her friend Eden who caused a rift between her and her brother. And she’s mad at her brother for stealing away her friend. But most of all, Stevie is mad at herself. She loathes herself and I can barely type this review without crying for this poor girl. While I’ve never had body image/self-esteem issues to the extreme that Stevie has, I have plenty of days where I’ve looked in the mirror and not liked what I saw. But I’ve never hated myself like she did. This girl has so much potential to be amazing and she is throwing it all away because she can’t stand to be in her own skin.
I thought this book depicted Stevie’s illness very realistically. Nothing here is sugar-coated. It’s raw and real and while that may make it hard for some people to read, I appreciated the authenticity. I liked seeing the relationship between Stevie and Anna, her therapist. Anna truly cared about Stevie and wanted her to get better. She knew when to push and when to back off and she took care of Stevie when she needed it the most. I liked that Anna was tough on Stevie. She didn’t sugarcoat things and she told her that recovery was going to be difficult, one of the hardest things she would ever have to do.
I also really enjoyed seeing Stevie interact with the other girls and finally make some real friends. She started off cold and closed off, but slowly she thawed and let them in. Stevie’s transformation was painful. It hurt her and it hurt me as a reader. But I loved watching her slowly come to terms with her grief and begin the road to recovery. She still has a long way to go, but I believe that Stevie can do it, one step at a time.
Have you read this book? What did you think?