Author: Meg Haston
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
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.Review by Nara
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?
I have to admit, I have not read that many books about eating disorders. I always hear people going on about Wintergirls, and to be fair, I should probably read that at some point. On the other hand, Papergirls is an excellent alternative. Full of emotion and great character development: it's a fantastic read.
It was somewhat disturbing to see how Stevie viewed eating and suicide, and seeing how little insight she had about the fact that she had a serious mental illness. Personally, I found it difficult to connect with her on an emotional level, especially because of how she viewed the other patients in the facility. However, the good thing is that she does develop throughout the book, and slowly she's able to gain a better understanding of her illness and how she can better manage her health.
There's the mystery throughout the novel about how Stevie's brother Josh died. And why she views it as "killing" him. Haston weaves in little hints here and there, and it's easy to figure out what happened on the night of his death as long as you're paying attention. Rather than making the book too predictable though, there's the flavour of having your detective work pay off.
This is definitely a book I'd recommend if you're looking for an emotional book examining anorexia and its consequences.
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