Saturday, June 3, 2017

ARC Review: What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

What I Lost
Author: Alexandra Ballard
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (June 6, 2017)

Description: What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her―girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again.She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

This eloquent debut novel rings with authenticity as it follows Elizabeth’s journey to taking an active role in her recovery, hoping to get back all that she lost.

My Thoughts: Elizabeth has an eating disorder. She is committed to Wallingfield by her parents but she isn't really convinced that she has a problem. At Wallingfield she meets other girls like her and makes some friends. She is undergoing intensive therapy to deal with her anorexia.

She also begins receiving mysterious packages. She thinks that they are from the boyfriend who dumped her. They give her hope that their relationship isn't over.

The book is from Elizabeth's point of view. So we learn from the inside how a girl with anorexia thinks and reacts. I will say that reading about the ways she avoided eating made me want snacks. Part of Elizabeth's problem comes from the fact that her mother seems to have an undiagnosed eating disorder too. Watching her mother avoid food and constantly change what she will or won't eat helped form Elizabeth's attitude toward food.

I liked the story. I thought it was realistic that the people around her, notably Tristan, couldn't understand why she just didn't eat. He is her ex-boyfriend's best friend and his sister is also a day patient at Wallingfield because of her bulimia. I liked that there wasn't a magical solution and that Elizabeth will have to keep fighting her anorexia in the future.

I recommend this one for young adults who might be overly concerned about their weight or who know someone who is.

Favorite Quote:
What he didn't understand was that we weren't choosing this. Not anymore, anyway. The first time Simone threw up, she made that choice. And no one else made me go on my bikini diet. But after a while our eating disorders messed with our brains. They became something we didn't have control over. Something we couldn't stop by ourselves even if we wanted to.
I received this one for review from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

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