Tag Archives: eating disorders

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Identical

“I will probably die before he does. Dying, for Daddy, would be the ultimate defeat. But death doesn’t scare me. To know exactly when I might expect it, up close and in my face, would actually be a comfort. Because to tell the truth, most of the time dying seems pretty much like my only means of escape.”
-Kaeleigh

Identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne may seem the same on the outside, but they lead completely different lives. Raeanne uses drugs, sex, and purging to settle her inner demons, while Kaeleigh turns to bingeing, drinking, and self-harm. Raeanne has relationships with numerous guys, while Kaeleigh struggles to keep one. Despite their differences, their explanations are the same: their father sexually abuses Kaeleigh consistently, while Raeanne is forced to keep quiet and stay away. But after years of enduring this torture, it comes to be too much for either twin to handle alone– but who will step up and release the other?

One word can easily describe this entire 560+ page book: powerful. It’s not for the faint of heart, and definitely don’t read it if you don’t expect to cry in the near future. And I’m not just referring to the twins’ lives– even some of the minor characters’ backstories are tear-inducing. There isn’t much else to say; Identical is one of those beautiful-in-a-sick-way novels that really makes you appreciate everything you take for granted.

Without revealing any spoilers (which is the absolute last thing I want to do, considering the huge one in this book), I think the ending of the novel is definitely a topic of discussion. It packs a punch, no doubt about that, and may even require a second read-through for you to fully get your head around. Once again, no spoilers, but I have to compare it to The Prestige. It was the first psychological thriller/twist-ending movie I’d seen since I watched The Sixth Sense at a young age, and to this day it has stuck with me and has become one of my all-time favorite movies. That’s exactly how Identical was for me: I think it’s safe to say the ending of this book was unlike any other I’ve read, and I need to find more like it.

Okay, I think that’s enough gushing in one day. I’ll have another review for you guys in a few days, and most likely it’ll be a big change from the reviews I’ve recently posted. This is a big year for books for me, and I hope you’re all as excited as I am. Have a great Labor Day weekend, and I’ll see you soon!

-J

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wintergirls

“I could say I’m excited, but that would be a lie. The number doesn’t matter. If I got down to 070.00, I’d want to be 065.00. If I weighed 010.00, I wouldn’t be happy until I got down to 005.00. The only number that would ever be enough is 0.”
-Lia

When best friends Lia and Cassie begin a contest to see who can be the skinniest, everything goes downhill. After not speaking to each other for months, Lia discovers that her best friend has died. Now alone, Lia struggles to recovver from Cassie’s death and her ongoing anorexia before she disappears.

Although I really dislike the title, Wintergirls is one of those incredible heartbreaking books that you can’t help but read more than once. The story is extremely depressing, as is Lia’s eating disorder and self-harm, but in a way it’s also sort of inspiring.

I know this is a very, very short review, but there isn’t a whole lot to say. This is the most accurate portrayal of an eating disorder that I’ve found so far, along with numerous other struggles, so this should be your number one choice if you’re looking for a story about dealing with an eating disorder. Other than that, this is just an all-around good book and I believe it should be read by absolutely everyone. People need to understand the difficulties that others go through, and this would definitely show them.

-J

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Aimee by Mary Beth Miller

Aimee

“I think they do it when they can no longer find a reason to keep going. When nothing in heir lives is good enough to balance out the bad. And they do it when they no longer have the courage to carry on past some recent painful experience. They commit what is, in the end, a desperate, final call for help, that is hopefully heard in time by someone else.”
-Marge

Even though Zoe has been cleared, nearly everyone she knows still believes that she killed her best friend, or at the least, helped her commit suicide. Aimee tells of Zoe’s life before, after, and during this horrible incident, and how she slowly found the strength to recover.

The writing style of this book was very… unusual. It somewhat reminded me of a Quentin Tarantino movie, because of how much it jumped around from past to present. Also, the main character/narrator, Zoe, didn’t even have her name mentioned until about ten pages from the very end of the book. It’s pretty odd to read a book where you don’t even know the main character’s name.

There’s only one real complaint I have about this book. Before Aimee’s death, she and Zoe would always hang out with a few other kids named Chard, Kyle, Jason, and Kates. After Aimee’s death, Zoe isn’t allowed to see them anymore, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be mentioned. The only one who keeps in contact with her afterwards is Chard. Zoe barely mentions the rest of them, even in her flashbacks, so we know next to nothing about her other friends. It’s as if they didn’t exist. Sorry, Mary Beth Miller, but if you’re going to introduce some characters, at least give us a little bit of reason. On the other hand, the rest of the characters’ development was great. Literally every character has something going wrong in their lives, and it’s really interesting.

Although excessively long, Aimee is an overall good book. It’s very emotional and can be triggering at points, so I’d advise you only to read it if you’re sure you can handle it.

-J

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Break by Hannah Moskowitz

Break

“Break a body, grow a better body. The worse you’re hurt, the stronger you get.”
-Jonah McNabb

First thing’s first: I didn’t just finish this book today. I read and finished this book on Thursday (February 14), but couldn’t post a review since I’ve been having some trouble with WordPress on my laptop. This is the first day it’s actually worked for me since then, and I don’t know when or if it’ll stop working again. So if I don’t post for a while again, that’s most likely why. If that happens, I’ll be sure to post the real date I finished the book (more for me than you, since I’m trying to keep track of how many books I read this year, and I’ll post that list in my Pages soon).

Break is about a kid named Jonah who is trying to break every bone in his body. His home life is too much to handle, and since broken bones grow back stronger than they were before, he believes he will be strong enough to face his problems after his bones heal. But when his self-destructive behaviors begin to hurt everyone around him rather than help, will he give them up in favor of an alternative source of strength?

Judging by the fact that I read this book in less than a day, it’s needless to say how much I enjoyed it. Although some of Jonah’s bone-breaking methods were a little gruesome to read, it was really interesting to read about all of the different ways to break he thinks of. Also, for this being Hannah Moskowitz’s first book, I have to say she did an awesome job.

The overall plot was great, especially since you can understand Jonah’s reasoning for what he does to an extent. I know it would be unbelievably hard for me in his position, but I know I’d never hurt himself in the ways he thinks up. Thinking about the part with the pool makes even me shudder, and I’m a horror film addict. Gore and pain should be something I’m used to, but that was just too much to handle. I could almost actually feel his pain.

I thought the ending was a little abrupt, but leading up to the very end was great. The trouble he accidentally causes in the hospital is a great sort of twist, and I really enjoyed it. I think this will be another book that I’ll end up reading over and over again.

-J

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Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

Girl, Interrupted

This was a fairly quick read, less than 200 pages and only took me two days to finish, but that doesn’t make it any less incredible. Susanna Kaysen has a serious talent to make a memoir read through like fiction, and to not overly detail like most nonfiction authors do. Being a nonfiction book, there isn’t much of a plot to talk about, other than that Susanna Kaysen is living in the mentall illness ward of McLean Hospital after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and depression. The book tells about her stay in the hospital and the other girls that live there with her, and her struggles with coping with her mental illnesses.

I’d heard so many good things about this book before I started it, so I immediately had high expectations. Just as I predicted, Ms. Kaysen didn’t let me down: she delivered a rich, intriguing story that really shows you what it’s like to cope with numerous disorders. This, along with Mary Forsberg Weiland’s autobiography Fall to Pieces, is currently my favorite nonfiction book, and I’m sure to read it over and over again for years to come.

-J

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