For eighth-grader Noah, juggling school, friends, and hormones would be simple enough. Unfortunately, there is also the Thing We Don't Talk About, which looms over his family life.
Setting her tale in a small New England town and telling it from Noah's point of view, Knowles presents a small school where students and teachers all know each other. Friends fight and make up, tease, argue, joke, and support each other. The big issues among students are who likes whom and what complaints to put in the Suggestion Box. Back at home, things aren't quite as simple. The white boy’s older sister, Emma, has an eating disorder that reached crisis point a couple of years ago. Now, no one mentions it, though the issue is very much present in their daily lives. Family life is allowed to be ruled by Emma's eating dictates, in the hope that Emma will not have a relapse. Unfortunately, not talking about it doesn't make the problem go away. And as Emma again ends up in the hospital and then a treatment center, the family goes into a tailspin. Feelings of guilt, grief, bewilderment, and anxiety pervade Noah’s present-tense account. Through his eyes, Knowles offers a touching and realistic picture of the effect on those surrounding a person with an eating disorder.
A poignant window and mirror into the lives of families affected by a health disorder. (Fiction. 11-14)