In this hard-hitting YA novel, a teenage girl wrestles with low self-esteem, body image issues, and an eating disorder after she is unable to ingratiate herself into the popular clique at school.
As junior high begins, Katie Mills thinks she has found a clear path into the cool clique at school through her lab partner, Anica. However, after a shoplifting expedition spearheaded by Anica goes awry, Katie is more shunned by the upscale “Orchard Hills girls” than ever. Her next tactic is to try out for the cheer squad, but that also backfires when her tomboyish friend, Carly, gets picked instead of her. As Carly begins hanging out with the popular crowd and her other best friend, Dominic, acquires a new girlfriend, Katie feels more left out than ever. Her divorced parents don’t help matters: mom would rather harangue Katie for being pudgy than support her, while dad is preoccupied with spoiling his new daughter from his second marriage. After she overhears head cheerleader Amy Bowie throwing up in the bathroom after lunch, Katie decides to be more like the pretty, skinny, popular girls the only way she knows how: lose as much weight as possible by bingeing and purging. Soon, Katie’s secret threatens to get in the way of her burgeoning friendship with the cute new boy at school, Hunter, not to mention her existing relationships. Farnham (Click. Date. Repeat., 2014) has created a powerfully relatable character in Katie, whose struggles to fit in will ring true for many. Be warned though: the vivid first-person descriptions of Katie’s bulimia and the feelings she associates with bingeing and purging may be triggering for some readers. “After I eat, I can’t think about anything but the food churning around in my stomach, just waiting to be absorbed by my body,” she says. “My chest feels like it’s going to explode if I don’t get rid of the food.” Other intense issues covered by Farnham, albeit in a deft and sympathetic way, include divorce, bullying, and abuse.
An important, difficult book that will appeal to girls who feel lost in the world.