Struggles with self-image and grief fill this novel.
It's been nearly a year since Stevie's brother, Josh, died, and in that time, the eating disorder she already had has accelerated. Sent to a treatment facility in New Mexico by her father, Stevie is resistant and angry. She is still upset over her mother’s leaving the family, and worse, Stevie believes she killed her brother. Now she just wants to be home with Eden, her friend and hookup partner, and to carry out her plans for the one-year anniversary of Josh's death: to starve herself to death. Between her frequent therapy sessions and her concern about her roommate, Stevie tries to confront what really led to Josh's death, in passages that occasionally moralize. Until she actually grieves the death of her brother, she won't be able to recover from her eating disorder or learn how to make better choices. But choosing to live isn't easy, Stevie discovers. There are so many issues at play in this novel that readers may find it difficult to see Stevie as a person instead of a bundle of problems. The slow unveiling of the events of the previous summer, before Josh's death, doesn't create any tension, and overall the story moves from plot point to plot point.
A diligent problem novel if not a gripping one. (Fiction. 14-18)