The story of a teen girl's struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.
Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.
(((This book has been labeled 'problematic'. Most books coming out now are being labeled as such but I just want to let you guys know. If you want to keep on reading, then you're my kind of person and I heart you so much.)))
Pea doesn't have an easy life. Her family is very dysfunctional and she's struggling with an eating disorder and all that comes with it. Depression, anxiety, and she even dabbles in self harm. I'd never even heard of her eating disorder until this book. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is something rather newly named, most people just call them picky eaters.
Here is what Wikipedia says about it: Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), also previously known as selective eating disorder (SED), is a type of eating disorder, as well as feeding disorder, where the consumption of certain foods is limited based on the food's appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with the food.
Everyone knows about anorexia and bulimia so it was interesting to learn about an eating disorder I'd never heard of. This story was actually based on the author's daughter's own experience. It's a dark and gritty novel. It's not scared to take it there, the self harm is talked about in this novel. So it's not for the faint of heart. It pulled out my emotions so wonderfully and I freely admit I cried while reading most of it.
This novel portrays anxiety, depression, and even self harm perfectly. Though I'm sure someone else wouldn't think that as we all experience things differently but for me, this author hit the nail on the head. I can't speak as to the eating disorder as thankfully I've never had one. Though this is based on her daughter, I'm sure it's just as real as the rest of the things in this novel.
This novel does have an ending that I was happy with. It's not a cure all ending and she's not magically cured of all her problems as these things Pea suffers from doesn't have a magic button. You can't just snap your fingers and it all goes away (though God I wish there was). That being said, the ending is a good one, it is a realistic one. Which I love.
I love how Pea calls everything her monster, I do this myself with my own mental health issues and it just made me connect to Pea in a way that I usually don't with characters. Pea truly felt like a real person, and I wanted to reach out and hug her so much. Sometimes, my mental health struggles really do feel like a monster, so it was fitting.
If you are looking for a dark, gritty, and truly realistic novel, I fully recommend this one to you. If you suffer from any of things I mentioned above, I recommend this one to you too. It will make you feel less alone. It sure made me feel less alone in my struggle. If you can handle the darkness that is in the real world, this is also one I recommend to you.
Also what's so unique about this book is it's written in 2nd POV, which is something I've never had the pleasure to read before. It's really cool. It wasn't hard for me to adjust to at all. I was worried it might but not even one problem at all. Guess all the fanfiction I read in my teens came in handy ha ha.
Bottom line: this novel is beautiful and rooted so deep in truth that I found it's one of my all time favorites. I never thought I would say that about a contemporary as I normally love fantasy or paranormal but this book... it's truly lovely.
*I was lucky enough to get a free copy of this amazing novel. My thoughts are always my own.*