Sad Perfect: A Novel

Sad Perfect: A Novel

by Stephanie Elliot

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Overview

Perfect is only on the surface in this gripping novel about a teen girl who looks normal but struggles with a little known eating disorder.

Sixteen-year-old Pea has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which means she can’t eat very much because nutritious foods frighten her. Having ARFID is like having a monster inside of her, one that dictates what she can eat, what she does and who she socializes with. This monster is growing and controlling more than just her food issues—it’s causing anxiety, depression, and giving her 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, best friend, and Ben the support and strength that she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Sad Perfect is the haunting debut novel from Stephanie Elliot.

A Margaret Ferguson

Book Praise for Sad Perfect:

"Elliot's novel helps to fill a gap within teen narratives about disordered eating." —Kirkus Review

"A well-written page-turner whose sensitive topic is covered with finesse and grace. This novel would be a worthy addition to a high school library collection." —School Library Journal

"Diversity in young adult books is finally on the rise, and Sad Perfect fits the bill. It takes an honest look at an eating disorder and mental health issues faced by some teens. Sad Perfect is recommended for libraries serving middle school age and up, where it will appeal to fans of realistic fiction about difficult topics." —VOYA

"Written in the second-person, Sad Perfect is the spare, hauntingly told story of a teenage girl and the eating disorder that threatens to consume her. You'll be riveted by her story, and by Elliot's careful observations of social media, the healthcare system, and parental neglect. Girls, and boys, will be reading this elegant and sad book for years to come." —Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times-bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

"A raw and visceral exploration of a unique eating disorder. Told in the second person, Sad Perfect is a masterfully crafted novel about the struggle for self-love and the healing power of self-acceptance." —Shannon M. Parker, author of The Girl Who Fell

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250144171
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 254,766
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Stephanie Elliot was inspired to write Sad Perfect by her own daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She has written for a variety of websites and magazines and is a book reviewer, a parenting columnist, a mommy blogger, and an editor. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Read an Excerpt

Sad Perfect


By Stephanie Elliot

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 2017 Stephanie Elliot
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-374-30377-8


CHAPTER 1

You float.

It's hot out, not kind of hot, not medium hot, but midsummer-Arizona hot. Sweltering one hundred and twelve degrees, and you're floating on the Salt River, the first time ever, on one of those black inner tubes, the old-fashioned, tar-smelling ones that need to be inflated with a tire pump. You've already scratched your upper thigh on that poky thing where the air goes in, because you thought it would be easier to put the tube around your waist to lug it into the mucky river. It slid down your body and scraped your leg, leaving a big red welt.

This was not your idea of tubing.

Your idea of tubing was hanging on to a rope from the back of a speedboat while the cool wind whipped through your hair. You imagined clinging to a tube specially designed for the activity, and you would be on a lake, not a crappy river filled with snakes and fish and mud and slimy plants that would wrap around your ankles if you dared to stand for a second and let your feet sink into the gooey bottom.

But it's your best friend Jae's sixteenth birthday and her mom planned this surprise for her, and so you came along, not expecting anything like this. There are mostly family members and some friends from her soccer team and church group. Now you're scorching in the sun, trying to stay cool, wishing more than anything that you could somehow fast-forward this "tubing" experience, because it's an expected four-hour "float" down the Salt River on burning-hot black inner tubes, and most of the party has gained momentum and you're stuck in the back with a few stragglers you don't know.

So you float. And you're miserable. And you're stuck.

You plop your hand into the water and splash some droplets onto your chest, trying to cool off. Your mom didn't want you to wear the bathing suit you wanted to wear because in her opinion it's too revealing, so you lied to her and told her you wouldn't. Then you brought the one you wanted to wear and changed into it anyway. Because what does your mother know? She doesn't remember what it was like to be sixteen. She doesn't understand the things you need to be concerned with, like wearing a good bathing suit in a crappy river.

But right now, the only thing you have to do is float.

So there's a lot of time for you to think.

You're really good at thinking, and there's a lot to think about. Like about how you look, and how you wish you looked different. You're too tall. You wish your nose wasn't so slopey. You hate that your eyebrows could be waxed every week, but your mom only lets you get them waxed every month. You hate the girls your own age, except for Jae. They're mostly high-pitched girls who only care about how many Instagram likes they have or how many Twitter retweets they get and you wonder what makes them so popular. Most days you wonder what it would be like if the universe were different.

You wonder, if you feel this way on a partially good day — because you know this is supposed to be a good day — how you are going to feel when a bad day hits. Because you also know a bad day is bound to come soon. It's been a while. There's been a slew of not-so-bad days, and on this partially good day, when the sun is shining, and you're floating, you should be feeling good, right?


* * *

"You're having fun, aren't you?" Jae asks when you stop at the midway point for lunch.

"Sure," you say, nodding. "It's fun."

You touch her chest and the spot flames from white to bright red under your fingertip. "You're getting sunburned."

"So're you," Jae says, poking you back.

So you slather each other up with some more sunscreen, which you know isn't going to do jack shit to keep you from burning because you're pretty fair anyway, but it's better than nothing.

Jae's mom sets food on a rickety wooden picnic table. Lucky her, she opted out of the river ride and delivered lunch instead, although eating lunch is not exactly your favorite activity either. You stand awkwardly while everyone fills their paper plates with hot dogs, chips, potato salad, and fruit. Jae's mom catches your eye. "Lunchtime?"

You're doing this little back-and-forth on your heels, feeling jittery, and you pick at your fingernails. "My mom made pancakes for breakfast. I'm not hungry." One of those statements is true, but you aren't going to eat with the group. You can't. "I'll have a Coke though?"

"Sure, over there." She points to the blue-and-white cooler past the picnic table.

A guy from the party is by the cooler. You saw him earlier, noticed he was really cute, wanted to get a better look at him, maybe ask Jae who he was, but then he had disappeared into the river with everyone else. Now though, he's right in front of you. Shirtless. Smiling.

"Hey," he says.

"Hi," you say.

"You friends with Jae?"

"Yep."

"Me too. Well, I'm her cousin's friend. I never met her before. Braden asked her if I could come."

"It's too hot," you say. Then you want to kick yourself because you're being negative.

But he agrees with you. "Way too hot. You want a drink?"

"Yeah, please."

He bends down and plunges his hand into the icy water to search for a can, and you get a better look at him. You already noticed he is taller than you, a lot taller, probably six inches taller. He's got thick, dark hair, and his back is muscular and tan. When he stands up to give you your drink he sees you staring at him and he half grins.

"This one okay?" he asks as he hands you a root beer.

"Yeah, it's good." You laugh.

CHAPTER 2

Lunch is over, well, for those who ate, and now everyone is being corralled back into the murky water. This is the part you've been warned about, where it might get a little bit fast on the river, with some small rapids, and Jae's mom says to be careful.

"Make sure not to lag so far behind this time," Jae yells to you as you lug the tube to the river. The black tire burns your hands and you drop it to the ground. You can't believe how stupid hot it is out. You set your sunglasses over your eyes and grab your hair and try to create a makeshift bun, but it's impossible without a hair tie. You let your hair fall down over your shoulders. You swat at a fly buzzing in your face.

"You better get in, or you're going to lose everyone."

It's the boy. He's standing behind you, waiting.

It's silly really to call him a boy. He's not a boy, he's more like a ... Well, you don't know what he is, except perfect. And this time you look at all of him, and you can't think of a thing to say.

"Go on, slowpoke." He nudges your tube with his tube. "Need help?"

Everyone is already in the water, laughing and waiting.

"Sure. Yeah." You barely manage the words.

He lifts your tube easily, his muscles hardly straining at holding two of them, and you see he's got those awesome veins running through his forearms. You wonder if this is really happening.

He strides ahead of you a few steps.

"Come on." He nods in the direction of the water.

You follow quickly because this is really happening ... and arm veins!

He flips the tubes into the water effortlessly. You try as delicately as you can to arrange yourself onto your tube. Then you're off. Floating.

You and the perfect boy.

* * *

Suddenly, it's the most beautiful day. You're not in the rapids yet and the river is calm. The sky is translucent and there's not a cloud anywhere. Just blue, blue, blue. And a spot of sun.

If you look at the sun for too long, you know it'll hurt, but it's one of those suns that burns bright, it's one of those suns that begs to be stared into. You can't help yourself. And when you close your eyes everything flashes white except that spot where the sun was — it's turned black, blinding.

You're sprawled out on your back on the tube, knees bent, ankles and feet plunged into the water, your fingertips skimming the glassy top layer of the river. You're floating, just floating, thinking of endless possibilities, when the boy says, so near to you that you practically jump, "Do you have a name?"

You tell him your name and he says he's never heard that before and you tell him you get that a lot.

He says it's pretty.

You feel yourself blush but then you're not sure if it's the sun on your face or if you're really feeling a little blushy. You turn your face to get a better look at him.

"What's your name?" you ask him.

"Ben."

"Hi, Ben."

He moves his tube closer to yours and grabs on to it so he's right next to you. You tense up a bit, but then remind yourself to relax. That this is a not-so-bad day, a partially good day actually, and you're wearing your favorite bathing suit. It's just you and Ben; and Jae and all her friends and family floating up ahead.

You're close enough to notice his brown eyes — dark as Hershey's chocolate Kisses — and he's smiling at you, so you don't look away. He asks if you're still hot and you say a little, and then you worry he's one of those jerky guys who might try to flip you over on the tube, and maybe try to make your top fall off, but instead he just dips his hand into the river and drips some water onto your shoulders to cool you off. Which feels really nice and you think it was a sweet thing for him to do.

"Thanks." You smile at him. It's the smile you've practiced in the mirror. The smile-at-boys smile. You hope it turned out right.

He asks where you go to school and you tell him. When you say you are going to be a junior, he says he thought maybe you were a senior. He's going to be a junior too, although he's almost seventeen and you turned sixteen in May, so you're about a year apart in age. He goes to one of the other high schools in town and you don't know any of the same people. He runs track and used to play football but didn't like it. "The guys are all douche bags."

You mention that your brother plays football.

"Not all football players are douche bags," Ben says, smiling.

"Oh no, they totally are, my brother included," you say, and laugh.

He asks if you play any sports and you say no but you like to draw. He asks you to tell him more about it so you explain you mostly sketch, and you like to do line drawings and create cartoon figures.

"I took a ceramics class last year but I got a C," he says. "I sucked at it."

"I had a tough time in my ceramics class," you say, because you want to be sympathetic, and also because it was hard. "Throwing clay on the wheel was the worst."

You're floating closer to the rapids and you're getting jostled in your tube; water splashes everywhere.

"It looks a little rough ahead," Ben says, and grasps your tube a bit tighter.

"This part scares me," you admit.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure you're safe," he says.

Jae's ahead of you and she and some of her friends laugh loudly and a couple of the girls mock-scream. She sees you and waves and you wave back.

There are small whitecaps of rapids and the quiet calm of the river has changed to a whooshing rush of water. The river has also gotten deeper. Your heart speeds up and you close your eyes and tense your body as you and Ben start careening through the rapids.

For a moment or two, things seem okay, but then there's an unexpected drop in the river, not too deep, but enough that Ben loses his grip on your tube. The good news is, once you've hit that drop, you're coming out of the rapids. The bad news is, you've fallen out of your tube.

Just before you're about to go under, you feel arms reach around your waist and Ben, no longer in his tube, pulls you up in to him.

You thought you were going to lose your breath before, but when you're this close to him, and he's holding you like this, you really can't breathe. He's got your tube, and he's holding you in the water, looking right into your eyes. He asks, "Can you get back on?"

"I think so."

Ben lets go of you to steady your tube. Instead of climbing on top, you plunge under the water and swim up through the hole. You wrap your arms over the top of the tube and hold on, so your arms are hanging over the sides and your legs are submerged deep within the hole of the tube.

"Okay, I'll go grab mine," he says.

He swims to his tube, disappears under, and gets in just like you did. When he comes back, he reaches out and you grab his hand and pull him to your tube.

"Thanks," he says. You are now face-to-face, both of you in the middle of your tubes, arms hanging over the sides. There are those arm veins again.

You expect him to let go of your hand, to just hold on to your tube, but he doesn't. Instead, he takes your other hand too, and rearranges his fingers so they are intertwined with yours. He moves his thumb over your knuckle, and his eyes light up, as bright as the sun on this beautiful, strange day.

"That was kinda crazy," he says.

"Yeah."

The water caresses your skin, the sun is a blanket of warmth on your back, and Ben slides his thumb over and over the top of your hand, like he's been around forever, like you haven't known him for only a couple of hours.

You feel it, you feel everything, all the way through to your toes.

You both stay like that, talking, looking into the too-bright sunshine, and into each other's eyes, holding hands for the rest of the afternoon.

It's more than a not-so-bad, partially good day.

You're holding hands.

You're floating.

CHAPTER 3

You're in your room, listening to music, and there's that knock. Your parents have asked you not to lock your door, so you don't lock it and they have mostly respected your privacy by knocking. You want to lock your bedroom door though, because it's your room, it's the only place you feel like yourself, and it's not like you're doing anything bad. You're just lying here. Thinking.

You think about how you need to take that little yellow pill every day to be in a sort of good mood, and it generally doesn't even guarantee you'll be in a good mood.

You wonder if you're going to have to take that pill every day for the rest of your life.

You think about how often people comment on how tall and beautiful you are, and how you wish you could believe them. Why can't you believe them?

You think about how freaked out you are about school starting next month.

You think about what picture you'll put on Instagram next, and if your mom will yell at you for exposing too much cleavage. (I didn't have boobs like that when I was your age! she'll say. You'll remind her they didn't have social media or iPhones or the Internet when she was sixteen and she rode to school on a dinosaur. You do love your mom, you do.)

You think about how your lips are always chapped and you should get some new lip gloss.

You think about Alex but then you make yourself not think about Alex.

You think about how you're a little bit hungry. Then decide you're not.

You think about how you held hands with Ben just yesterday and how it was practically one of the most perfect days you've had in a very long time.

You're thinking about the sunburn you got and wishing you had put more sunscreen on — damn your mother for always being right about the stupid sunscreen.

You're also thinking about how it is worth a thousand sunburns to have had the day you had.

You think about how awful it is to be lonely, and you're tired of feeling this way.

You think about the girl from school who has two hundred thousand followers on Instagram and wonder how she got so many followers; what is it that makes her so popular?

You think about becoming an artist someday. Even though you know that a job in the arts would not make much money, you feel that being an artist would make you happy.

Your mind never shuts off and it gets terribly exhausting.

There's that knock again.

"Can I come in, please?" your mom asks.

Your mom is usually the one looking for you. Your older brother, Todd, hardly bothers with you. Your dad, when he's not at work, is mostly always watching ESPN.

"Sure."

You turn off your music and wait.

Your mom comes in; she's holding a glass of wine and has that sweet -sickening smile, the one that's all cheery and upbeat.

"Dinner's ready." She takes a sip of wine and that happy-fake smirk makes you want to bury your head in your pillow and scream.

"I'm not hungry."

She already knows that. You know she knows that. This is the game you both play. It's been going on for years, pretty much your whole life, yet you still play it.

"Can't you come down and sit with us? You can eat whatever you want."

Another sip of wine.

"I don't feel like it."

You open your laptop. Like the discussion is over. Like you can control the situation.

"Not even an apple?"

"Mom."

"Fine. But I have some news for you. That place I've mentioned before, Healthy Foundations? They called me back, and you have an appointment this Thursday. Your dad and I want you to go."

You don't look at her. Because you know. Deep in your heart, you know. You've been waiting for this and it's almost a relief to hear that she's going to take care of the problem: ever since you were a little girl, ever since you have had a memory, you haven't liked food, except for the obvious good stuff — the safe foods.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot. Copyright © 2017 Stephanie Elliot. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sad Perfect 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
sweet_cherry More than 1 year ago
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 wish it 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 for. It's not a cure all ending and she'd 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.*
SMParker More than 1 year ago
This book broke me in the best way. This is a raw, visceral look at one teen's struggle with a newly classified eating disorder and her path to finding self acceptance. Told in the second person, Sad Perfect is a masterpiece of craft. I felt like I was holding my breath throughout the entire book and I wasn't sorry for a second. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this book, the author takes the reader through the deep and dark thoughts of a sixteen year old, Pea. This book elaborates on the struggles and insecurities that come with several types of disorders. In this case, the protagonist deals an eating disorder called ARFID. The author does a very good job on providing insight on the emotions and feelings that people with eating disorders experience all around the world. This book offers more than just a vague perception of this disease. It puts the reader into the characters positions so that they can fully comprehend everything that the characters feel; this includes Pea, her brother, Ben, her parents, or even her therapist. All of the characters have a unique purpose in the book and Stephanie wrote in the sense that the readers are able to understand the characters. It captures every thought of anxiety and every depressing thought that pops into Pea’s head. This creative novel allows us as readers to connect with Pea and feel what has been destroying her life. The author, Stephanie Elliot, does not only capture the dark and evil, but she does an amazing job at portraying the beautiful things in life that give us hope and purity. For Pea, it was Ben. The author speaks of how Ben’s love was able to help Pea overcome her disease, think positively, and beat her monster. By adding multiple characters throughout the story the author was able to tell a beautiful, yet so sad and emotional story through the eyes of a person with ARFID. The author makes it clear that this eating disorder needs to be recognized, and that people with this disorder should not be defined solely because of this disorder. Overall, the author presents a well thought out book containing a very interesting, eye opening plot throughout the story. Stephanie Elliot uses several characters and tons of figurative language such as metaphors, alliteration, imagery, hyperboles and many more all having the primary purpose of telling Pea’s emotional story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girl, Pea, who is sixteen-years old and has an eating disorder called ARFID. ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. This eating disorder makes it hard for Pea to try new foods. She cannot stand the smell, sight, and texture of many foods due to this disorder and feels "safe" only eating a few foods that she knows she is fine with eating. I enjoyed this book because it is set in the second person referring to readers as "you" which helps readers feel as if they have the disorder and helps them connect to what Pea is feeling/experiencing. Pea also falls in love with this boy Ben and she develops an amazing chemistry with him. Ben is very accepting and supportive when she finally builds up the courage to tell him about her disorder. He is so sweet and kind to the point where it seems a little too fictional and unrealistic. However, the author did a very good job with explaining how Pea feels that it made me almost tear up a few times because even though I had never experienced a eating disorder I could suddenly imagine and understand how much this was affecting Pea's life. When Pea falls in love with Ben she stops taking her medications for her depression because she develops this mentality that she is " happy" with Ben and that she doesn't need to take her pills to make her happy. I don't like the idea that this is added in the book because it just makes it seem like mental or eating disorders can be cured by love. Obviously, the love and support that Pea gets from her family and Ben does help her in curing her eating disorder, but it's ultimately the therapy that helps her the most. This book does a good job of making readers understand what people with eating disorders go through but this book is definitely not a good book for someone who has or has had an eating disorder themselves. For example, when Pea begins to harm herself with a pin she ends up in a hospital in order to get help. However, the author makes the hospital seem like a very bad place where the nurses are very abusive and mean. I don't like how the nurses are portrayed in this book because it makes people who have eating disorders not want to get help even more. It makes them even more afraid to reach out and get treatment which is not good at all. When Pea is in the hospital she begins to realize that she needs to get rid of this disorder or "monster" and continues to blame herself for having this disorder and for being a problem to her family. This may be an accurate description of how a person suffering with an eating disorder feels but it is not helpful to those suffering with it because it is reinforcing the idea that eating disorders are your own fault. Another thing that I don't like is how the hospital won't let Pea out which doesn't make much sense to me because she was voluntarily admitted by her parents agreeing to put her in. The fact that the hospital threatens to keep Pea in the hospital longer is not a very positive way to display the hospital and shows that "getting help" is bad and that you should solve mental issues on your own. Overall, I liked this book in the sense that it helped me understand eating disorders better and the mentality that comes with having an eating disorders. I liked the very romantic chemistry between Ben and Pea and I think that is why I kept reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a young girl, Pea, who is sixteen-years old and has an eating disorder called ARFID. ARFID stands for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. This eating disorder makes it hard for Pea to try new foods. She cannot stand the smell, sight, and texture of many foods due to this disorder and feels "safe" only eating a few foods that she knows she is fine with eating. I enjoyed this book because it is set in the second person referring to readers as "you" which helps readers feel as if they have the disorder and helps them connect to what Pea is feeling/experiencing. Pea also falls in love with this boy Ben and she develops an amazing chemistry with him. Ben is very accepting and supportive when she finally builds up the courage to tell him about her disorder. He is so sweet and kind to the point where it seems a little too fictional and unrealistic. However, the author did a very good job with explaining how Pea feels that it made me almost tear up a few times because even though I had never experienced a eating disorder I could suddenly imagine and understand how much this was affecting Pea's life. When Pea falls in love with Ben she stops taking her medications for her depression because she develops this mentality that she is " happy" with Ben and that she doesn't need to take her pills to make her happy. I don't like the idea that this is added in the book because it just makes it seem like mental or eating disorders can be cured by love. Obviously, the love and support that Pea gets from her family and Ben does help her in curing her eating disorder, but it's ultimately the therapy that helps her the most. This book does a good job of making readers understand what people with eating disorders go through but this book is definitely not a good book for someone who has or has had an eating disorder themselves. For example, when Pea begins to harm herself with a pin she ends up in a hospital in order to get help. However, the author makes the hospital seem like a very bad place where the nurses are very abusive and mean. I don't like how the nurses are portrayed in this book because it makes people who have eating disorders not want to get help even more. It makes them even more afraid to reach out and get treatment which is not good at all. When Pea is in the hospital she begins to realize that she needs to get rid of this disorder or "monster" and continues to blame herself for having this disorder and for being a problem to her family. This may be an accurate description of how a person suffering with an eating disorder feels but it is not helpful to those suffering with it because it is reinforcing the idea that eating disorders are your own fault. Another thing that I don't like is how the hospital won't let Pea out which doesn't make much sense to me because she was voluntarily admitted by her parents agreeing to put her in. The fact that the hospital threatens to keep Pea in the hospital longer is not a very positive way to display the hospital and shows that "getting help" is bad and that you should solve mental issues on your own. Overall, I liked this book in the sense that it helped me understand eating disorders better and the mentality that comes with having an eating disorders. I liked the very romantic chemistry between Ben and Pea and I think that is why I kept reading this book.