Believarexic by J.J. Johnson
YA ∴ Realistic Fiction ∴ Mental Health ∴ Contemporary
Published October 1st 2015 by Peachtree Publishers
ebook ∴ 464 pages
- I was given a digital copy of Believarexic in exchange for an honest review by Peachtree Publishers.
Fifteen-year-old Jennifer has to force her family to admit she needs help for her eating disorder. But when her parents sign her into the Samuel Tuke Center, she knows it’s a terrible mistake. The facility’s locked doors, cynical nurses, and punitive rules are a far cry from the peaceful, supportive environment she’d imagined.
In order to be discharged, Jennifer must make her way through the strict treatment program—as well as harrowing accusations, confusing half-truths, and startling insights. She is forced to examine her relationships, both inside and outside the hospital. She must relearn who to trust, and decide for herself what “healthy” really means.
Punctuated by dark humor, gritty realism, and profound moments of self-discovery, Believarexic is a stereotype-defying exploration of belief and human connection.
This book is so deep. There are so many issues addressed throughout the book that don’t involve eating disorders. Yes, that’s the main theme, but there are also family issues, self-esteem issues, sexuality issues, alcoholism, drug abuse, and so many more.
I will say that it did strongly remind me of Girl, Interrupted, but in a good way. This book was sad in the right places and uplifting in the right places. Everyone I told about it while I was reading said, “That sounds sad.” I strongly replied that it wasn’t just a sad book. This book spoke to me, not that I have personally experienced all of these problems, but because the lessons can be adapted to apply to other personal issues.
Johnson’s writing is very interesting, as well. The very beginning is in second person, she addresses you or the audience. Then it moves to third person, speaking about Jennifer from above. Throughout most of the novel, it switches to first person, and remains that way to the end. I’m a sucker for creative writing styles.
I’ll definitely be recommending this to anyone I know that enjoys this kind of genre. I’m looking forward to reading other things JJ Johnson has to offer.