What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What I Lost is a compelling story about sixteen-year-old, Elizabeth, who has dropped 4 sizes in only a few months, lost a boyfriend, and struggles with an eating disorder against her better judgment. Pained by the sight of greasy, sticky, full-fat food, or the horror more than a morsel might touch her lips. Her struggle is painful, recognizable, and terribly real.
When Elizabeth’s parents bring her to Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls going through a similar struggle, we meet a host of characters, each desperately trying to survive their own eating disorder. It’s excruciating. You feel for each girl, and her story, as you discover the pain that brought them here.
Although Elizabeth doesn’t like being away from home, Wallingfield quickly becomes a refuge, a place of safety, while she wrestles with the idea of staying there for good or getting well enough to leave. The recovery rate is slim. She knows this. Her roommate Lexi leaves, inspiring Elizabeth to eat just enough to (hopefully) return to the comfort of her home. When mysterious packages arrive for Elizabeth, the girls convince her that she has a secret admirer. Surely, it’s her ex-boyfriend with the clues he’d sent. Had he forgiven her?
After treatment, and counseling, and a final heartbreaking confrontation with her mother, who has her own size-0 obsession, could Elizabeth be ready to leave Wallingfield? You walk each step as Elizabeth works to find herself and be more than the disorder.
Authentic, and heartbreaking, a must read for our girls -- and boys! WHAT I LOST is an important book for our times. I hope it empowers our girls to love their bodies in all their glorious shapes and sizes.
Expected publication: June 6th, 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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