Written in a free verse format, "Not Hungry" shows us a raw but true reality of a teenager who struggles with an eating disorder, and how this situation affects her confidence and mental health.
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Publication details: 200 pp; West 44 Books; August 1, 2019
Eating disorders can be a difficult topic for books, especially in Young Adult fiction, which makes this story worth reading. In Not Hungry, Kate Karyus portraits a raw but true reality of a teenager who struggles with this condition and how it affects her confidence and mental health.
Written in free verse, Not Hungry introduces us to the life of June, a girl who considers herself to be overweight. However, her family and her friends believe she's on a diet. But June is obsessed with losing weight, so she goes from starving to binging.
One day, when June is at the back of her house vomiting, she meets Toby, a football player who just moved in next door. She's panicked because he knows her secret. The worst part is Toby has moved to the same school June attends, too. Soon she discovers that Toby also has a secret, and he has his motives to act the way he does.
Mae, June's sister, plays an essential role in her life. Mae suffers from abuse by her boyfriend Erick, but when June opens up about her secret with her sister, both girls realize they need to make their own decisions to live a better life.
The story happens fast because of the free verse format. Kate briefly provides how the eating disorder affects the protagonist's life, and I would have liked the author to go deeper into this condition. Besides that, the plot is well constructed. There's enough space in the story to understand why the characters behave the way they do, and to know about their struggles.
Not Hungry is an easy-reading verse novel with a powerful young woman who deals not only with an eating disorder but also with a dysfunctional family and bullying.
You can follow the author on social media as @katekaryusquinn
Have you read other books that deal with a similar subject? Do you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!