Friday, February 7, 2020

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

31145120What I Lost is a YA inspirational story about a girl's journey to recovery from her battle with anorexia. Elizabeth is obsessed with losing as much weight as possible and achieving becoming a size 0. She is proud of herself for having the strength to keep going long hours without eating and pleasing her mother, who has the same unhealthy habits that she does. But after her body starts failing, she is taken to Wallingfield, a psychiatric hospital, where she begins the long and harsh road to recovery.

What I Lost might be my favorite YA book featuring a character with an eating disorder ever- more than Sad Perfect or Wintergirls. My favorite element of this book is the raw honesty of it. A few scenes left me near tears.

This book is extremely honest in clearly showing the signs of developing an eating disorder as well as the tips and tricks that people can use to get away with not eating- but also explains all the long-term consequences of anorexia to discourage readers from even thinking of engaging in those behaviors. Rather than focusing on the illness, however, the main goal and theme of this novel is that it is possible to heal. What I Lost preaches the idea of never being alone. I adored the journey to self-confidence and healing that the characters embark. It is certainly not easy- however What I Lost proves that those in the darkest of places can still find light and healing.

What I Lost showcases some of the proper ways to encourage watching weight while still instilling beliefs of being beautiful and building self-confidence. This would be an awesome parenting guide on how to avoid reinforcing negative thoughts. Even if one is overweight and is trying to be healthier, Elizabeth's parents and friends clearly made some mistakes. Speaking of Elizabeth's mother, she clearly had issues with eating disorders herself, whose unhealthy ideals spread to Elizabeth. I love how all the characters in this book were extremely complex and had multiple layers. I cannot pick out anything regarding the plot or setting or characters to critique- I wouldn't change a thing.

I highly recommend this book!

Title: What I Lost
Author: Alexandra Ballard
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 400
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

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