Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: 6th June 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Poetry
Sixteen-year-old Ivy’s world is in flux. Her dad has moved out, her mother is withdrawn, her brother is off at college, and her best friend, Anna, has grown distant. Worst of all, Ivy’s body won t stop expanding. She’s getting taller and curvier, with no end in sight. Even her beloved math class offers no clear solution to the imbalanced equation that has become Ivy s life.
Everything feels off-kilter until a skipped meal leads to a boost in confidence and reminds Ivy that her life is her own. If Ivy can just limit what she eats the way her mother seems to she can stop herself from growing, focus on the upcoming math competition, and reclaim control of her life. But when her disordered eating leads to missed opportunities and a devastating health scare, Ivy realizes that she must weigh her mother’s issues against her own, and discover what it means to be a part of and apart from her family. -GR
I was given this by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning for Eating Disorders.
I read this book in an hour. I forgot my English homework. I ignored my friends at the table. I cried in front of the entire common room, and my friends were kind enough to ‘not notice’.
This book was incredible.
Being the first book I’ve read written in verse, I had no idea how I much I would really love it. The beauty of the writing was astounding – I couldn’t and didn’t tear my eyes away from it. Lily Myers’ words blocked out the noise of the full common room and completely enveloped me in this solemn, heart-breaking silence.
Another word to describe this book – heartbreaking. As someone who hasn’t suffered from an eating disorder before (and as such, I can’t say whether this was an accurate representation), the thoughts running through Ivy’s head broke me. I felt every bit of her hate, her desperation, and pain, and it made me realise just how much I didn’t know about the psychology of eating disorders and just how easy they can occur in society today. Though it is told from Ivy’s perspective, it shows other people’s struggles with mental illness and body image and self-esteem in such a subtle way that I almost missed it, which led me to wonder – how much more have I missed in real life?
I had worried that being written in verse, Ivy wouldn’t seem like a real character, more detached perhaps, but I felt closer to Ivy than I have to a lot of characters I have read about. The pressures of being The Smart Girl I could relate to so much, the feeling of success being taken as a given and failure an impossibility. But then having to strike I balance between the two, pretty much summed up here:
‘One thing about being a Smart Girl
is sometimes you feel like
you’re not supposed to be one.
I am a Smart Girl
I can’t steal a bottle of mom’s wine
flunk a test on purpose
stay up all night eating cereal and ice cream
run fast and far in the rain
until there’s no way back again.
Just writing that back out is getting me emotional again. I was a mess at her worst, and I was a mess on the way to her best. I just… I just adored it. I needed a good book cry and this was it.
I will probably read this again very soon. It is one of the special ones.
I would whole-heartedly recommend.
PS: Check out Lily Myers’ slam poetry on YouTube!