Book Review | Sad Perfect
Title: Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Published by: Square Fish (Feb. 28th, 2017)
Perfect is only on the surface in this gripping novel about a teen girl who looks normal but struggles with a little known eating disorder.
Sixteen-year-old Pea has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which means she can’t eat very much because nutritious foods frighten her. Having ARFID is like having a monster inside of her, one that dictates what she can eat, what she does and who she socializes with. This monster is growing and controlling more than just her food issues?it’s causing anxiety, depression, and giving her thoughts that she doesn’t want to have.
When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that’s when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, best friend, and Ben the support and strength that she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.
Sad Perfect is the haunting debut novel from Stephanie Elliot.
What I Thought
I first heard about Sad Perfect from EmmmaBooks on Youtube. Her review on her channel really made me interested in this book and it had been on my TBR ever since. For whatever reason, I have been thinking about this book lately, and decided to finally read it. I’m so glad I did, too!
The first thing that really stood out to me about this book and what made it so unique, was that it was told in 2nd person. Aside from reading those Choose Your Own Adventure books from 2nd grade, I had never read a book in 2nd person before. At first I was a little weary with how I would be able to connect with the story this way, but I found it actually really helped me to connect. I was Pea. I don’t have ARFID, so I can’t say if the rep was accurate, but while reading Sad Perfect, I truly felt like I was able to get into Pea’s head and understand what she was going through. 2nd person really helped make this story come alive and feel very personal to me.
Another thing I appreciated was that this book does not glamorize mental illness. It shows the repercussions of not taking your medicine. It shows how frustrating and difficult recovery is, not only for you, but also family and friends. This book is so real and so raw.
Also, because of the topic and nature of this book, I would definitely say have caution when reading this book if eating disorders, anxiety/depression, suicide, and self-harm trigger you.
I will say the one thing that was a little bothersome to me was the original cover of the book. It features the tool that Pea uses to self harm as the focus of the cover. I, personally, felt like that was a bit tacky and hurtful. It has been changed for the paperback release, though, which is the cover I used for this review.
I really enjoyed all the characters in this novel. I admit, sometimes I felt like I wanted to know them just a little better, but it is sort of understandable because it felt like Pea kept a little distance from people because of her illness. Overall though, everyone was really interesting. I especially loved how supportive Ben was. He stood by her even when he didn’t always understand. Not only that but his family was supportive, too. It was so great to read about an encouraging and joyful family.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sad Perfect. It was so unique and really opened my eyes up to the struggle of recognizing you have a problem and recovery. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to learn more about living life with a mental illness and a compelling and honest read.
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