28 September 2015

Believarexic by J.J. Johnson

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 464

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In 1988, when she was fifteen, JJ Johnson was hospitalized for treatment of bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. During her ten-week stay, JJ had to eat everything on her tray, and took classes like "Assertiveness Training," "Depression Management," and "Body Image Workshop." She gained weight, but her path toward health was a constant struggle. In her heart, JJ knew-she knew-that she would be a happy, healthy adult one day.

But how? Instead of a clear path, there was a black abyss. She needed a guide, a mentor, someone who knew her inside and out.

So, one morning, just before weigh-in, JJ closed her eyes and made a deal with herself:

I promise myself that when I'm grown up, and happy, I will come back here, to these months. Healthy me will guide bulimarexic me through this.

This book is that promise, kept.

This is an autobiographical novel, the events are true but some things a simplified and changed a bit to create a better story. 

I picked up Believarexic on a whim and I was debating whether or not I should keep reading in the beginning. I almost marked it as DNF (did not finish) but the story captured me and I'm glad I kept on reading!

In November 1988 Jennifer is hospitalized for an eating disorder and in late January 1989 she's released. Believarexic is about Jennifer conquering this eating disorder and her journey towards being a healthy and happy teenager.
I loved this story! I admire Jennifer for seeking out help, for reaching out and saying she isn't well. She has kept her true feelings hidden for so long and to finally tell the truth must be quite hard - she's so brave! Seeing Jennifer starting to live, seeing her start to eat, laugh, make friends and basically be a normal teenager was so nice. Even though it's quite a tough subject I smiled and laughed throughout most of the novel!

The friendships are probably one of my favorite parts of the entire story, seeing Jennifer open up and start to laugh was such a wonderful thing! She started to trust people, she stopped throwing tantrums and the absolute best part is, that she actually wanted to get better. Jennifer did everything she could to work the program and conquer the monster inside her, as she calls her eating disorder. We were talking about the friendships: Even though I really liked Monica and Bronwyn, my favorite is definitely Sophia! She's the best friend Jennifer could ever ask for, and their first night together had me in tears and put a big smile on my face at the same time!

The nurses I actually found quite realistic. There's some you like, some you don't like and then some who fades into the background. I absolutely loved Chuck though, her secondary nurse and big brother-figure. I loved seeing their interactions and how he helped her get better and realize she didn't have to be perfect all the time. His conversations helped her a lot and I wish there were more Chucks in the world! Everybody needs someone like him in their life!

Can you believe there's no love interest in this book? There's no flirting, no kissing and no relationships except for friendships! It's so refreshing to read a great book without it having any romance what so ever. You can really focus on Jennifer and her journey without having a guy/girl disrupting everything. Way to go!

After trying to read Paper Weight by Meg Haston and having to put that one down because of the anger and denial, and not the eating disorder aspect, and then picking up another book about eating disorders shortly afterwards was quite a gamble. I've struggled with quite a lot in my life so far and I, thankfully, conquered my eating disorder! Even though reading books with these subjects is hard, it makes me happy and proud that it's in my past - Believarexic definitely had an uplifting feel to it and it was so nice to read opposed to Paper Weight where I just felt like crying. So, out of those to I recommend Believarexic. 
I still think Believarexic can trigger some people, but for me it mainly gave me strength to keep on going and live my life as I do now opposed to some years ago. It gave me hope and I really hope it can do the same for others!

So, even though Believarexic is about a girl with an eating disorder is full of hope, it's uplifting and it made me smile! I really enjoyed reading Jennifer's story and I'm glad I kept on reading instead of giving up!
I've given Believarexic 4 berries, I almost gave it 5 but since I was so close to putting it down in the beginning I figured 4 was more accurate!

1 comment:

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