The story of a teen girl’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and 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, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

I received this book on NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.17 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)

Eating disorders are such a difficult topic to write about, especially when there isn’t much known about them, and I think that Stephanie Elliot did a fantastic job. I read the acknowledgements and I can’t help but feel like this was a memior about her or her daughter, and that just makes it seem that much real, and slightly less like fiction. Nevertheless, it was well-written.

I read this book in an afternoon, putting off going to bed because I wanted to finish it. I became so invested in Pea, and what would happen to her, and whether or not she would get out of the “crazy hospital”. I felt like her descriptions of this “monster” in her head, telling her what to eat and how to feel, and even how to act, was realistic of not only EDs but also anxiety and depression.

I thought her relationships with her parents were cleverly written, and even her relationships with Ben and Jae. I thought Ben would be a bit douche-y, but I felt for him even more when I found out it was him who sent in the anonymous concern. I believe someone wouldn’t do that unless they truely cared for someone, and even though it was a negative experience, I was glad it was included.

Now, I’ve never been in a mental institution, despite suffering from my own demons, but I believe that the experiences she faced while being detained were realistic, and gave some understanding in what it is like being sectioned, even though she was not detained under the mental health act, but because it was believed that she would harm herself, and maybe even commit suicide.

Her experience in the hospital was a negative one, and it has opened my eyes into the lack of understanding about disorders, and the lack of support and information available. I feel like this book will help to raise awareness about ARFID, and I know Stephanie Elliot helps to raise awareness herself. I think this book is well written and deserves as much publicity as it can get.


You can find Sad Perfect on Goodreads:

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