What I Lost

What I Lost

Book - 2017
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When sixteen-year-old Elizabeth is sent to the Wallingfield Psychiatric Facility's Residential Treatment Center, she encounters girls whose problems seem much greater than her own anorexia.
Publisher: New York, NY : Farrar, Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780374304638
0374304637
Branch Call Number: YA FIC
Characteristics: 390 pages ; 22 cm

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The story of sixteen-year-old Elizabeth who is sent to a psychiatric hospital to treat her anorexia. Try this teen novel if you enjoyed It's Kind of a Funny Story.


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What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard is a novel that tackles the difficult subject of anorexia. This book is written in first person from the perspective of a girl named Elizabeth, who has recently been checked into a treatment center for eating disorders. Anorexia is a very delicate topic, especially for a YA novel; I believe the author handled this very tactfully and appropriately, showing the readers reality without overdramatizing or glamorizing disordered eating. The story follows Elizabeth’s path to recovery and the issues she faces: from the social issues of living in a treatment center away from school to her own mother’s obsession with skinniness, all while battling her own body dysmorphia. I came across several moments in the book where I felt like I couldn’t understand Elizabeth at all, which is exactly the point of the book. The majority of us cannot comprehend what life is like with an eating disorder and What I Lost helped me to understand the day-to-day struggle anorexic people have with food and their bodies. The ending of the book is realistic in that Elizabeth doesn’t magically shake off the eating disorder that has haunted her for months; instead, she finds hope in what she’s already accomplished and makes a conscious decision to take her recovery one day at a time. I would recommend this book to any teen, especially anyone struggling with body image or disordered eating. -Dana

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