So, in college, I took A LOT of classes on writing and literature, and heard it said repeatedly that writing in second person POV was a terrible idea and would not engage readers. Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot proves how very, VERY wrong all of those professors were. Sorry, professors!
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliott
I recommend pairing Sad Perfect with this Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc, not only because the bottle looks GORGEOUS with this cover, but also because this book focuses on a very unique eating disorder as well as mental health. This book is sweet, like this wine, but also deals with some very bare emotions. And it’s FANTASTIC.
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
It’s All In The Details
- Title: Sad Perfect
- Author: Stephanie Elliott
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
- Pub Date: February 28, 2017
- Pages: 320
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.
So first of all, I have to gush a little bit more about the brilliance of the way Stephanie Elliott handled second person POV. I’ve never read a book fully in that perspective before. I’ll admit it threw me a little bit the first chapter, because it’s not something that I was used to. By the time I’d finished the second chapter though, I was fully immersed in this story. Like more immersed than I usually am with books, which is saying something. I don’t know if it’s because second person POV really is a lot more immersive than we’ve always been told, or if it was just that it worked with this story in particular. Either way though, IT. WORKED.
Stephanie tackles some major issues in this book. The main character, Pea, has a very unique eating disorder called ARFID, which I had never heard of before. I’m so glad that this book will help to increase awareness of that disorder in particular and of mental health in young adults in general.
Watching Pea struggle with the eating disorder and the anxiety and depression that came along with it was so moving. The combination of the second person POV and the story itself just had me feeling EVERYTHING that Pea was feeling right along with her. I was so in this book. I felt like I was Pea sometimes. Admittedly, I could relate to her story, so that was probably a contributing factor, but I feel like this book will be immersive for people who haven’t experienced these issues before as well.
There is also a SUPER swoony romance in this book. Ben is a dream book boyfriend, and experiencing their relationship in second person POV made it even more impactful for me. (Have I mentioned that I loved that this book was in second person yet? LOL.)
The author’s daughter has struggled with ARFID, which she mentions in the acknowledgements, and that personal knowledge and experience definitely came through in the writing and made the whole thing feel so raw and authentic.
I am so excited for this book to come out at the end of the month, so I can discuss it with people. I think the topics are so important and definitely things that people need to be talking more about in general, and I’m also DYING to see what everyone thought of the writing style.
I like this cover. It’s simple. I like the color scheme. And I like how the cover is representative of some of the struggles that Pea faces in this book.
I was SO into the romance in this book. Ben was such a sweet, supportive, hunky, and AMAZING boyfriend. I’m totally claiming him as my new book boyfriend. Also, reading kissing scenes in Second Person is really, REALLY fun!
Stephanie Elliot is the author of the young adult novel Sad Perfect (Margaret Ferguson Books/FSG, Winter, 2017), which was inspired by her own daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She has written for a variety of websites and magazines and has been a passionate advocate of other authors by promoting their books on the Internet for years. She has been, or still is, all of the following: a book reviewer, an anonymous parenting columnist, a mommy blogger, an editor, a professional napper, a reformed Diet Coke drinker, a gecko breeder and the author of three self-published novels.
A Florida native, Stephanie has lived near Chicago and Philadelphia and currently calls Scottsdale, Arizona home. She graduated from Northern Illinois University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Stephanie and her husband Scott have three children: AJ, McKaelen and Luke. They are all her favorites.
Are you planning on reading Sad Perfect when it comes out this month? What are your favorite YA books that discuss mental health? Have you ever read a book fully in Second Person before?