Sad Perfect is Immersive and Just SO Moving

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!

Wine Pairing

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

Goodreads Description:

29102869.jpgThe 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.


My Review


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.

Cover Rating


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.

Swoon Worthiness


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!

 About the Author

d5e0dc_07f9af47e30b43bd9d6af322b0fb23a5.jpgStephanie 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?

23 thoughts on “Sad Perfect is Immersive and Just SO Moving

  1. The Hermit Librarian says:

    I might get this when it comes out, though I think it will be a library book for me. I’ve read one other review and it was the polar opposite of yours. The reviewer, if I remember correctly, thought that this book was quite triggering and didn’t handle the ED very well, despite the author’s experience with it.

    This is the year of polar opposite opinions, I think, with books. Usually there’s a fair mix, but it feels like there have been more than a few already that are at one end of the rating scale or another.

    I think one of my favorite mental health books so far was either Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone, or The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAandWine says:

      You’ll definitely have to let me know what you think. I loved the story and was just enamored with the writing style. It’s unique, so I’m sure there will be a wide range of opinions. I could relate on a personal level to the mental health issues in the book, and for me that all felt spot on. But I also think experiencing the same mental health condition can be completely different for two different people. We don’t all react to them the same way, or even have all the same symptoms. So I think that’s definitely something to keep in mind when reading any book that has mental health as a focus. I haven’t read The Weight of Zero yet, so that’s immediately going on my TBR. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Hermit Librarian says:

        You’re welcome!

        I understand what you mean about personal experience and relating better to some material. Girl in Pieces was such an impactful story for me because I related to Charlie, the main character, due to having experienced a lot of the same things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • YAandWine says:

        That’s the great thing about publishing right now. They’re working so hard to publish books that include diversity and mental health, so that everyone can see themselves in books. There’s a long way to go still, but we’re definitely starting to move in the right direction.


  2. Kirsty @ Kirstychronicles says:

    This sounds so interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever read a second person POV which is weird now that I’m thinking about it! The plot sounds really great as well, I love reading about mental health and the ways in which people overcome it. Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Megan @ bookslayerReads says:

    Nice review, Krysti! This book sounds really interesting, especially with the eating disorders involved… I could use it for the #ReadDiverse2017 challenge I’m participating in. I’m always looking for diverse recommendations! I don’t think I’ve ever read a book using second person POV, so that’d be new to me. I’d like to try it out though!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mandy says:

    Ooooooooooooh. Fantastic review as always, Krysti, but you just made this sound soooooo good. I didn’t think about the romance aspect in 2nd POV. But I could see where it would make it extra swoony. I am SO ready for this. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Great review! I haven’t read a book in second person before, either. I am certainly intrigued. It sounds like this would be quite an emotional roller coaster in this case. I have a lot of empathy for people. I wonder how this will affect me if I interpret moments where I *am* Pea?

    Liked by 1 person

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