Parents' Guide to

Good Enough

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Compelling, emotional look at tween's anorexia recovery.

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Kids say (3):

This touching and realistic look at a 12 year old in recovery for an eating disorder does a great job of not shying way from hard truths while also being an accessible, enjoyable read. In Good Enough, author Jen Petro-Roy, an eating disorder survivor, gets deep into the hard emotional work it takes to get better and does it in a way that will resonate with middle-grade and younger readers. Many other YA novels about eating disorders focus on older teens and understandably have more adult content as a result, so Good Enough hits a much-needed sweet spot with its focus on 12-year-old Riley and the issues she faces as she's entering her teen years.

The story is told through her journal entries. In the early chapters, her sarcastic defensiveness starts to wear thin, but as she works through recovery she grows and her insights are wonderful to follow. The book hits on many important points, including showing how hard recovery is and that living life after recovery can be even harder; how well meaning parents can still mess up a kid; and the power others' words can have on the psyche. The latter isn't unusual in the middle school years, but verbal bullying and casual cruelty can have lasting effects, and the story shows this to great effect. The best part of Good Enough and its journal format is the insight it gives into the brain of anorexics, especially the negative self-talk and the desire for control over this one aspect of their lives. The only downside to the journal format is that the other characters -- parents, sibling, friends, staff -- don't quite come alive, but that is a small point in an overall educational and entertaining read.

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