Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which means she can’t eat very much because nutritious foods frighten her. Having ARFID is like having a monster inside of her, one that dictates what she can eat, what she does and who she socializes with. This monster is growing and controlling more than just her food issues – it’s causing 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, best friend, and Ben the support and strength that she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her. SAD PERFECT is a heart-wrenching debut from Stephanie Elliot.
A Margaret Ferguson Book
“Elliot's novel helps to fill a gap within teen narratives about disordered eating. . .The entirely second-person narration works, for the most part, to create a personal stake for readers in Pea's journey as well as real empathy for Pea: ‘You want to appreciate food. You do. You just don't know how. And you so badly want to learn’. . . [The narrative] treats Pea's mental health struggles with care, nuance, and respect.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Drawing readers in with a second-person perspective, Elliot delivers prose that is both engaging and appropriately unnerving. . .the author does not sugarcoat the world of ARFID, highlighting its unique characteristics and giving teens a thorough look into Pea‘s challenges. . .A well-written page-turner whose sensitive topic is covered with finesse and grace. This novel would be a worthy addition to a high school library collection.” —School Library Journal
“The ending is positive, leaving the reader with hope. Sad Perfect is recommended for libraries serving middle school age and up, where it will appeal to fans of realistic fiction about difficult topics . . . It takes an honest look at an eating disorder and mental health issues faced by some teens.” —VOYA
“Particularly effective second-person narration . . . [implores] readers to empathize with Pea. . . . Fans of Sarah Dessen will be drawn to this uncommon love story.” —Booklist