School Library Journal Review - Small Displays of Chaos

Reviewed by: Kathleen E. Gruver

Gr 7 Up—Rayanne Timko's goal in high school is to "get in, get out, and be seen by no one," but in the first week of her senior year, she has been called in to see a guidance counselor. As her story unfolds, readers learn that Rayanne has a hidden life; after being given a phys ed assignment to pick a fitness goal and journal about it, she begins to obsess about her daily meals and activities to an unhealthy degree. As she strives to rid herself of every bit of unwanted fat by rigidly controlling her food intake, her physical and mental health deteriorate. She develops an alternate personality named Edie, who is 20 pounds lighter and constantly criticizes her, and she starts to purge and cut herself. When Rayanne nearly dies after an incident at her cousin's wedding, she is hospitalized and finally begins to cope with her condition. This first novel from Canadian author Fischer is based on her personal experiences with eating disorders. It does not glamorize these disorders or provide any easy answers. The descriptions of the protagonist's purging and cutting behaviors are realistic and brutal, and the conclusion makes it clear that her recovery is an ongoing process. VERDICT A worthwhile addition to collections needing newer titles about these sensitive issues.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

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