Perfect by Natasha Friend
Isabelle Lee has a problem. Her little sister has ratted her out and now she has to go to group therapy for her eating disorder. Isabelle thinks that she needs to lose weight and so what if she throws up after she eats? There are bigger problems in her house, such as the death of her father and the fact that her mother cries all the time. Group therapy is going to be torture, until the most popular girl in school joins the group.
We all handle grief differently and Isabelle handles it by becoming bulimic. Throwing up makes her forget the pain of losing her father. Beautifully written and heart wrenching, Perfect tells the story of a girl who desperately needs a role model. Ashleigh, the most popular girl in school, becomes that role model when she joins Isabelle's Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy Group. But Ashleigh has her own problems and her friendship is more destructive than Isabelle could have predicted. I was rooting for Isabelle from the first chapter and she didn't disappoint. Natasha Friend has created a thoroughly likable and real heroine who shows that sometimes we need to stand up to our friends and to the ones we love.
Note: This is the first book that I've read by Milkweed Editions, an independent non-profit literary publisher. Perfect won their Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature and I'll definitely be checking out their other award winners.