By Stephanie Elliot
Summary: For sixteen-year-old Pea, eating has always been difficult. Some people might call her a picky eater, but she knows it’s more than that, and it’s getting worse. And now there’s a monster raging inside of her, one that controls more than just her eating disorder. The monster is growing, and causing anxiety, depression, and dangerous thoughts. When Pea meets Ben and they fall crazy-mad in love, she tries to keep the monster hidden. But the monster wants out, and as much as she tries, she can’t pretend that the bad in her doesn’t exist. Unable to control herself, a chain of events thrusts Pea into a situation she never imagined she’d find herself in. With the help of Ben, her family, and her best friend, Pea must find the inner strength to understand that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.
Source: I received a hardcover in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour.
Sad Perfect was spectacular, emotional, and completely addicting.
I sat down to read it one evening, fretting a little about the deadline because the book came later than expected due to some snow in my area and I don’t like deadlines. However, I didn’t need to worry because I devoured the whole thing in one sitting. I didn’t even have time to grab a bookmark. Everything I needed to do I was going to do “after this chapter” and I just kept going until the book was over. It was that engrossing.
My favorite thing about the book was that it was a contemporary romance and a contemporary “issue” novel at the same time without being too much of either one. It was perfectly balanced. It was hard hitting in terms of the issue it dealt with, but it wasn’t a dark and torture-filled novel that makes you want to either crawl into ball of negativity or roll your eyes at the dramatics. And it was definitely a romance between Pea and Ben, full of the sweet moments I love in a good YA contemporary romance, but it wasn’t just a fluffy and cute contemporary romance, either. I loved the balance and how the book wasn’t inherently dark or, the opposite: light with the main issue totally glossed over. Ben didn’t waltz in and save her from her demons magically, but he wasn’t a dark and negative influence either, and I feel like either situation could’ve happened in an “issue” book. Sad Perfect was balanced in a great way, as the title kind of makes it seem.
The book was written in second person, which could be off putting to some but I think it worked very well. Second person is not a popular POV, nor one that you’d typically expect. It made me a bit apprehensive at first, but I think it only took a couple of paragraphs to get into the groove. I think second person narration works when it’s executed well and the author certainly did a wonderful job. The POV sucked me in and might even have had something to do with how compelling the story ended up being in the end. In some ways, it was even more engrossing than first person POV. The book was tough to put down: so tough that I didn’t even actually successfully put it down. I tried once to go do the dishes and then decided I could just read another chapter and we all know how that went… I read all of the chapters!
I highly recommend Sad Perfect.
For contemporary romance fans, it’s satisfying and full of those amazing moments and interactions between two people who are so connected and in sync with one another.
For fans of books dealing with major disorders or teen struggles, the book does a great job of taking you through what it’s like to deal with a disorder.
It was educational. I didn’t know that there was an eating disorder that wasn’t somehow connected to body image. I also admit that I totally judge people for being picky eaters and I got schooled about a real problem I never knew about. I’d heard of people not liking textures, especially in the autism spectrum, but this disorder, ARFID, was something I’d never heard of. I felt that it was introduced and described in a way that was easy to understand and I felt like I was getting a firsthand account of what it was like to live with it through Pea.
On top of the actual disorder, Pea also dealt with a couple other issues, some related to the disorder and some just a part of being a normal teen. Because of her weird eating habits, the family dynamics were also impacted. I enjoyed exploring all of that through the book. Even if you aren’t struggling with anything in particular or looking for a book to explore a specific topic, it was also a book about a teenager dealing with parents and siblings, rumors, social media, friends, and new love.
Sad Perfect is the kind of YA contemporary that works for everyone, no matter what aspect of contemporary novels draw you in.
I cannot gush enough about how much I enjoyed Sad Perfect. I sat down and opened the book just expecting to get a feel for what the book would be like and figure out if I could meet my reading deadline and if it was something I’d like and.. next thing I knew I was finished reading and totally amazed. I love when a book makes me lose myself a little bit and get sucked into the pages.
I feel lucky and honored to have gotten an early copy (in hardcover, even!) because I would’ve bought the book (it was on my radar already) and then probably let it sit for ages because that’s who I am as a person these days with a never ending TBR. The blog tour forced me to pick it up the day it arrived in the mail and I loved it. I needed a book to sweep me out of my life for a few hours. It came at the perfect time and it was so good. Buy this book! Do not let it sit on your bookshelf. It’s a quick and engrossing book that you won’t regret picking up.
About Stephanie Elliot
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.
A Note From the Author
I wrote SAD PERFECT when my daughter was going through a 20-week intensive outpatient therapy program for her eating disorder ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. This disorder greatly affected every member in our family and caused my daughter to have extreme anxiety and depression. It is our hope that if you are struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, or depression, that you know you are not alone, that there is help out there, that all you need to do is ask. We have set up a website for those who think they might have ARFID, and my daughter has a YouTube channel where she talks openly about her experience. While SAD PERFECT is fiction, all of the ARFID pieces in the novel are true. Please visit my website, stephanieelliot.com or stephanieelliot.wixsite.com/ARFID for more information on ARFID. Thank you, and be well.