cover image Purge


Sarah Darer Littman. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-545-05235-1

Written in first person, including journal entries, Littman's chronicle of teen bulimia unfolds as 16-year-old Janie describes her stay in a rehabilitation center for eating disorders. For Janie, bingeing and purging make her feel in control of a body she hates. After a humiliating scene at her sister's wedding in which her disease is discovered, she tries to kill herself and is brought to the center for treatment. Unfortunately, her stay is predictable and her counterparts come across as clichéd. Janie's recounting of the events leading up to her suicide attempt, however, is entirely relatable and her feelings authentic (""Was there ever a period of time when I was able to love food unreservedly, without thinking of it as 'the enemy' the minute it was in my stomach?""). Most realistic is her friendship with childhood pal Kelsey, and their big fight is devastating, as is Janie's losing her virginity to a boy who treats her badly. Littman (Confessions of a Closet Catholic) offers a good, if limited, addition to the resources available for teens suffering with this issue. Ages 12-up.