- Age Range: 9 - 11 years
- Grade Level: 4 - 7
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (February 19, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250123518
- ISBN-13: 978-1250123510
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Good Enough: A Novel Hardcover – February 19, 2019
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"Every library needs Good Enough on its shelves. Lyrical, funny, honest and brave, this is a book that will save lives." ―Katherine Applegate, New York Times-bestselling author of Wishtree and Crenshaw
"Petro-Roy (P.S. I Miss You), an eating disorder survivor, offers an intimate and realistic portrayal of Riley’s destructive thinking patterns as well as her victories and setbacks. A powerful, well-told, and authentic story." ―Publishers Weekly
"[A] supportive, honest, and empowering novel about mental health." ―Booklist
"Raw and heartfelt. Good Enough navigates the labyrinth of emotions attached to anorexia nervosa. Written in journal form and based on the author’s personal experience, this story will tug on your heartstrings as you root for Riley to find her courage and realize she is the superhero in her own story." ―Elly Swartz, author of Give and Take and Finding Perfect
"In Riley, Jen Petro-Roy has created a character so real that when she hurts, we hurt. Luckily, when she heals, we heal, as well." ―Jordan Sonnenblick, author of Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
"Good Enough is a story that had me highlighting line after line so I could go back and read them again. Not just because they were beautifully written and gave me tremendous insight into the mind of a girl fighting anorexia, but because they made me laugh, and they made me cry, and they filled my heart with empathy for anyone fighting this disease. This is an important book I want to shove into the hands of every child who thinks they're not skinny enough, not talented enough, not brave enough, not good enough." ―Dusti Bowling, author of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and 24 Hours in Nowhere
About the Author
Jen Petro-Roy is a former teen librarian, an obsessive reader, and a trivia fanatic. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Massachusetts. She is the author of P.S. I Miss You, Good Enough, and You Are Enough: Your Guide to Body Image and Eating Disorder Recovery. Jen is an eating disorder survivor and an advocate for recovery.
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I bought this book the day it came out, and that's really rare for me. I didn't read any reviews on it first and I didn't do much research on the book - I just bought it. The bright yellow-orange cover made this eye catching (because of the eyes...see what I did there?), and I couldn't wait until I finished the book I was currently reading so I could dive into this one.
"I don't know who 'the old Riley' is anymore, though. And there are no antibiotics that will get rid of my thoughts, which are way too powerful to be silenced. They tell me I'm not good enough. They tell me to be skinnier and prettier. To run more and eat less.
They tell me that everything about me is wrong."
Good Enough starts out with Riley, a twelve-year-old girl who loves drawing, running on the track team, and her family and friends, in a hospital for her eating disorder. Riley is battling anorexia, and while she doesn't believe anything is wrong with her, that being skinnier and running more and eating less is what she wants, her parents have had her admitted here. She feels angry and hurt at them putting her in the hospital, but she feels even more resentful over the loss of her freedom to choose: while at the hospital, Riley must follow rules such as absolutely no exercise, participate in group time, eat all the food on your plate (or drink one of the nasty nutrition shakes), and attending required therapy to get to the root which her eating disorder stemmed from.
At the same time as all of this, Riley is dealing with her best friend being mad at her, her other friends acting strange around her, and her parents not understanding her at all. Why won't her mom listen to her? Why won't her dad visit her? And why is it okay for her perfect younger sister to continue with gymnastics, when all Riley wanted to do was be thinner, to be the best at something?
Good Enough is told in a journal like format, chronicling Riley's day-to-day life in the hospital. We are taken through her therapy sessions, we get to understand why she feels how she does about her friends, her parents, and most of all, herself. As Riley learns how to properly care for herself so that she can get on the road to recovery, she is challenged by other girls in the hospital, her parents, and most of all, herself.
Riley is an incredibly likeable character and getting to go on this heartbreaking and powerful journey with her makes the book such a worthwhile read. There were times when I laughed out loud, and other times when I felt like crying. The emotions in this book are so raw, so full of life, that you can't help but be pulled in from the very first page.
I loved the journal-like format of the book. It's told over the course of several weeks, and it's different from your traditional novel format.
So what didn't I like about this book? Riley's parents.
Riley's parents were terrible. Her mother cared only about how she appeared to Riley's doctors in the hospital, and Riley's dad couldn't be bothered to get on board with helping her recover, blaming her for everything and pretty much just avoiding her at all costs. I disliked them so much, and I felt like the one thing they could offer Riley - a decent support system - was something they outright refused to give her, insisting that Riley should be just fine or that she should just make herself better. I'm not sure if the author intentionally wrote those two characters in such a way, because let's face it, parents like that do exist out there more often than not, but I just didn't feel that they were very realistic. I mean, if my daughter was in the eating disorder unit of the hospital, I would do pretty much anything and everything to help her, including listen to her, which is something neither of Riley's parents seemed to want to do.
Riley's sister, Julia, didn't have a huge role in the book, but she did make it interesting. Riley genuinely seemed to care about her, even though she was often jealous of her, her gymnastics, and her parents' affection. Even Riley seemed to know that it was obvious that Julia was the favorite child.
This book is a really moving novel and I feel like it should definitely be in public libraries and school libraries everywhere. Like the writing in her previous novel, Jen Petro-Roy really created a convincing character and plot that made my heart both break and melt at the same time. The entire book takes place at the hospital, save for flashbacks and the occasional moment here and there, and I felt like she did an amazing job painting the scene and creating the story.
Another thing I didn't know about this book until I had finished it and read the author's note in the back is that the author actually battled an eating disorder, too. This book is not only amazing, it's personal and dear to her heart.
Honestly, if you are on the fence about this book, just read it. It's not very long, and it's so engulfing that you won't want to put it down even for a second. If you haven't read the author's other book, make sure you read that one, too.
Twelve-year-old Riley winds up on an eating disorder unit of a local hospital. At first she fights recovery, then takes tentative and finally more concrete steps to take back her life.
Jen Petro-Roy’s debut middle grade novel also has a companion nonfiction self-help book. Unlike YA eating disorder books, GOOD ENOUGH has no tension or edge. It’s a book with a Big Message, a primer on body image and eating disorders. There was never any doubt Riley would recover.
Riley, a likable main character, narrates with a sincere and sometimes sarcastic voice. Tween girls will be interested in her story, though may become bored with repetitiveness, which, while realistic to recovery, doesn’t make for interesting reading.
Petro-Roy did a good job illustrating different types of eating disorder with the similarities and differences in the underlying issues. I wish she had focused more on the other girls’ issues instead of so much on the food and eating with only a sentence or two interspersed throughout the book. Riley had a specific, privileged set of issues and while important, throwing in a less wealthy kid, bisexual or a black girl doesn’t make for diversity.
GOOD ENOUGH has more telling than showing. Much of the story revolves around what Riley is thinking. She has more insights, even at the beginning of her journey, than any tween I’ve worked with or known. I’m not sure what kind of insurance her family had, because nothing in the USA would cover almost two months inpatient anorexia treatment. The girls in the program do discuss coverage and money, but not in a manner that bears any relationship to actual insurance issues.
I’m glad a middle grade book in eating disorders and recovery exists, which is why I rounded up to three stars.