Zoe Letting Go

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3.7
 
2.5 (2)
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Zoe Letting Go
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
June 28, 2012
ISBN
9781595144669
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A girl's letters to her best friend reveal two lives derailed by anorexia in this haunting debut that's "Wintergirls" meets "The Sixth Sense."

Editor reviews

1 reviews

An intriguing look at eating disorders
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Zoe is not at all pleased when her mother wakes her up, all but throws her in the car, and dumps her at Twin Birch. It's not a hospital, it's not a jail, but the six girls who are there have very strict rules they need to follow, especially when it comes to food and "sharing" with the other patients. Zoe doesn't need to be at Twin Birch; she tries not to fight against the counselors when she has to do therapy sessions, she eats what she is supposed to even though she can tell she's gaining weight, and she hopes that she can leave soon. In order to cope, she writes letters to her best friend Elise, and talks a lot about the food rituals the two develop as well as the problems that they faced in high school. There are problems at Twin Birch as well, and gain, Zoe does not feel that her problems are severe enough to require her to be in this expensive facility. There are parts of her past that she is ignoring, and until she comes to terms with these, she won't really be healed.
Good Points
This is a very good book about anorexia, and I especially appreciated that Zoe was NOT in very bad shape. I think there are a fair number of girls whose anorexia can be dealt with before they really endanger themselves. While more extreme examples are shown in the other patients, Zoe's thought processes are a valuable addition to the canon of eating disorder fiction.
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User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.5
Plot 
 
2.0  (2)
Characters 
 
2.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (2)
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Different side of eating disorders
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
This book is an ambitious debut novel that takes a very different approach to eating disorders and recovery from anorexia. The novel’s titular protagonist, is sent to a rehab center but doesn’t know why—she’s so very different from the other girls, she doesn’t fit in, she’s not a freak like them, etc., etc. Most of Zoe Letting Go relies on mystery and, at times, it reads something like a psychological thriller, which may or may not have been a good stylistic decision, but definitely made this book stand out.

In the end, I really liked Price’s treatment of Zoe’s mental journey, her interactions with fellow patients, and the way everything at school functioned. At the same time, I didn’t really buy it. Once the reveal happens and the reader discovers why Zoe was really sent to rehab, things don’t make sense. In my opinion, Zoe was right in that she didn’t belong at that place (and certainly, she shouldn’t have been left to figure things out on her own—that defeats the purpose of therapy, correct?). Yes, Zoe was recovering from an eating disorder, but she also had a bunch of issues that could have been dealt with in more effective ways.

Another thing was the sense of menace that filled the atmosphere at the Twin Birch center. The other girls are out to get Zoe, but she doesn’t know why. She views them as evil wraiths, while she sees herself as mostly normal (which, outwardly, she is). Add in the missing places in her memory, and it really felt like Price was attempting to turn Zoe Letting Go into a thriller. The mystery and danger Zoe felt seemed at odds with her progress toward recovery.

On technical aspects. First, I didn’t feel at all that Price had a good grip on her characters. The book is narrated via Zoe’s journal entries and letters to her friend Elise, but the language did not sound like a teenager’s voice at all. I’m sure some teenagers use words like “rectilinearity” and “perplexing” and “somnolent” in normal conversation, but most don’t. Zoe didn’t seem to have a good reason to write in the way she did, being neither bookish, exposed to that kind of language regularly, nor in possession of above-average schooling. As a result, a lot of the language in Zoe Letting Go felt a bit stilted and inauthentic, though it wasn’t exactly bad.

And second, there were plotholes here and there. Some things didn’t add up, or plotlines were picked up and set aside without being resolved. Not a big deal, but the book did leave some lingering questions and confusion.

I did, in the end, enjoy this book. I thought it was well-written and interesting. Maybe I didn’t get all of it, but I did think the story was engaging. I could be tempted to pick up another book of Nora Price’s, should she choose to write another novel. Zoe Letting Go isn’t a remarkable book, but it’s not half bad.
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Slow and kind of boring
Overall rating 
 
2.0
Plot 
 
1.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Why did this book remind me of Cracked and Winter Girls? Six girls in a… what do you call this place since “It's not a hospital, a spa, or an institution. That's what they told me--that's what the brochures promised.”? Anyway, six girls are in this place because they have issues, mental issues, that is.

I liked Girl, Interrupted by Price but Zoe letting go didn’t work for me. I got bored and felt like dropping the book but because it is Price I found it within my heart to finish it.

In this book nothing really happens and nothing is really explained. Who was stealing the articles of clothing?

I got tired of the breakfast- therapy- lunch-socializing-dinner routine and the food/menu.

What I liked: the end was surprising. I finally found out why Zoe was in there but so little was said about it that I just had to guess the rest. The end felt rushed, as if to get the book over with because she couldn’t think of more food to add to the book.
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