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Not Hungry by Kate Karyus Quinn
West 44 Books / Enslow Publishing
Publication Date: August 1, 2019
June is secretly starving herself in an effort to lose weight. When she gets caught “purging” in the bushes by another student – who is new to her school and destined to be one of the popular kids – she is terrified of the ridicule and bullying she will get if he exposes her secret. As June spends more time with him, she discovers he has his own secrets, and one of those secrets is that he and June are hanging out together.
Not Hungry is a short (192 pages) novel-in-verse. It is essentially a character study of June’s (and June’s sister, Mae’s) struggles with body image, shame, bullying, and toxic relationships – situations of concern for most teens. The darkness of these themes is lightened when the story reaches a satisfying and uplifting conclusion as June and Mae grow into self-acceptance and the sisters support each other to stand up for themselves.
Recommend to teens who want a lighter, shorter version of novels-in-verse by authors like Ellen Hopkins. For stories with strong girls who overcome body image stereotypes read: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (also a Netflix movie), short stories from The (Other) F word: A celebration of the fat and the fierce edited by Angie Manfredi and To Be Honest by Maggie Martin.