Young Adult Fiction, Mental Health, Sports/Wrestling, Dance, Eating Disorders
16-year-old Wes McCoy is not the favorite child. He does not have a wrestling scholarship to Stanford nor does he live up to the family legacy as an athlete, unlike his brother, Jason. But when Jason dies in a car accident on the way to the state high school wrestling championship, Wes turns to food to give him the control over his life he didn’t have before, and the kind of success he never tasted.
Told through alternating past and present chapters revolving around Jason’s death, Wes must come to terms with more than Jason’s death. There’s Caila, a defiant girl who introduces him to the painful pleasure of starving. And there’s Collin, Wes’s best friend who speaks in Shakespearean insults and with whom his relationship is irreparably damaged. But most of all, Wes must take back control from his eating disorder as he learns more about himself and the mystery surrounding Jason’s accident, before he loses his life and those closest to him.
Molly Fennig studied Neuroscience, Spanish, and English at Swarthmore College. She has published in The Blue Route Literary Magazine, The Blue Nib, the Running Wild Press Anthology, Havik 2020 Anthology, other literary presses, and multiple scientific journals. Molly currently works at the University of Minnesota in eating disorders treatment research and hopes to get her doctorate in clinical psychology.
Outside of her passion for writing and mental health, Molly enjoys eating large quantities of chocolate and spending time with her goldendoodle, Mocha.
Bridget Pronozuk, August 10, 2020
“I started and finished this book in two days! It’s compelling, thoughtfully and well-written, and accurately portrays an individual’s life with an eating disorder. As someone who has been in and out of treatment for anorexia numerous times, I’m often hesitant to read such things (and certainly wouldn’t consider it for “pleasure”!). Fennig’s writing is done in a way that doesn’t at all “mock” the struggles that individuals facing mental illness experience, and I genuinely appreciated the story.
It definitely contains content that could likely be triggering for those struggling with mental health, so keep that in mind before you decide to read it or recommend it to another individual. Aside from that, however, I would absolutely encourage everyone to read this book.“
Callie, July 17, 2020
Mental health books are rare, but not as rare as one that conveys the experience well. Even more, I’ve only heard of one or two others that explore male eating disorders (ie The Art of Starving, which is part fantasy).
I love how much tension is in this book. The alternating past/present chapters keep the story captivating and show the parallels between the stages of illness in a way other books cannot. The humor beautifully offsets the harsh reality of Wes’ life. The characters are well-rounded and easy to root for despite their flaws. I especially loved Colin and his comedic relief.
The writing was beautiful– concise and descriptive while still transporting the reader into the scene. Without going into detail, I loved the ending. It stayed away from many cliches– finding a great balance between positivity and realism.”
Aaron Peterson, August 13, 2020
It is rare I find a book that I find as hard to put down as Starvation was. Fennig’s unique style of writing made me want to keep going at the end of every chapter. Although a very serious topic, Fennig’s use of comedic relief makes the book lighter, keeping me engaged the entire time. I would highly recommend this book if you are interested how eating disorders can affect people’s thoughts and decision making. This book truly opened my eyes to how eating disorders are more than what meets the eye