Release Date: 14th July 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Don’t call her a guardian angel. Annabel is dead – but she hasn’t completely gone away. Annabel immediately understands why her first assignment as a ghostly helper is to her old classmate: Julia is fat. And being fat makes you unhappy. Simple, right?
As Annabel shadows Julia’s life in the pressured final year of school, Julia gradually lets Annabel’s voice in, guiding her thoughts towards her body, food and control.
But nothing is as simple as it first seems. Spending time in Julia’s head seems to be having its own effect on Annabel . . . And she knows that once the voices take hold, it’s hard to ignore them.
Here was my initial review on goodreads:
Like a lot of other people, I have felt massive pressure from the media and other sources to be skinny and perfect. This book surrounds the idea that Nothing Tastes As Good As Healthy and that is the overall message from Claire Hennessy.
Firstly, I want to point out that me and the girls over at The Book Club read this for our August pick and there was a hell of a lot of controversy! We all had our own opinions and very opposing ones at that. I feel like I can see both sides of this so let me explain…
Nothing Tastes As Good has some very drastic descriptions from an anorexic character’s point of view (Annabel). They are really creepy and people recovering from eating disorders may be triggered by the language used and so some of the girls in The Book Club found this disturbing. I totally agree and get that because whilst reading I found myself wondering about my weight and tubby bits…*HIDES UNDER A ROCK* At the same time though, I found that the shocking descriptions definitely had impact, which I think was Claire’s point. She had to make it seem gruesome and gross to point out that it isn’t healthy and we need to dissuade the idea that it is healthy to be skin and bone. So anyway, there are just two opinions here but if you have an opinion you want to share, don’t forget you can comment below this post and i’ll be happy to reply 🙂
Now for the characters, we have Annabel and Julia as our main characters. Annabel died from the effects of anorexia and is essentially Julia’s guardian angel. Why does Julia need a guardian angel? Well she is a binge eater, she eats her feelings because it’s the only way she can feel in control. So as you can see, they are two very opposing characters. I loved Annabel for her sarcastic and bitchy humour, she is a really entertaining but unhinged character. I didn’t connect with Julia as much but she brought a feminist element into it which was much needed in a book surrounding weight and the pressure to be model skinny.
Now for the writing, well the fact that you’re reading from an unreliable character is exhilarating and fun in a sick kind of way. Annabel is dead, she is just a voice in Julia’s head. HA! I’m a poet and I don’t know it! Ahem…anyway, she is highly unreliable because she is pro-anorexia and tries to promote it to Julia. The way the book is written reminds me of The Book Thief’s style, writing from death’s perspective. It was really unusual but worked so well!
Overall, I would highly recommend this quick and empowering read but I will place a trigger warning here.
*BE AWARE, if you have suffered from an eating disorder before then you may want to tread carefully and take it easy with this book*
With that said, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK! You will feel empowered and be thinking healthily by the end.