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.
This was an okay read about a girl who has been recruited, after her death, to help the living.
Annabel was a bit of a messed-up narrator and really loved to fat-shame, which got a bit tedious at times. She did grow by the end of the book, though, which was a relief. Julia was okay, but she needed to stand up for herself a bit more, especially with her horrible, toxic friend.
The story centered around Annabel berating Julia for eating too much and being overweight, and Julia's life at school which mostly involved the school newspaper. The narration was fine and it was easy to keep reading but the school newspaper didn't really interest me very much.
This book has come under a lot of fire for 'glamorising' eating disorders, but I didn't get that at all. It was narrated by someone who was suffering from an eating disorder even after death, so yes, she did have very unhealthy attitudes towards food and body images. But it's not like we, the readers, are supposed to empathise withher views. We know her attitudes are messed-up. And the second main character was overweight because she binge-ate to try and get over a traumatic experience, so again, not very healthy behaviour.
The only way I can think the author might be seen to glamorise eating disorders is by not going into enough detail about the effects of Annabel's anorexia. In Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, the prose is so horrific and the narration so messed-up that there's no effing way you'd think she was glamorising eating disorders. In this book, the effects seemed a bit glossed-over or only mentioned in passing.
All in all, I thought this book was okay. It was an easy enough read but it didn't have enough bite to make it a real page-turner.