Meet Meg, aka sistrsic92 and our narrator, and Cara, her older half-sister. On her blog, Meg calls Cara T2P2 (The Totally Perfect Person). When Meg discovers that Cara is intentionally throwing up her food after meals and hiding it from her parents, tension starts to build. After Meg's parents discover Cara's bulimia, the family dynamic shifts with even more attention on Cara. While Cara continues to spiral, Meg has issues of her own: dealing with all the gossip about her sister; friendship problems; working on her piece for the Academic Art Program contest; and deciding between two boys that she likes. Then Cara tells Meg that Trip, her ex-boyfriend raped her. Now Meg's biggest problem is whether to break Cara's trust and tell her parents before the family falls completely apart.
This is a tough book to read. While I've read quite a few epistolary (letter- or journal-style) books, none have used texting shorthand as extensively as this one. As a result, the flow of a compelling, contemporary story was continually interrupted by having to re-read a passage to make sense or go to the glossary at the front of the book.
As an adult, I suspected that Trip had raped Cara early in the story; teens may not see that until later. Meg's cutting was pretty much glossed over. It was one incident, about halfway through, that was not referenced or mentioned again until nearly the end. Cutting is rarely a "one-time only" event (per Meg). Given how much was already on the reader's plate, it should have been handled with the same depth that the bulimia was.
The topics are tough but important! Meg's narration gives readers insight into what bulimia looks like and how it affects everyone, not just the bulimic. Cara offers a first-person perspective of being shamed as a rape victim. The book creates exceptional opportunities for adult-led counseling or teen/young adult book club discussions. I wish that it had included some reference sources at the end.
While I liked the book's potential, it ended on a sour note for me, with Meg declaring Cara is "perfect." A happy ending is great and much-needed for the reader, but to return to a perception of perfection seems to suggest that Meg either hasn't learned anything or wants to forget everything.
High school students looking for stories written with a contemporary style and realistic situations and characters will likely enjoy this book.
Cara is a bulimic and a rape victim. Although the story doesn't directly connect the two, it is definitely implied. The bulimia is extensively described and referenced. Also, Megan tries to deal with a situation by cutting. Despite the middle-grade reading level, this is a book for high school students and young adults.
Megan narrates this second book in the Bloggrls series, with a plot that focuses on her sister's eating disorder and a traumatic event at school.
This is a book made for teen book club or family group therapy discussions. Although Meg offers readers opportunities to talk about self-esteem, hard choices, friendship, betraying trust and sibling relationships, most readers will more likely be drawn to talking about Cara's eating disorder, the rape, and (potentially) the trauma of losing her father at a young age. That this would happen plays into Meg's perception of herself and position in the family.
15 and Up
14 and Up
Borrow or skip. You may want to have your teen read a few chapters at the library first to see if they are comfortable with the flow.