Book Review: Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham

don'tCallmekitkat

Don’t Call Me Kit Kat by K.J. Farnham

A YA Teen Drama Novel published on amazon.com (05/15/2015)

 

Summary:

‘I’m the “kind of sick” that makes you not want to go to school and fake being happy every day. The “kind of sick” that is caused by having your best friends practically disappear from your life—sort of like the way dad up and disappeared when I was little. The “kind of sick” that results from hearing your mother say that your dad never wanted you in the first place. The “kind of sick” that Orchard Hills types of girls with perfect families, clothes and bodies don’t get.’ (Kindle Locations 1538-1541).

Does anybody remember middle school fondly? Certainly Katie Mills aka “Kit Kat” won’t. Unfortunately her problems at school aren’t forgotten when she gets home. Katie has another whole set of personal issues that have nothing to do with school. If only she can be like the OH girls. If only she can be like her older sister Kelsie. If only she could have new clothes, better dance moves, a thinner body, a dad who is there for her, a mom who won’t criticize, and on and on.

Katie is stuck in the middle of her problems with no way to get herself out of them. And then she discovers a way to fix some of her problems, but what will it ultimately cost her?

 

Keywords:

 Teen drama, middle grade, 8th grade, girl problems, bullying, bulimia, eating disorders, hiding problems, evading issues, getting help, friendships, family, body image, recovery

 

My Review:

I like to read books that I can take something away when I’m done. Don’t Call me Kit Kat is more than a story about a girl working through her problems. It is more than plot and structure. This book delves deep into what it means to have an eating disorder. What does it feel like to want to binge and purge? What does it feel like to be so unhappy with yourself that you’ll go to extreme and unhealthy measures to change? What is day to day life like for a bulimic? How can one get better with an eating disorder? K.J. Farnham answers all these questions and more in her book. I got a lot out of reading this novel.

Though it has been some years since I’ve been a teenager, I believe Farnham captures the moodiness and insecurity of being a teenager in a world full of unrealistic expectations. Katie felt very real and the character seemed more than plausible. Her reality was very realistic.

I never thought about food the way Kit Kat does and it opened up my eyes a bit more to a different person’s experience growing up. “The funny thing about food, though, is that I love it as much as I hate it. I love that I can choose what to eat and how much to eat, or even not to eat anything at all. It’s the guilt I feel after a binge that I can’t stand. Because of the guilt, I sometimes find myself wondering if I control the food or if the food controls me.” (Kindle Locations 1516-1518).

The gradual downhill slide Katie fell into was told so well and captured the essence of how any of it could happen in a way someone without any experience with an eating disorder could understand. This book will really make you empathize and understand a world you may not and never be privy to.

Warning to those who read this book: As the narrator of her own story Katie’s experiences may be so close to reality that they cause their own type of trauma. Katie is very body negative, especially in the first half of the book where she gets no help or support. She is very down on herself and quite pessimistic and her feelings are very hard hitting.

 

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published through Createspace Independent Publishing Platform 05/15/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

K.J. Farnham’s Website

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Book Review: The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

moment before

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello

A Young Adult Novel published January 14th 2014 by Diversion Books

 

Summary:

 Popular Sabine and Broody Brady are Irish twins, born 11 months apart. After Sabine dies, Brady is thrust from her sister’s shadow into a world full of drama, complication, and lies. Brady must find out what really happened to her sister before she died and Brady discovers more about herself along the way.

Keywords:

Teens, Drama, Death, Popularity, Complicated, Angst, Daughters, Irish Twins, Family, Drugs and Alcohol, Finding Yourself, Grief

My Review:

This may be a young adult fiction novel but it is not your typical angsty teen book. Though there are sex, drugs, alcohol, and death, they are dealt with in an adult and masterful way. It is almost as if this is not a work of fiction but an atypical and insightful diary-esque book. I felt, immediately, in touch with the main character as she narrated.

Vitello has such a way of bending a sentence into a beautiful structure that is almost, but not quite, out of reach for understanding. Phrases seem thrown together, such as “Into the growing awkward I say…” (page 50) but they blow me away with their tight structure. Even the dialogue is spot on, “That’s not fair for me, I realize. You have to make mistakes in order to grow. But I’m begging you. Pleading with you. Do not fall in that murky well right now. Now now.” (page 185). Vitello is able to tell me exactly what the main character is feeling and seeing. Her descriptions pack a punch that stays true to each of the characters, defining their complexities: “Mom called her my manic-panic girl. Me? Brady-brooder.” (page 14).

It was refreshing to have the plot thrown in my face in the first few pages so I knew exactly what I was getting into, but I couldn’t just sit tight for the ride because there were layers to the plot that the author expertly revealed in pits and pats.

I absolutely fell in love with Brady’s voice. “The tickle of this feels like a secret I’m sharing with my sister, like back when we were little girls sneaking into each other’s rooms at night to munch on candy under the blankets.” (page 15). Most of the time the author utilizes abrupt and short sentences that feel halting at first but then begin to worm their way into the voice of the character. She is a teenager with a teenager’s voice. But she is not just any teen. She is insightful and charismatic. She is real and emotional. She connects to her unseen audience through her fears and realizations. I love how Brady describes other people around her. “Why am I even friends with this girl? The way she glows with satisfaction when the world matches up to her sense of order and the way things should be.” (page 187) These are the same flaws I saw in Martha and Brady was able to voice them with such eloquence. I could listen to Brady all day.

Who wouldn’t like a book that mentions bacon maple bars?.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys movies with the environment of Clueless or the clever dialogue in the movie Brick.

 

This novel was published by Diversion Books on 1/14/14 and is available on Amazon here.

TLDR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

On the web: http://www.suzyvitello.com/books/the-moment-before/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18701765-the-moment-before

Blog: http://www.suzyvitello.com/suzys-blog/