FICTION

The Art of Starving

384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Jul. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062456717.
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Gr 10 Up—The less Matt eats, the more control he has over his body. The more control he has, the stronger his powers get. And he needs his powers strong if he's going to find out what the bullies did to make his sister run away. And punish them. This is a compellingly narrated magical realism exploration of eating disorders, isolation, and desire. The first half makes for compulsive reading as teens watch Matt's war with his own body and the mysterious unfurling of his abilities. There are some well-crafted dives into how eating disorders are experienced by young men, and young gay men in particular. Unfortunately, the book's denouement falls largely flat, with pat resolutions and didactic twists, although it avoids the simple recovery trajectory trope.
VERDICT A serviceable title for readers seeking an unconventional look at eating disorders and complicated gay romance.

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