zoe letting go

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price

Zoe has been placed at a treatment facility by her mother.  At Twin Birch, each of the six patients arrives on a different day, staggered so that they can have a personal intake.  When Zoe arrives, she has no idea why she is there.  It just gets more confusing as she meets the other girls who are patients too.  They are all skeletal and obviously suffering from anorexia, but Zoe is not like them.  She has never stopped eating, she is larger than all of them, and her body doesn’t shiver after eating like theirs does.  Most of all, Zoe misses her best friend, Elise.  Provided stationery by her therapist, Zoe writes Elise long letters about their friendship thinking back about all of the time they spent together and revealing slowly the nature of their relationship.  Elise, though, never writes back.  This psychological thriller will have readers eager to discover the truth about Zoe and why she is at Twin Birch.

I am torn about this book.  I could not put it down until I knew more about Zoe.  She is a fascinating protagonist, who is completely unreliable and yet very likeable.  Her doubts about why she is there serve as a very successful way to create tension and mystery.  Zoe is caught up in her own world that slowly crumbles as the book progresses. 

However, at the end of the book, the story itself falls apart.  I’m not a reader who has any problem with vague endings usually, but if you build a book around the question of what is wrong with Zoe and who she really is, you have to answer that question!  This book doesn’t do that and it is very disappointing to the reader.  I wasn’t looking for details about her life after Twin Birch, but I did want more clarity about her real relationship with Elise.  The few details offered were tantalizing glimpses of bullying, but only that.

This is a complex, riveting read that is also a fascinating look at grief, responsibility and eating disorders.  It just doesn’t coalesce at the end, sadly.  Appropriate for ages 14-16.

Reviewed from copy received from Razor Bill.