It is estimated that eight to ten million Americans have an eating disorder. However, eating disorders aren’t a glamorous topic that authors want to fictionalize. It can be a divisive topic. Critics will argue that even the most realistic eating disorder narrative is glorifying the illness or inspiring others. However, as someone who struggles daily with disordered eating, I think it is very important for young women and men, especially in their teenage years, see the realities of eating disorders depicted in the books they read. It isn’t enough to campaign for realistic models on the covers of magazines if books for teenagers continue to ignore that 86% of people with eating disorders report that they began before the age of 20.
With the popularity of books like 13 Reasons Why on the rise, I hope that people will start recognizing the important role that books play in creating a culture of understanding and awareness among teens. Here are six books ideal for teens that deal with eating disorders.