Asking for help is only the first step.
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561457717
  • Publication date: 10/01/2015
  • Page Count: 464
  • Size: 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781682630075
  • Publication date: 09/01/2017
  • Page Count: 464
  • Size: 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561459339
  • Publication date: 12/03/2015
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 12-16
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 12-16
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Asking for help is only the first step.

Jennifer can’t go on like this—binging, purging, starving, and all while trying to appear like she’s got it all together. But when she finally confesses her secret to her parents and is hospitalized at the Samuel Tuke Center, her journey is only beginning.

As Jennifer progresses through her treatment, she learns to recognize her relationship with food, and friends, and family—and how each is healthy or unhealthy. She has to learn to trust herself and her own instincts, but that’s easier than it sounds. She has to believe—after many years of being a believarexic.

Using her trademark dark humor and powerful emotion, J. J. Johnson tells an inspiring story based on her own experience when she was hospitalized for an eating disorder as a teenager. The innovative format using blank verse and prose, changes in tense and voice, and forms, workbooks, and journal entries mirror Jennifer’s progress toward a healthy body and mind.



J.J. Johnson


J.J. Johnson graduated from Binghamton University and worked an internship coordinator for programs such as The Learning Web and Youth Advocacy. She earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, with a concentration in Adolescent Risk and Prevention. Johnson lives in North Carolina.


“Compelling and authentic, this story is impossible to put down… Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls (2009), Believarexic is a raw, memorable reading experience.” ―Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A powerful story of healing and self-acceptance.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“The unique format and detailed portrayal…help readers feel as if they are on this journey with her…for the many who have been personally affected by eating disorders, it can offer hope.” ―School Library Journal


Young Adults’ Choices ―International Literacy Association, 2016

Keystone to Reading Book Award (High School Nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association, 2016-2017

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Senior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2016

Eliot Rosewater High School Book Award (Nominee) ―Association for Indiana Media Educators / Indiana Library Federation, 2017-2018

Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee, Teen) ―Arizona Library Association, 2019


Resources: Discussion Guide, Postcard

Author Q&A
Discussion Guide
Manifesto Postcard

More Details

F&P: GRL Z+, Gr 9th & up, Genre B
Lexile: HL550L
Themes: Body Image, Eating Disorders, Mental Health
BISAC 1: YAF058220  YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
BISAC 2: YAF022000  YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Girls & Women
BISAC 3: YAF058090  YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Eating Disorders & Body Image