What I Lost
What sixteen-year-old Elizabeth has lost so far: forty pounds, four jean sizes, a boyfriend, and her peace of mind. As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again.She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size-zero obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick? This eloquent debut novel rings with authenticity as it follows Elizabeth’s journey to taking an active role in her recovery, hoping to get back all that she lost.

What I Lost Details

TitleWhat I Lost
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN0374304637
ISBN-139780374304638
Number of pages400 pages
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Health

What I Lost Review

  • Laura McNeal
    October 17, 2016
    If you've read many novels about anorexia or other narratives in which girls, for various reasons, wind up in institutions, you may be tempted to bypass this book. Or you may be thinking, I am male/adult/literary so this book has nothing to say to me or "Anorexia" does not say "Snuggle up with me on the couch" and I want that. So here's a quick bout of fencing with those concerns:You: I JUST WANT TO LIE ON THE COUCH AND DROP OUT OF MY LIFE FOR THREE HOURS.There's a love story in this book that d If you've read many novels about anorexia or other narratives in which girls, for various reasons, wind up in institutions, you may be tempted to bypass this book. Or you may be thinking, I am male/adult/literary so this book has nothing to say to me or "Anorexia" does not say "Snuggle up with me on the couch" and I want that. So here's a quick bout of fencing with those concerns:You: I JUST WANT TO LIE ON THE COUCH AND DROP OUT OF MY LIFE FOR THREE HOURS.There's a love story in this book that despite its very realistic American high school setting gives the satisfactions of the classic Jane Austen paradigm (bad suitor, good suitor, mistaken first impressions). And I personally enjoy a story that makes me feel--via the character--that I have a shot at dealing with the mean voices in my head. I get up from the sofa thinking I may not mentally berate myself into pitch-black lifelong misery.You: I'M A GUY AND I JUST EAT STUFF. END OF THOUGHT PROCESS.Right. Please mind-meld with me. It's true that you are not, on the surface, a lot like Elizabeth. But you might like her if you give her a chance. And if you've ever loved someone who seemed incomprehensibly ambivalent about eating (I'm guessing that's 90 percent of American women), read this book (removing the cover for obvious reasons).You: I'M AN ADULT AND EASILY IRRITATED BY THE ADULTS IN YA FICTION.I hear you. But I loved the father in this book, and the portrait of the mother adds a new dimension to the anorexia story. If you've read "The Fat Girl" by Andre Dubus, you've seen this painful family dynamic before, but it's nice to see it treated at length for the audience most at risk and most likely to see parents harshly. As a mother who never gets through an hour of the day without worrying that I'm to blame for any problems my kids have, I was troubled and intrigued by the mother-daughter conflict in this book. You: I WISH I DIDN'T FEEL MILD TO INTENSE REGRET EVERY TIME I EAT A HIGH-CALORIE FOOD.Yeah, I know. Go ahead and eat that last broken ingot of Hershey's and head to the couch with Elizabeth.
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  • Nina (JustAddAWord)
    March 27, 2017
    WHAT I LOST is that kind of book.The one that manages to take a familiar idea, twist it into something new, unheard of, or unique, all while using the same familiar foundation.It’s different, yet it’s not.And what I mean by that is simple: While WHAT I LOST may seem, from the outside, your average contemporary, the way Alexandra Ballard approached the topic of eating disorders (specifically, anorexia, which I haven’t seen much in YA lately, so you can probably imagine my excitement and fascinati WHAT I LOST is that kind of book.The one that manages to take a familiar idea, twist it into something new, unheard of, or unique, all while using the same familiar foundation.It’s different, yet it’s not.And what I mean by that is simple: While WHAT I LOST may seem, from the outside, your average contemporary, the way Alexandra Ballard approached the topic of eating disorders (specifically, anorexia, which I haven’t seen much in YA lately, so you can probably imagine my excitement and fascination) is both easy to understand, and adds new information.Informative, yet entertaining. Now that sounds like my kind of book. Elizabeth is a someone to root for. Her struggle with anorexia is portrayed believingly, and how that exactly came about, and how she feels about treatment, is realistic. No, she is not cured over night (is she even cured at all, you ask? I cannot answer that, dear reader, because I do not wish to evilly spoil you.)Her approach to her surroundings is believable. Her reactions is believable. For this reason, Elizabeth’s spot-on characterization give her 3-dimensionality and sufficient depth to her character.The supporting cast is fabulous as well. Each girl at the treatment center is given her fair share of back story that allows the reader to see each and every one’s struggle and reasons for ending up where they are now, in addition to how much they want change, or don’t want change.My only critique, though, is that some girls often acted out of character, although this is understandable due to the fairly large support cast.The writing style’s simplicity is both a blessing and a curse, though. At times, the quick and easy-to-read style made the pages fly by fast, but other times a little more depth to the style itself could have saved the book from feeling a tad bit juvenile sometimes, due to the oversimplified writing.But really, that’s just me being picky.Oh, and that cover might just be my favorite of 2017 (It’s challenging WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI, believe it or not.)All in all? I thoroughly enjoyed WHAT I LOST. It reads quickly, it’s interesting and entertaining, and you can even learn a thing or two (or three or four) about anorexia and its treatment as you go.
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  • Lauren R.
    February 13, 2017
    Damn that was powerful and SO addicting. I physically couldn't put this down and read all 400 pages today in basically one sitting. I'm not sure of its accuracy because I have no experience with eating disorders, but wow - if this is what people go through, I am so amazed at the willpower to get through it. I loved Elizabeth because she really tried so hard. Everything about this was top-notch.Full review:Trigger warning for eating disorders and some self-harm.Initial ExcitementI had almost zero Damn that was powerful and SO addicting. I physically couldn't put this down and read all 400 pages today in basically one sitting. I'm not sure of its accuracy because I have no experience with eating disorders, but wow - if this is what people go through, I am so amazed at the willpower to get through it. I loved Elizabeth because she really tried so hard. Everything about this was top-notch.Full review:Trigger warning for eating disorders and some self-harm.Initial ExcitementI had almost zero thoughts about this book before I started it. I've always been interested in books that involve treatment centers for some strange reason, so I decided to join the ARC tour for this one. I looked at the length of the book, read the synopsis again, and sighed. I figure this was going to take me forever to read and be super heavy. I'm glad that first impressions can be wrong ;)Quick SummaryElizabeth is sent away to a treatment facility (that's actually in her hometown) for her anorexia. The story follows her journey and watches her growth throughout the month-long process. She makes friends, tries to develop better eating habits, and struggles with other things in her life. When she first checks in, she receives mysterious packages that seem to point to her ex-boyfriend, so she tries to figure out who they're coming from and why.Storytelling, Setting, and FeelsGUYS. I physically could not put this book down. I started it on a Saturday morning and before I knew it, 350 pages (out of 400) were read. I stopped a couple times to do quick things around the apartment but I preeeetty much finished it in one shot. For a "difficult" book with tough topics, it was so easy to keep reading. I know part of it was my weird fascination with books set in treatment facilities (oh, that just inspired a new read-bait post!
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  • Lucy Ghost
    May 25, 2017
    Honestly, at first I'd like to read this, but then i remembered that i'm pretty sensitive to this topic, the ones about eating disorders and bulimia and anorexia, cuz i've got a case with a pretty, PRETTY close person (view spoiler)[my sister used to self harm and now i'm traumatized (hide spoiler)] so i'm not reading this cuz i'll probably throw it against a wall sobbing in memories or dnfed it or simply try not to feel.And also, i don't like contemporaries that much just to read abook about so Honestly, at first I'd like to read this, but then i remembered that i'm pretty sensitive to this topic, the ones about eating disorders and bulimia and anorexia, cuz i've got a case with a pretty, PRETTY close person (view spoiler)[my sister used to self harm and now i'm traumatized (hide spoiler)] so i'm not reading this cuz i'll probably throw it against a wall sobbing in memories or dnfed it or simply try not to feel.And also, i don't like contemporaries that much just to read abook about something that makes me this sad.Sorry to the author, even though i think it's a pretty brave subject to treat in a YA book.
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  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    May 27, 2017
    Holy. Shit. What an incredible story! I had no idea anorexia had do many levels, this was an eye opening novel. I hope everyone adds to their TBR! I cannot wait to write my review.
  • K.L. Hallam
    March 10, 2017
    What I Lost is a compelling story about sixteen-year-old, Elizabeth, who has dropped 4 sizes in only a few months, lost a boyfriend, and struggles with an eating disorder against her better judgment. Pained by the sight of greasy, sticky, full-fat food, or the horror more than a morsel might touch her lips. Her struggle is painful, recognizable, and terribly real. When Elizabeth’s parents bring her to Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls going through a similar struggle, we meet a host of What I Lost is a compelling story about sixteen-year-old, Elizabeth, who has dropped 4 sizes in only a few months, lost a boyfriend, and struggles with an eating disorder against her better judgment. Pained by the sight of greasy, sticky, full-fat food, or the horror more than a morsel might touch her lips. Her struggle is painful, recognizable, and terribly real. When Elizabeth’s parents bring her to Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls going through a similar struggle, we meet a host of characters, each desperately trying to survive their own eating disorder. It’s excruciating. You feel for each girl, and her story, as you discover the pain that brought them here. Although Elizabeth doesn’t like being away from home, Wallingfield quickly becomes a refuge, a place of safety, while she wrestles with the idea of staying there for good or getting well enough to leave. The recovery rate is slim. She knows this. Her roommate Lexi leaves, inspiring Elizabeth to eat just enough to (hopefully) return to the comfort of her home. When mysterious packages arrive for Elizabeth, the girls convince her that she has a secret admirer. Surely, it’s her ex-boyfriend with the clues he’d sent. Had he forgiven her? After treatment, and counseling, and a final heartbreaking confrontation with her mother, who has her own size-0 obsession, could Elizabeth be ready to leave Wallingfield? You walk each step as Elizabeth works to find herself and be more than the disorder. Authentic, and heartbreaking, a must read for our girls -- and boys! WHAT I LOST is an important book for our times. I hope it empowers our girls to love their bodies in all their glorious shapes and sizes. Expected publication: June 6th, 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux * This review will be on the Kidliterarti Blog on March 13th.
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  • Erin
    February 23, 2017
    A startling and heart-breaking account of trying to recover from anorexia. It's not as simple as "eating more," and I think this book will open a lot of eyes to that.
  • Ms. Yingling
    March 26, 2017
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineElizabeth has lost forty pounds, and her anorexia has finally caught the attention of her parents. She is sent to Wallingford, a residential treatment facility, to try to get her eating back on track. It's not easy, especially since her roommate Lexi is teaching her ways to get around the system while admitting that she has ruined her health, and Elizabeth's own mother has eating issues of her own. Add to that a failed romance, and Elizabeth's struggles are E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineElizabeth has lost forty pounds, and her anorexia has finally caught the attention of her parents. She is sent to Wallingford, a residential treatment facility, to try to get her eating back on track. It's not easy, especially since her roommate Lexi is teaching her ways to get around the system while admitting that she has ruined her health, and Elizabeth's own mother has eating issues of her own. Add to that a failed romance, and Elizabeth's struggles are very difficult. She wants to get better, but doesn't want to gain weight, because she knows her mother will give her a hard time about her appearance. With the help of the program and some good friends, can Elizabeth finally make peace with her eating habits and weight?Strengths: Eating disorder books are very popular; yes, they are sad, but they are a sad that my readers seem to enjoy. This had plenty of details, and the romance and mother's disordered eating were nice touches. Weaknesses: There was a scene with Elizabeth and her boyfriend almost have sex, but he stops because she is too thin. It's a bit too much for middle school. I really would have liked to see the events that lead up to Elizabeth's hospitalization as they came up chronologically instead of in flashbacks. What I really think: I really wish I could purchase this, but probably won't because of the sex scene.
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  • Kathy Martin
    May 17, 2017
    Elizabeth has an eating disorder. She is committed to Wallingfield by her parents but she isn't really convinced that she has a problem. At Wallingfield she meets other girls like her and makes some friends. She is undergoing intensive therapy to deal with her anorexia. She also begins receiving mysterious packages. She thinks that they are from the boyfriend who dumped her. They give her hope that their relationship isn't over. The book is from Elizabeth's point of view. So we learn from the in Elizabeth has an eating disorder. She is committed to Wallingfield by her parents but she isn't really convinced that she has a problem. At Wallingfield she meets other girls like her and makes some friends. She is undergoing intensive therapy to deal with her anorexia. She also begins receiving mysterious packages. She thinks that they are from the boyfriend who dumped her. They give her hope that their relationship isn't over. The book is from Elizabeth's point of view. So we learn from the inside how a girl with anorexia thinks and reacts. I will say that reading about the ways she avoided eating made me want snacks. Part of Elizabeth's problem comes from the fact that her mother seems to have an undiagnosed eating disorder too. Watching her mother avoid food and constantly change what she will or won't eat helped form Elizabeth's attitude toward food. I liked the story. I thought it was realistic that the people around her, notably Tristan, couldn't understand why she just didn't eat. He is her ex-boyfriend's best friend and his sister is also a day patient at Wallingfield because of her bulimia. I liked that there wasn't a magical solution and that Elizabeth will have to keep fighting her anorexia in the future. I recommend this one for young adults who might be overly concerned about their weight or who know someone who is.
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  • Olivia
    February 22, 2017
    Elizabeth is a strong, believable character who struggles with anorexia. She has just been placed in a residential treatment center and soon learns that her journey to recovery will be anything but easy. The main characters are all well-developed, and her relationship with her mom is particularly interesting since her mom struggles with eating, too. It's readily apparent how Elizabeth's own troubles began. Many books like this can be preachy, but this one wasn't. Readers will learn a lot about h Elizabeth is a strong, believable character who struggles with anorexia. She has just been placed in a residential treatment center and soon learns that her journey to recovery will be anything but easy. The main characters are all well-developed, and her relationship with her mom is particularly interesting since her mom struggles with eating, too. It's readily apparent how Elizabeth's own troubles began. Many books like this can be preachy, but this one wasn't. Readers will learn a lot about how some people with eating disorders think, and root for Elizabeth to stay on the road to recovery.
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  • Take Me Away To A Great Read
    May 28, 2017
    What I Lost by Alexandra BallardPublished by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)Release Date: June 6, 2017Rating: 4 StarsI would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of What I Lost for an honest review.What I Lost is powerful, emotional, and heartfelt! The book follows Elizabeth, a teen girl’s journey as she struggles with an eating disorder. I enjoyed how this book started with her going into a treatment facility and shared so many of the feelings, fears and struggles What I Lost by Alexandra BallardPublished by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)Release Date: June 6, 2017Rating: 4 StarsI would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of What I Lost for an honest review.What I Lost is powerful, emotional, and heartfelt! The book follows Elizabeth, a teen girl’s journey as she struggles with an eating disorder. I enjoyed how this book started with her going into a treatment facility and shared so many of the feelings, fears and struggles along the way.*There may be some triggers for someone struggling with an eating disorder or self-harm.FULL REVIEW GO TO: https://takemeawaytoagreatread.com/20...
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  • Charlottek18
    May 12, 2017
    What I lost was a really powerful book. It had a deep topic but manages to stay pretty light. While I don't know what these facilities are really like so I can't really say but it seemed that the facility was much more open then it would have been in real life, but it does give a insider perspective on anorexia and is really good.Bonus: It is also a love story!
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  • Stephanie Elliot
    October 6, 2015
    I just finished WHAT I LOST and am sitting here thinking about Elizabeth’s journey. She has anorexia and goes in-patient for treatment. While there, she begins receiving mysterious meaningful and personal packages that she thinks must be from her ex-boyfriend.This is Alexandra Ballard’s debut novel and it is stunning. I was captivated by Ballard’s ability to write a character who is suffering from anorexia so vividly. I could sense Elizabeth’s fear of gaining weight and her need for control over I just finished WHAT I LOST and am sitting here thinking about Elizabeth’s journey. She has anorexia and goes in-patient for treatment. While there, she begins receiving mysterious meaningful and personal packages that she thinks must be from her ex-boyfriend.This is Alexandra Ballard’s debut novel and it is stunning. I was captivated by Ballard’s ability to write a character who is suffering from anorexia so vividly. I could sense Elizabeth’s fear of gaining weight and her need for control over her food. I absolutely loved the portrayal of Elizabeth’s parents and can see how the reflection of a parent can affect a child with anorexia. Secondary characters in this book shine, including Margot, Lexi, Simone, Tristan, and even evil Heather. I love it when a novel has a wide cast of characters who don’t fall by the wayside and bring so much to the table like these characters added to the novel.WHAT I LOST is a book about what I imagine it’s really like for a teen with anorexia—the struggles to want to stay thin but also having the desire to get well. It’s a book that will make you realize that anorexia is not something to be waved off, it’s not a ‘vanity’ disease—it’s something so much more than that. Ballard does an exceptional job in her portrayal of a girl who wants to get well but needs the loving support of family, friends, and the right healthcare establishment to recover.
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  • Mrs.Heather Lassley
    April 4, 2017
    So many girls go through body image issues through middle school and high school. Not all of them get to the point that Elizabeth does but they still go through many of the same things. This book will be a great addition to middle schools and high schools. Putting it in the right person's hands will make them feel less alone for sure.
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  • Darcey
    April 28, 2017
    I thought I knew a lot about anorexia but I was schooled by living inside the main charter Elizabeth's head. But it was not at all preachy or boring - Elizabeth's story is compelling and totally readable. The other characters in Elizabeth's life are also lovable and realistic. What a service this book does by bringing the real issues of anorexia forward in such an accessible way. I recommend 100%.
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  • Ms.Kim
    April 5, 2017
    Much better than I had anticipated! Ballard doesn't shy away from the darker side of the disordered thoughts caused by anorexia. But it doesn't go down a super dark path (a la Wintergirls), so the book doesn't leave me feeling bleak and despairing, but is ultimately uplifting. Without giving away too much, I appreciate Elizabeth focusing on her own health and recovery in the end.
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