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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,608 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Jennifer has to force her family to admit she needs help for her eating disorder. But when her parents sign her into the Samuel Tuke Center, she knows it’s a terrible mistake. The facility’s locked doors, cynical nurses, and punitive rules are a far cry from the peaceful, supportive environment she’d imagined.

In order to be discharged, Jennifer must make h
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Peachtree Publishing Company
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Alejandra on believrexic.com she mentions that after the six-months she went back to the hospital and talked about her story a couple of times.

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Average rating 4.22  · 
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J.J. Johnson
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I am working very hard on this book. It's like bleeding onto the page. So I'm marking it five stars for its first review. Well done, me. ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Almost all fictionalized tales of eating disorders are pretty crummy. The characters are flat, the underlying "causes" of the disease stereotypical (fear of growing up, need for control, traumatic event, etc.) and the course of treatment is highly unrealistic (somehow the sufferer, previously vehemently opposed to health, is suddenly hungry and "magically" eats again.) Believarexic is none of these things. Reading through the author's bio it is clear this is because she has drawn heavily upon th ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you NetGalley for my advanced reading copy! I look forward to reading this!

I received Believarexic as an Advanced Reading Copy from NetGalley, therefore it was downloaded onto my iPad. I have a hard time reading on there so it took me a long time and I eventually gave up. I requested this in physical copy and I am so thankful I did! If I had not I would have missed out on an amazing story of struggle, growth, and a road to hap
Erin Bow
This came to me because I was on a panel with JJ and she was knock-out fabulous ... I knew I had to read her book. And I am so glad I did.

This is a true novel, or a fictionalized memoir, following the author's fifteen-year-old self through a stay in an eating disorders unit. The process through the clinic forms the low-key but high-stake plot, and the effect is likewise low-key but powerful -- transformation, friendship, trust, self-acceptance, hope.

But to tell you the truth I just enjoyed my
Nicole aka FromReading2Dreaming
By far this has to be THE BEST book on anorexia/bulimia that I have ever read.

The main character Jenifer, who has to be by far the most relatable character in the history of mental health novels, admits herself into a psychiatric hospital for her eating disorder. Throughout the novel she faces challenges that one would never expect and her eating disorder. She had to be my favorite character in the novel because most of the others were just bitchy. Except for Chuck, the nurse.

I have to say that
Aug 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’m usually pretty reserved in giving 5 star reviews to books centred around ED themes, as usually there’s something that cat be pretty triggering to read. This was not the case in believarexia. So many of the mantras throughout I have received in psychology sessions, and even found quite a few parts of the book to be quite beneficial in self reflection. With its humour, heart and wonderful insight, I could not recommend this book more.
Lauren AKA randomreader
Before I review this book, I'd like to say even though I got this book from Netgalley, these thoughts are all my own opinion. I am very thankful to Netgalley for allowing me to review this book, but I also don't want to be all sunshine and rainbows and not be honest about how I feel about this book.
All right, so now that that little explanation is over, lets discuss Believarexic. Believarexic was a novel that I thought I would love. I was initially attracted to the cover and loved the premise
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
**I received a free copy of BELIEVAREXIC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Grade: C

At age fifteen during the late 1980s, Jennifer is admitted to the Eating Disorder Unit (EDU) of a psych hospital for bulimarexia, a combination of anorexia and bulimia. She becomes a model patient, cries and recovers in record time.

Insurance reimbursement for inpatient psych treatment has changes dramatically in the 25+ years since writer JJ Johnson's hospitalization, where she remained for ten wee
Dichotomy Girl
~ I received this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review ~

I have very ambivalent feelings about this book. I think books like this are very important. I think young girls and parents need to be educated about the very real damage and health risks that eating disorders cause, and I think society needs to now how important is is for girls to be taught the vital importance of having a healthy body image and living a healthy lifestyle.

And I think this book did a fairly adequate job o
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read a bunch of books about young women with eating disorders and this one mysteriously appeared in the mail at work. To this day, I still have no idea how I got it. The book is partial memoir, partial novel and gives an extremely realistic and well written look at a 15 year old's journey to recovery. Jennifer volunteers to put herself into a mental institution after she sees a commercial for getting help for an eating disorder. Her parents don't' seem to believe she needs help, but decide to ...more
Aug 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had this book on my tbr for a while. I probably put it on there so I could trigger myself like I usually would do with ED books.

This did not do that. The author does a great job of talking about the effects of ED and what it’s like to have an ED without giving a lot of the details that would trigger someone with an ED. Weight number are never given, physical attributes are never discussed.

It made me feel…good? Hopeful? Even though I am not currently practicing my ED, I know that I can also m
Leigh Statham
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I will leave the synopsis to the other reviewers. All I want to say is this:

Gut wrenchingly beautiful. I save my five star reviews for the books that change my mind, my way of thinking, and pierce my heart. Spot on. Won't forget this book anytime soon.

For parents: some language, tough life issues, excellent book for starting a conversation with your child about several topics. Highly recommended for all mature YA readers.
Jen Petro-Roy
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ebook, 2015, ya, memoir, arc
Wow. I have been there and this is it. This is a memoir that does it right. Careful, non-triggering, affirming, and heart-pounding. Brava.
Sep 15, 2021 rated it really liked it

As I have now reached a stalemate in my recovery, I decided to look for some motivation in books and memoirs about anorexia. I was aware I could run the risk of having the impression to be reading a single, longer book rather than three separate ones. After all, we're talking about the same illness, which is supposed to create a sort of pattern as regards thoughts, experiences leading to the eating disorder (such as a troubled relationship with the members of one's famil
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley, in exchange for an honest review)

There are a lot of books about girls and women with eating disorders nowadays. I find most of them having flat characters, an unrealistic storyline, way too much glamorized and romanticized, however, believarexic was totally different.

Like Jennifer, our main character, I’ve had to deal with an eating disorders on the age of 15 as well. Unlike other books about this subject, I could relate to the main character an
Jessica White
Jun 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography

Jennifer Johnson, age 15. Bulimarexic. Possible alcoholic.
How do you go through your life without any happy, helium balloons like everyone else has? Jennifer takes us on her journey in the Eating Disorder Unit (EDU) of a hospital. Told through a journal type setting, Jennifer shows us all of the ups and downs of a mental hospital. She can't pee without someone standing in the doorway, her shared bedroom door doesn't close all the
C.P. Cabaniss
*I received a copy of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This novel is partially an autobiography about the author and her struggle with an eating disorder in the 1980s. The progression of the novel was handled really well. It felt like Jennifer was walking around in a dream to begin with and then she slowly started to wake up. An interesting and insightful view of what it's like to be hospitalized for an eating disorder. It's not as pretty as the movies make it seem.
I forgot to update my Goodreads and I've read a few books since this one, but I find it interesting how barbaric and inhumane some nursing assistants can be in facilities where they're supposed to be helping people. Although there were some problems I had with the dialogue, I thought this story was one of the best books-about-eating-disorders I've ever read--and even crazier: this is a true story! At least, MOST of it is true. J.J. Johnson supplies her journals that she kept while in Samuel Tuke ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This is one of the bravest books I've ever read. Johnson looks into the darkest recesses of her own experience with eating disorders and depression to tell a story about suffering, recovery, and, above all, hope. ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a true story based off of her own life, Johnson writes an honest, liberating read that I loved. On every page, you hear J.J.'s voice and struggles. I strongly recommend Believarexic to everyone. ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: source-edelweiss
Source/Format: Edelweiss/e-ARC
This review is also posted on my blog: RurouniJenniReads

This story tells the battle of a weepy fifteen-year old, Jennifer Johnson, against an eating disorder monster with a difficult name: bulimarexia. Jennifer’s battle was fought hard, intense and long because this monster has the ability to cling on to her very core, influencing her thoughts and actions. It made Jennifer think that she’s nothing without it. That the monster is her identity. Our heroine’s first con
Chelsea S
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cannot express how amazing this novel is. I honestly feel like an entirely different person after reading. I say this about most books, but this time it’s the real truth - This. Is. The. Best. Book. Ever.
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I was hooked from page one. Beautiful prose welcomed me into the story. Yes, for real, beautiful prose. Not the random cutting sentences that adds nothing to a story. No, it was perfectly written this way; I even think it was the best prose I’ve read about eating disorders so far.

Throughout the story, there were so many moments to which I could relate. Things expressed that I thought I was alone in. And all this without the book being triggering or upsetting in any way.

I loved
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Trigger Warnings: Eating Disorders, Alcoholism, Depression, Suicide

First, the writing. It is absolutely spectacular. J.J. is a fantastic storyteller and her ability to craft such a beautifully woven tale which begins in second person - yes, second person - has beautiful prose in verse, smoothly transitions into a more familiar format and still throws in gems in the form of hospital forms, etc... wow. Hats off to you. This was just wonderful. Visually one of the most beautiful pieces of work I've
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, arcs
“Do I want to die from the inside out or the outside in?” - Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

fifteen-year old Jennifer Johnson reaches out to her family for help. she knows she has an eating disorder but her parents refuse to believe her until a pre-admission screening interview with the Director of the Eating Disorders Unit at Samuel Tuke Center, Syracuse, New York confirms her condition. Jennifer has bulimarexia, a combination of bulimia and anorexia. from November 21, 1988 to January 27, 198
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Believarexic is an autobiography of JJ Johnson's of her time in hospital when she was 15. She was admitted for Bulimarexia. She stayed there for 10 weeks.

The fact that this is a true story really highlights the truth of the different illnesses that's in the world. It's tough when you realise that you might be something and no one believes you. I think that's one of the worse things that can happen when someone
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this more than I had hoped to. Johnson's story is not a new one, but she managed to put her own twist on things, with more than a small nod to the related books and movies she read and saw when she was growing up.

This is fictionalised memoir, which would usually mean I'd shelve it as fiction, but...I suppose I'm content in the bigger picture being accurate, and in the more eyebrow-raising elements of the story being true (as Johnson notes on her website). There is definitely the occasion
Kristina Aziz
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to NetGalley for offering this book for review.
Believarexic takes all those Lifetime movies that were so popular in the 80s and 90s and debunks them. Jennifer has an idea of what The Hospital is like, but her ideas are incredibly off mark. When I was sick, I lived for these novels. I craved the voice of a character, no matter how fictitious, that understood what I was going through. I got nostalgic for those novels again, my heart going out to Jennifer in her struggle to make her mothe
Jan 03, 2016 rated it liked it
January 2019 - The first time I read this book was 4 years ago and at that point in time I remember absolutely loving it so I decided to re-read it. I still appreciated the story this time around and I think it is an important novel for people who are impacted by eating disorders (whether you have an eating disorder, know somebody who has an eating disorder, or just want to learn more). That said, I think I've come a long way from who I was the first time I read it and I found the characters to ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ownvoices-read
**I was given a digital copy of Believarexic in exchange for an honest review by Peachtree Publishers. **

This book is so deep. There are so many issues addressed throughout the book that don’t involve eating disorders. Yes, that’s the main theme, but there are also family issues, self-esteem issues, sexuality issues, alcoholism, drug abuse, and so many more.

I will say that it did strongly remind me of Girl, Interrupted, but in a good way. This book was sad in the right places and uplifting in t
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J.J. Johnson is a youth counselor turned young adult novelist. She grew up (with an 80s perm) in a very small town in central New York. She then went to Binghamton University, where she discovered writing --and dancing, and marching, and sitting-in-- for social justice. She graduated with a history degree in 1996.

In 2001, J.J. earned a Master of Education from Harvard University, concentrating on

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