Beyond Books

Zoe Letting Go

Zoe Letting Go
by Nora Price

A girl’s letters to her best friend reveal two lives derailed by anorexia in this haunting debut that’s Wintergirls meets The Sixth Sense

It’s not a hospital, a spa, or an institution. That’s what they told me–that’s what the brochures promised.

But no matter what the brochures promised, Zoe finds that Twin Birch is a place for girls with a penchant for harming themselves. Through journal entries and letters to her best friend, Elise, she tries to understand why she was brought there, and how she could possibly belong in a place like this. But Zoe’s letters to Elise remain unanswered. She wonders why her best friend would cut her off without a word, reliving memory after memory of their beautiful, rocky, inescapable friendship. But everyone has secrets–including Zoe–and as her own fragile mental state hangs in the balance, she must finally learn to come to terms with what happened to Elise before she’s able to let go. (

Release date: June 28, 2012

I broke my self-imposed rule on accepting review books for this one. When I received an email from Penguin Canada and saw the summary for Zoe Letting Go I knew in my very soul I had to get this book. I have need articles comparing it to Thirteen Reasons Why and Wintergirls and I knew I loved the former, and I still want to read the latter. Oh! It was also compared to Girl, Interrupted a book (and movie) I completely adore.

When the book arrived last week I had just finished with The False Prince, and I debated for about five minutes whether or not I should start this one. It’s only coming out at the end of June, but then I realized that it was only a day away from June at the time and by the time I got this post written it would BE June, so I made an executive decision to read the book right away.

Sometimes I have the best conversations with myself.

I found this book mesmerizing. I was emotionally attached to Zoe almost from the start. Reading about Zoe’s struggle to figure out why she was there and what happened in her life that could possible give you a clue, was chilling and emotional. I pretty much guessed the reason from the beginning of the book but the journey to the answers was so compelling and the end result was actually still rather a big impact on me.

Eating disorders are not my mental illness of choice; and because that phrase sounds really wrong once I type it on the screen, I will elaborate! I am always drawn to books about depression, suicide, self-mutilation because I have been down similar roads in my life. In all the crazy of my formative years, I never did battle an eating disorder and until I started reading more about cutting and stuff as I got older, I didn’t realize a lot of the things I went through were often interwoven with eating disorders. What I love about mental illness stories can be summed up with: emotional cleansing. Reading about someone else struggling and feeling alone and often coming out the other end of that tunnel a scarred, but ultimately stronger person, always fills me with hope. I wish there were more books about subjects like these when I was younger. I am exorcising demons years later through these emotionally hard-hitting novels.

It’s like therapy in a book.

So I devoured Zoe Letting Go in a day. It took me a week to write about it and I’m back dating this post so it falls in my May archives because I’m OCD about stuff like that (ooo, I need to find more books about OCD!).

I am eternally grateful to Penguin Group Canada for emailing me about this even though I wasn’t going to accept anything. I am extra glad I chose to say yes.

My ONE issue with the book is how the back cover mentions, Thirteen Reasons Why and both cover photos seem awfully similar. Both have a girl in a crochet’d hat, sweater and dress sitting down. The covers are too similar for my liking. I don’t like when books try to look the same just to pick up the same readers. It’s a part of marketing that annoys me. It’s a trivial irritation though because other than that I love the cover and how it should look like it’s damaged (but it’s not!). Again, this is from the ARC so it could change, but I hope the crackling art doesn’t!

PS – If you see this book at BEA the first week of June, be sure to pick it up!!

PPS – Nora Price is apparently a pseudonym and I am dying to know if it’s an another we know about! I’m so nosy!

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