Friday, June 2, 2023

Today's read... Food Fight by Linda B. Davis

Beginning of last month, I took a peek at Jarrett Lerner's latest novel, A Work in Progress, which hit the theme of losing weight, self-imaging, and a middle school boy. Today's read heads in a somewhat similar direction but takes a look at another eating disorder, which is often wrongly identified as picky-eating.

This comes out in a few weeks...just in time for the summer reading lists. So, let's find out if this one holds all the goodness it could. 

by Linda B. Davis
Fitzroy Books
Middle Grade Contemporary
248 pages
ages 9 to 12

JUNE 27th!!!

"A must-read for anyone who has ever fought their own battles with both fitting in and being themselves." — Shannon Schuren, author of Where Echoes Lie Ben.

Snyder is ready for middle school. But his super picky eating, which has never been a big deal before, is about to take him down. Suddenly everybody’s on his case about what he’s eating and what he’s not—his old friends, his new friends, his weird lab partner, the girl he’s crushing on, and a bully—and Ben finds himself in social free fall, sliding toward the bottom of the middle school food chain. Even worse, there’s an upcoming three-day class trip to a colonial campsite. Knowing he can’t handle the gag-worthy menu, Ben prepares for the outing like it’s a survival mission. Armed with new and unexpected information about his eating habits that could change everything, he sets out with three tactical impress the girl, outsmart the bully, and avoid every single meal. But when epic hunger threatens to push him over the edge, Ben must decide how far he will go to fit in and if he has the courage to stand out.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /   AMAZON


With tons of heart and a nudge of humor, a boy does his best to stand the battlefield of middle school while swinging through the difficulties of ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder).

It's the first day of sixth grade and that means tackling the entirely new world called middle school. Ben isn't sure he's ready, but he'll take it on with as much style as he can. Of course, it's not easy thanks to a bully, a cute girl, a weird lab partner, and his friend, who seems to have his own idea on how to handle the new environment. All's workable, though, until a 3-day school trip hits and there isn't anything on the menu Ben can eat. Suddenly, his 10-item only food intake causes serious waves. While he does his best to keep himself from becoming the center of ridicule, hunger might put a wrench in everything.

Ben is a nice guy and as normal as can be if it wasn't for his eating disorder. When this read starts out, he realizes that his 10-item diet isn't exactly 'normal', but even his parents qualify it as simply being picky. The first days in middle school come across naturally as it doesn't cause real waves (although it's often at the fore-front of Ben's mind) outside of a bully, who also has it in for Ben for other reasons. Ben's lunch is only another place for the kid to poke at. The problem takes off with the school trip as Ben tries to balance the other aspects of finding his footing in the new situation and surroundings. It was a fun setting, which allows the serious themes to flow, while keeping everything interesting.

I did appreciate that the author hit this theme, since it's not well-known but does exist more than many realize. The message is clear throughout the tale, but Ben has a crisp sense of humor...despite the more serious side...which adds just the right amount of quirkiness to keep it from bogging down. The humor wasn't as strong as I thought it might be, meaning that it was a more dramatic read than I expected. The usual issues of bullying, first crushes, old friends changing, and new friendships drive the tale forward. And it is well done. The only thing which hit me a bit odd was that the parents didn't pick up on the issue, but that's just a side thought. 

This is an entertaining read with tons of heart and enough humor to keep it light, while bringing across the theme in a meaningful way.

And here she is...

Linda holds a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in clinical social work from University of South Florida. Ultimately, her career training prepared her to be curious about why we do the things we do. She is passionate about the need for accessible and accurate information about mental health, especially in children’s books.

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