Still A Work In Progress by Jo Knowles

Noah is a pretty ordinary eighth grade guy. He's got a couple of best friends, Ryan and Sam. They josh around together like ordinary teens. The trio are fascinated by girls but worry and wonder about who likes who and what you actually do with a girl if she likes you.

We are introduced to them right off the bat as Ryan hides in a bathroom stall from a girl, Molly Lo, who he claims is stalking him. The bathroom door is locked from the inside, but no one unlocks it, they just climb over the top. After all, who in their right mind would touch the floor of a boys' high school washroom?

This is followed by the discovery of the smell of dead fish coming from Small Tyler's locker. It turns out that 'locker juice' has evolved from a tuna sandwich left in his locker.

These beginning incidents are hilarious and this comedic aspect wends its way through this otherwise serious book. The humour, and that it is told from Noah's point of view, will attract and keep guys reading this important novel. 

Everyone in Noah's family worries about his older sister, Emma. The Thing That Happened before haunts them all. While we don't know what it is outright, there are enough hints in the description of how she dresses (layered sweaters so she looks like Spongebob) and the way the family act around food to figure it out. As the symptoms manifest themselves, no one actually talks about The Thing That Happened and what is going on now. As Emma's eating habits become more and more particular, they accommodate her (according to Noah) disgusting vegan diet. As Emma eats less and less food, no one actually confronts her.

It isn't until Emma collapses that they are forced to acknowledge how bad things are and take her into the hospital. Eventually Emma is admitted to a special eating disorder clinic a few hours drive from their home.

What this book reveals to us is how a family experiences one of its own dealing with an eating disorder. The story focuses primarily on Noah's experience and is told from his point of view. His worried parents spend their emotional energy on Emma while Noah is abandoned. What comes across is how much Noah loves his sister regardless of this.

Noah is a gifted artist and it is this, along with the support of a couple of compassionate teachers at his school, Ms Cliff, the art teacher and Tank, the social studies teacher, that help him get through this time.

I absolutely loved this story. Knowles writes with such authenticity you know what you are reading is truth, 
however fictional her characters.

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