Today I’m featuring FOOD FIGHT by Linda B. Davis, a middle grade contemporary about a boy with a little-known eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder).
Read on for my review of the book, and then make sure you also check out the author’s list of top ten addictions to find out more about her!
Food Fight by Linda B. Davis
Published by Fitzroy Books on 6/27/23
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Source: The Publisher
Cover Artist: CB Royal
Smart and athletic, 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 goals: impress the girl, outsmart the bully, and avoid every single meal. But when his plans go sideways and 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.
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A middle grade contemporary that highlights feelings of loneliness, even in a crowd. Will has always been a “picky eater” to the extreme (he has less than a dozen foods he can eat), but it was never an issue before middle school. His friends knew about his eating habits, and they never seemed to care. But middle school means a whole new crowd, and suddenly Will feels left out more than he feels like he fits in. One thing that I liked about this book is the way that it highlights how kids often write off bullying as being “funny.” The character who torments Will the most is well-liked, and he’s seen as a jokester, so every time he makes a rude comment, it gets laughed off, and Will ends up feeling like he needs to laugh it off too. This is such a realistic depiction of middle school because there is honestly a fine line between good-natured ribbing between friends and mean-spirited teasing, and the book shows how this behavior can spiral. There is also a hint of romance in the story for kids to root for, and it captures the longing of this age perfectly. In the end, readers will learn about a medical condition that they probably didn’t know existed and learn a little empathy along the way, all while enjoying a story that captures those feelings of “other” that are so common in middle school. I definitely recommend this one!!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Books Forward Publicity so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Linda has always been curious about why we do the things we do. She holds master’s degrees in social work and developmental psychology. As a social worker in a community mental health setting, Linda became passionate about the need for accurate and accessible mental health information in children’s literature.
She is a member of SCBWI and is active in the Chicago writing community. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, gardening, buying more books than she can possibly read, and maintaining her Little Free Library. Food Fight is her first novel.
Linda Davis’s Top Ten Addictions
- Diet Coke
Any time of day. With any meal. Ideally cold, but I will drink it warm in a pinch. I limit myself to less than two cans a day—so don’t worry about me too much.
I love them all—my neighborhood independent bookstore where I’ve been a customer since I was six years old, the big ones, the tiny ones that are hard to find, and the ones I haven’t found yet.
Anything and everything lavender. Chapstick. Cookies. Hand lotion. Lemonade. Martinis. One of my happiest afternoons was spent at a lavender farm on Maui.
- Over-packing for trips
Definitely not one of my best traits, but at least I’m consistent. I love having a lot of options away from home.
The dahlias I grow every summer are so big and vibrant that sometimes when I give them away people ask me if they’re real.
- Organizing closets and drawers
Organizing is my Zen. I enjoy finding a way to make things fit in a space that is efficient and appealing. Moving a lot has helped me fine-tune this skill.
- History museums in small towns
I love little snapshots of how things used to be—especially Then and Now photos of landmarks and displays of old household items.
- Aisle seats
Airplanes. Theaters. Religious Events. Classrooms. Always.
- Movie theater popcorn with extra butter
So much butter that no one wants to share with me.
- Ted Lasso
I might have to watch the whole series over again.
I grew dahlias one summer, and they were absolutely gorgeous! I tried to store them over the winter and replant them, but they never came back—but just reading this makes me want to go out and buy some new ones for this year!!
Have you read any books about an illness you didn’t know much about? I want to know!