Author(s): Claire Hennessy
'Utterly magnificent' - Marian Keyes What happens when you give in to the voices in your head? Annabel is dead. And she's not happy about it. Despite having strived to be 'lighter than air' back when she was alive, the consequences of that yearning haven't quite sunk in yet. Julia Jacobs is fat. Which Annabel immediately notices when she's assigned as Julia's ghostly helper (don't even think about calling her a guardian angel). And as her helper, Julia's problem seems pretty obvious to Annabel. Fat = problem = unhappy. Sorted. The only trouble is that whatever is causing Julia to overeat is hidden deep within her. Annabel will have to get to know Julia to uncover this secret and 'fix' her. Annabel can become the voice of reason, Julia's source of strength. Except...all this time spent in someone's head has got Annabel thinking. Not just about food, but about her family too. And that maybe happiness can mean more than eradicating all the flesh from your bones.
What happens when you give in to the voices in your head?
The Dublin author understands her young adult audience and is careful never to preach. The dangers of dieting and the pressures felt by young women to fit a certain, tiny mould come through clearly in the stories of her characters, without any labouring of the message. Hennessy achieves this through a clever narrative device - the ghost of teenager Annabel McCormack, a 17-year-old whose heart failed because of anorexia, and who is sent back as a spirit guide to a former schoolmate now in danger... Nothing Tastes as Good deals with its core issues in an original and engaging manner. It will connect with a young adult readership interested in learning more about eating disorders without being lectured. Or as Annabel herself puts it: "I don't want to just be some cautionary tale.' -- Sarah Gilmartin The Irish Times On the Irish front, Dave Rudden (Knights of the Borrowed Dark) and Claire Hennessy (Nothing Tastes As Good) are the must-read newbie summer hits for teens and young adults. They can't be recommended highly enough... Hennessy's offering is the dark, haunting and sometimes harrowing story of Julia... -- David O'Callaghan Sunday Business Post It's quite an uplifting read and it's not even really about eating disorders, or at least anorexia, in the end. Instead it's about who you are and who you want to be, and navigating that time in your life when you're pretty sure you're an adult, and pretty much everything is legal, but you're technically still at school and therefore have to obey arbitrary rules that often make little sense -- Zoe Page The Bookbag While eating disorders and body image are portrayed with great insight and sensitivity, this is absolutely not an issue book: it's extremely readable with plenty of snark and humour The Bookseller A carefully crafted masterpiece... She has successfully, and beautifully, characterised the ana voice... Nothing Tastes as Good is clever, clever clever... a fresh take on the realities of anorexia and binge eating, and you absolutely need to read it A Series of Erraticism This is a truly original and poignant insight into the minds of two girls in the grip of eating disorders - reinforcing how slippery that slope can be and how fast someone can fall. YA Shelfies When Annabel is assigned to guide Julia Jacobs from beyond the grave, she tries to "fix" Julia's unhappiness by addressing what she sees as its obvious root: her weight. As she gets to know Julia, though, Annabel realises that happiness and unhappiness perhaps come down to something more than just this. The result is a beautifully complex depiction of relationships and body disorders -- Zoe Jellicoe The Dublin Inquirer This book was incredibly relatable, because every one of us has an Annabel inside us. Telling us we're fat, ugly, everything we've ever doubted about ourselves Pretty Purple Polka Dots Book Blog This is so... good! A new realistic topic that could've neglected by some of us. Love the meaningful quotes, the humorous writing and I love the ending!... The writing of the author is what attracted me first... I love how Claire presents the book in a humorous way... Nothing Tastes As Good is what I think a refreshing read among the YA books that I've read Queen of Bibliophile Book Blog A superb read which you will need tissues for, especially at the end Nayu's Reading Corner Book Blog This is a warm and intelligent YA book (...) an important and refreshing read independent.ie A novel about eating disorders that's sensitive and convincing yet darkly comic is a tricky act to pull off, but Claire Hennessy does it with aplomb Irish Times (Weekend Review) This ambition and energy is keenly felt throughout Nothing Tastes as Good, a novel which yet again proves that Irish women writers are on a roll -- Ruth Gilligan independent.ie Nothing Tastes As Good is so much more than simply an 'issues' book or in fact, a book about eating disorders. I was completely hooked from the first page. The true strength of the story is Hennessy's smart and insightful approach to the link between mental health and food-related issues. The supernatural element does not overwhelm the story, but adds another unusual dimension: essentially the power of hindsight and the ignorance of looking from the outside in. Perfect for fans of All the Bright Places. -- Ruth Concannon INIS Magazine A refreshingly original examination of teenage eating disorders -- Juno Dawson The Guardian (Review) A voyage into the terrifying waters of anorexia nervosa, bulimia, obesity, fat-shaming and comfort eating, this is a funny, poignant and ultimately uplifting fable (...) And it's a cracking read -- Anne Cunningham Irish Sunday Independent (Living) Claire Hennessy's return to the YA world is as blistering as it is bold, as startling as it is shrewd. For fans of Falling into Place by Amy Zhang and Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill,Nothing Tastes as Good is well-written and unusually told, putting tough issues under the lens of a particularly bold brand of modern YA fiction The Paper Alchemist Book Blog Nothing Tastes as Good does an excellent job of showing how people don't see us as we see ourselves Curiosity Killed The Bookworm Book Blog While eating disorders and body image are portrayed with great insight and sensitivity this is absolutely not an issue book: it's extremely readable with plenty of snark and humour Yabookprize.co.uk Hennesy is careful in her characterisation of Annabel, vividly delineating how her eating disorder has warped her thinking. She also writes in a clear and lucid style Businesspost.ie Nothing Tastes as Good is stunning (...) it is a fantastically written novel, that has the perfect mix of quirky and serious - it's an informative novel, but at the same time, it's still highly enjoyable (...)This was such a down-to-earth novel, I'm glad I had the chance to read it The Books Bandit Blog A funny, but ultimately poignant tale, this story deftly deals with the rampant body shaming that affects young women today -- Louise O'Neill Stylist Magazine Nothing Tastes as Good does not glamorise the condition and is in fact a touching, poignant story about self-image (...) I found it to be a thought-provoking, intelligent read famousinjapan.co.uk This book will make an ideal and uplifting gift for any girl's fourteenth birthday Books For Keeps
Claire Hennessy is a writer, editor, and creative writing teacher based in Dublin, Ireland. Born in 1986, she has written several books for teenagers and regularly does author visits and writing workshops for schools, libraries and festivals. Claire is also a co-director and co-founder of the Big Smoke Writing Factory creative writing school in Dublin, teaches regularly for CTYI, and is the Puffin Ireland editor at Penguin. She is also the co-editor and co-founder of the literary journal Banshee. Follow Claire at www.clairehennessy.com or on Twitter: @clairehennessy