Clare B. Dunkle

Reviews & Edition Information for Elena Vanishing

By Elena Dunkle and Clare B. Dunkle. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2015.
Edited by Ginee Seo.
Companion memoir to Hope and Other Luxuries.
A memoir about adolescent anorexia nervosa.

Elena Dunkle

My daughter Elena makes her debut as an author. Our book, Elena Vanishing, tells the story of her struggles with adolescent anorexia nervosa, which almost killed her. You can read more about the story behind this memoir, as well as see more photos, on her website here.

An American Library Association 2017 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults selection.

A Junior Library Guild selection.

A 2016 TAYSHAS High School Reading List selection.

Selected as one of Conversations Magazine's Top 100 Adult Books of 2015.

Featured on the Diane Rehm Show, Woman's Day, CNN, MissHeard Magazine, and U.K.'s Daily Mail.

A four-star rating on

Audible released the audiobook version:
"This might be the truest portrait of this disorder out there."
"This memoir is truly amazing. I believe her story could help save lives."

"Elena Vanishing is a powerful read. Heartbreaking. Real. Vivid. It’s an emotional, self-destructive roller coaster that Elena is on and as a reader you are asked to climb aboard and hold on tight. Highly recommended."
—School Library Journal

"This book needs to go far. Every school library needs this, every bookshelf needs this, to educate people on what this disorder can mean, what it's like, what it can cause, what it can destroy. The book is real, and true, and it hurts you as a reader. But it's vital."
Blame My Bookshelf

"Elegantly crafted and reads like a novel. In comparison to young adult fictional accounts of eating disorders, Elena Vanishing comes across as much more genuine and realistic, as it does not romanticize or sugarcoat anorexia and its impact upon Elena and her family. Rather, it shows Elena’s struggle with anorexia, anxiety, and self-injury with candor, openness, and empathy."
University of North Carolina Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders

"A very powerful narrative. Elena is a very real person—not a caricature, not a martyr or a heroine, but a very real person who struggles. Highly recommended for public and high school libraries."

"A painfully honest look into the life of someone with an eating disorder. Beautifully and heart-wrenchingly told. The vivid storytelling draws readers in and they are immediately invested."
—Teenreads, the Book Report Network

"An incredibly well-written, raw and open memoir on the topic of anorexia nervosa."
Padfoots Library

"This authentic, painful story adds a valuable firsthand perspective on eating disorders."
—Publishers Weekly

"Bluntly honest from cover to cover. Showing such a bleak and dark picture is a significant leap from other young adult memoirs depicting issues of depression, self-harm, OCD, and eating disorders. This book is exceedingly well-written; not a word or moment is wasted, and the level of intensity is sustained throughout the entire novel."

"Extraordinary... A must-read for any teen or adult with the maturity to grasp the story. That these stories carry grace and hope as well as nightmare is a testament to the endurance and love of the authors and the people who held them through the years described."
The BookWars

"A remarkable book, a memoir of a battle with anorexia that achieves something no work of fiction on the same subject ever could."
—The Bookbag (5 stars)

"If Elena pulled any punches in telling her story, she sure left a lot of staggering blows for the reader. Recommended for ages 14 and up as well as professionals and parents."
—Ingram catalog

All webpage text copyright 2003-2017 by Clare B. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. All photos copyright 2003-2017 by Joseph R. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. You may make one print copy of any page on this site for private or educational use. You may quote the author using short excerpts from this website, provided you attribute the quote. You may use the photos in both print and virtual media to promote the author's books or events. All other copying or use of this website material, either photos or text, is forbidden without the express written consent of the author.