"still slightly weak from the whole ordeal."


Elena Dunkle's first tattoo

What's new with Elena Dunkle and ELENA VANISHING

ELENA VANISHING is my memoir, the story of my life and almost-death with adolescent anorexia nervosa.

It was published in May, 2015, by Chronicle Books in San Francisco.

Diary excerpt: You can tell if someone has been to jail or rehab by the way they EAT.
"You can tell if someone has been to jail or rehab by the way they EAT."

MAR 4, 2016, Reading for Sanity posted a review of ELENA VANISHING: "Rose-colored glasses do not exist for Elena ... authentic, raw, honest."

FEB 27, 2016, MissHeard Magazine posted an interview with me about ELENA VANISHING.

DEC 30, 2015, Colleen Graves, YA librarian extraordinaire, chose ELENA VANISHING as one of her top eleven reads of the year.

DEC 29, 2015, What Is That Book About posted a review: "An exceptional book ... not a memoir for the fainthearted."

DEC 8, 2015, Conversations Book Club voted ELENA VANISHING one of their top 100 adult books of the year.

NOV 20, 2015, ELENA VANISHING has been picked for the 2016 Tayshas High School Reading List! This means it is on book lists all over our great home state of Texas.

SEP 24, 2015, National Book Award judge Greg Neri put ELENA VANISHING on his list of Top 25 YA Books of 2015 (the "Neri Book Awards"): "Honest and moving with a sense of self-awareness that was refreshing."

SEP 7, 2015, The Marilu Henner Show reran our June segment as part of a Best-Of show. She's an insightful interviewer and an advocate dedicated to getting the word out about the dangers of eating disorders.

AUG 31, 2015, PBS television show To The Contrary discussed ELENA VANISHING: "We have not gotten our arms around this problem. It is incredibly serious! Why haven't we done more research? Why hasn't there been more insurance coverage?"

AUG 24, 2015, Challenge Your Thinking podcast, with Dr. Linda Tucker, interviewed me about the memoir and the difficulty in helping ED victims: "Elena is transparent about her long road towards healing and health; and is an important voice and hopefully a beacon ... I know you will be inspired."

AUG 17, 2015, The Bookbag gave ELENA VANISHING five stars: "A remarkable book, a memoir of a battle with Anorexia that achieves something no work of fiction on the same subject ever could."

AUG 15, 2015, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) published a wonderful side-by-side interview piece with my mother and me in their journal. We were very excited to be included. Sadly, it's not on their website, but it's in the print journal on pps. 18-19.

AUG 14, 2015, Blame My Bookshelf gave ELENA VANISHING a stunningly positive review: "This books 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."

JUL 16, 2015, The book launch of ELENA VANISHING was such a whirlwind that we didn't even have time to post events here! Wonderful interviews with the Diane Rehm Show, Cyrus Webb, Marilu Henner, and Alex Cohen, guest posts and articles in places like Huffington Post UK, CNN, Woman's Day, and The Guardian... Those last two articles alone have been shared over two thousand times. And then there were the dozens of insightful reviews. At the moment, after hundreds of ratings on Goodreads, my book sits at four stars. I feel very grateful for all the kind words people have written about my memoir and the story of my struggles with anorexia.

APR 8, 2015, Becky writes for Ingram: "If Elena pulled any punches in telling her story, she sure left a lot of staggering blows for the reader. She does a very effective job of bringing the reader into her mind. Recommended for ages 14 and up as well as professionals and parents."

APR 7, 2015, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY writes: "Elena writes that 'nothing about eating disorders is simple,' something she makes painfully clear as she reveals the often terrifying inner workings of her mind and self-destructive behavior. This authentic, painful story adds a valuable firsthand perspective on eating disorders."

APR 5, 2015, Sally writes on Goodreads: "Amazing story. Elena takes the reader right into the mind of a young seemingly successful woman. We see the world from her viewpoint, and it had me scared. I don't know if all people who suffer from eating disorders also have the amount of self doubt, self hate and depression that Elena had...but - wow.

"You never know how fragile the person next to you is."

FEB 23, 2015, Karen Jensen writes for Teen Librarian Toolbox (School Library Journal): "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 as you travel this journey with her. Highly recommended."

FEB 20, 2015, Melissa writes on Goodreads: "Painful, poetic, searing."

JAN 23, 2015, Eden writes on Goodreads: "She has a beautiful way of describing the exact feelings of being trapped in an eating disorder. An important read for anyone who is suffering with an eating disorder or who knows someone who is."

JAN 18, 2015, Abby writes on Goodreads: "Harsh and honest."

JAN 15, 2015, Katie Askew of Reader's Digest writes on Twitter about ELENA VANISHING: "Must read for everyone with a negative body image."

JAN 15, 2015, John Mesjak writes on Instagram about ELENA VANISHING: "Genius. Painful. Powerful."

JAN 5, 2015, Justine writes on Goodreads: "I commend Elena for having the courage to share her story. I've read many young adult fiction books and memoirs featuring teenagers/young adults with eating disorders, but Elena Vanishing is different. It's extremely realistic...painfully realistic. There isn't a glorification of eating disorders, as some young adult books unintentionally do. It shows that there is nothing pretty or desirable about having an eating disorder."

JAN 5, 2015, Relena_reads writes on Goodreads: "[The authors] manage to capture the internal voice of a teenager, and then allow that voice to grow up over the course of the book."

JAN 5, 2015, Nvandermeer writes on Goodreads: "A fascinating, brave and painfully honest look in the mirror for a young woman struggling with anorexia nervosa. Lovely and powerful YA memoir."

Diary excerpt: ana i don't need you anymore.
"ana i dont need you anymore.
i have my sister, my mother, my best friend
to look after me,
not jst myself,
and i am sorry
and i will miss you
but you know
i am fine now."

DEC 2, 2014, Junior Library Guild has just signed on to release ELENA VANISHING and HOPE AND OTHER LUXURIES in a book club edition. Thank you, JLG!

NOV 25, 2014, NCTE and ALAN were amazing! My mother and I met too many wonderful people to name or number them all. We loved signing ARCs for excited readers and discussing mental illness, family, and empathy with Neal and Brendan Shusterman. Their novel, CHALLENGER DEEP, comes out in April. It's an amazing exploration of schizophrenia—or, as Brendan calls it, proto-shamanism.

NOV 23, 2014, Beth Kephart is an award-winning writer of lovely, profound memoirs. Here is what she has to say about ELENA VANISHING: "You will read, your heart pounding. You will remember a version of someone you were, or someone you loved, or love still. ... There is depth, beauty, horror, and beauty again in Elena Vanishing. You'll read it, as I did, in a single day. You will think not just about the story that got made, but the story as it was being made—this mother, this daughter, remembering together, writing together, reaching out to the world together." Beth, we were honored to meet you, and my mother is so happy that you own the very first signed ARC of HOPE AND OTHER LUXURIES. She's glad it went to a kindred soul.

OCT 27, 2014, Amy Cheney writes in School Library Journal: "ELENA VANISHING... [is] as good and original as Chronicle children’s publishing director Ginee Seo says it is. The book is terrific so far, with internal dialogue that any teen will relate to. And Dunkle is a passionate speaker. I’ve already invited her for an author visit for my own teen patrons."

OCT 8, 2014, Walter Mayes (@waltergiant) tweets: "I've read ELENA VANISHING & was powerfully affected by it. Both authors will be at #alan14 You must hear them."

And also: "ELENA VANISHING by Elena & Clare Dunkle is a brutal, brave, & beautiful mother/daughter YA memoir of anorexia."

SEP 23, 2014, has just signed on to release an audiobook of ELENA VANISHING. Yes!!

Ask for an advance reading copy of ELENA VANISHING at the Chronicle Books booth at library, school, and book conventions this fall and winter. If you are interested in reviewing this book, please contact Chronicle Books at

Elena Dunkle's therapy art: NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT. Lost. I was lost. I was a child. Something was always missing... a piece of me was gone. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.