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Tracey Yokas
Tracey Yokas, author
It should have been Tracey Yokas’s time to heal. With the recent death of her mother, she was given a brand-new chance to redefine herself and her happiness on her own terms. But just as she prepares herself to spread her wings, Tracey discovers that her only child, Faith, is battling issues of her own—carrying forward the legacy of disordered eating, depression, and self-harm Tracey is so desperate to leave behind. Tracey is determined to save her daughter, but she has no idea how to reach her—and as their fragile family navigates a medical system and a societal fabric that fails innumerable families in need, she and Faith become near strangers to each other. Ultimately, it’s only when Tracey begins the hard work of standing up to her own history of rejection, low self-esteem, and longing does healing—for both mother and daughter—become possible. Carrying a message made urgent by the epidemic of mental health challenges now besetting millions of American teens each year, Bloodlines is a story about how waking up to the power of love can allow us to reimagine the past—and fortify the present.
What is it like to love someone in unbearable pain and to parent them through it? Yokas’s unflinching but generous and ultimately rousing memoir plumbs this question with uncommon insight, digging into generational trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and above all else how to face loved ones’ painful mental health issues with understanding. Yokas recounts feeling unmoored in the aftermath of her mother’s death, an unexpected loss that hit as Yokas already was worried about her eighth-grade daughter, Faith, facing an adolescence of bullies and misery due to being slightly overweight—an adolescence like Yokas’s own. Soon, Faith begins to forego meals “I had to beg her to eat the broiled chicken breast and steamed broccoli dinner”) and, one evening, intentionally thunks her head against her bedframe while lamenting her size.

Determined to save her daughter but with no idea how to make that happen, Yokas navigates a medical system and society that consistently fails people in need, straining her relationship with the emotionally volatile Faith and also her husband, Theo. Meanwhile, despite wrenching scenes and an “emotional pendulum” that swung from “rage to despair, desperation to worry,” Yokas looks into her past to examine and understand the emotional scars handed down from her parents, finding the courage and wisdom to persevere—and to both give and receive compassion, love, and support. Ultimately, it’s only when Yokas begins the hard work of standing up to her own history of rejection, low self-esteem, and neglect that healing becomes possible, for both mother and daughter.

Sharing a raw, honest look at facing and enduring a history of trauma, Bloodlines shows that the road to recovery is paved with acceptance, hope, and love. Yokas’s story, told with power and warmth, will help parents who are navigating mental health crises understand that the chains that bind us up in narratives often were forged long before we were born—and that they can be broken.

Takeaway: A mother’s raw, hopeful account of a daughter’s disordered eating.

Comparable Titles: Harriet Brown’s Brave Girl Eating, Hadley Freeman’s Good Girls.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A