By: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 2012
This is a remarkable story that focuses on a very unfortunate real-life matter.
Sara (referred to as Sethie) is a senior in a co-ed private school. She’s more than a bit OCD - nervous, always hurrying, and constantly aware of her calorie intake. In fact, she barely eats at all. Now, she isn’t the only one. In this school being skinny is an absolute obsession for most of the girls.
She and her mom live in a building that has a vacant apartment across the hall that’s never locked, and some of the kids come after school to sit in this empty apartment and get stoned.
Shaw is the boy of Sethie’s dreams. Very laid back, Shaw basically doesn’t much worry about anything in life, even Sethie. And he makes it a point to gather friends at the corner and lead them straight into this apartment where Sethie, if found out, could get in serious trouble and get her and her mother kicked out on the street.
But Shaw is a charmer and even more of an obsession for Sethie than being skinny. Although she does mention that when the floor is hard beneath her body in the vacant apartment, she’s happy because that means she’s skinny that day. In contrast, Jane, who is a new friend, actually uses the old sticking the finger down the throat method to keep her physique.
As our tale rolls on, readers begin to identify with Sethie. They want nothing more than to see this young girl fight her way back from the edge, because her boyfriend is basically a useless loser who doesn’t deserve the time of day.
What the author has done is written a heartfelt, very emotional story where readers watch a young, mixed-up girl find the confident woman who is just waiting inside her to be free.
Quill Says: A gripping tale that readers will not soon forget.