Synopses & Reviews
She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale; a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn't hurt, because she's not real anymore.
High school senior Sarah Beth (Sethie) Weiss is disciplined. She has never cut a class in her life, has never had a grade below a B+, and has always been a favorite among her teachers. Her college applications are finished and she only ate six Ritz crackers today. But even on days when Sethie needs to eat more, there's always the toilet to make up for her mistakes. Sethie manages to get down to 104, and maybe if she works just a little bit harder, becomes a little more disciplined, she can get below 100. Truth be told, Sethie has more to worry about than her relationship with her body; but the deeper she descends into her disorder, the smaller her world gets and the harder it is to see her way out.
"Despite some predictable elements, this drama about a girl on the road to anorexia offers candid insights into the psychological factors underlying the condition. Seventeen-year-old Sethie Weiss, a student at an elite girls' school in Manhattan, is entangled in a destructive relationship with a boy who treats her callously. Simultaneously, Sethie becomes increasingly obsessed with her weight, wishing she could look more like her new friend, Janey. What follows is an account of Sethie's regimented eating habits, her flirtation with cutting, her experimentation with drugs, and her inevitable breakup with the boy she thinks she loves. As Sethie eats less, she becomes more reclusive, isolating herself from those who care about her: Ben, a big-brother figure who shares her passion for literature; Janey, who continues to call Sethie a friend; and Sethie's mother, who remains silently concerned about her daughter. Sethie's redeeming characteristics are overshadowed by her fixations, with the third-person narration giving her voice an authentic, detached quality. Regardless of Sethie's distance from readers, Sheinmel's depiction of her self-defeating behavior comes across as vivid and painfully truthful. Ages 12 up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Company. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
ALYSSA B. SHEINMEL is the author of two previous novels, The Beautiful Between and The Lucky Kind. She grew up in Northern California and New York, and attended Barnard College. Alyssa lives and writes in New York City. You can visit her on the Web at AlyssaSheinmel.com.