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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Skinny* by Ibi Kaslik- young adult book review

by Ibi Kaslik
Grades 9+ 256 pages Walker January 2007 Hardcover    

Giselle is destroying herself - and not only herself, but also those around her who can only watch, helpless to stop her destruction. As Holly looks on, her older sister Giselle seems to be fighting a losing battle with anorexia. Giselle blames much of her physical and mental deterioration on her late father, who she feels never loved her the way he did Holly. She doesn't tell her mother or sister this but, years later, it still hurts.

Every time it seems that Giselle is returning to her former self - meeting a guy, volunteering at the hospital - she is drawn back in by that which consumes her from the inside. Holly watches helplessly and must fight to keep her own life on track. She's a star athlete. She has friends. However, she's not entirely normal, either; she sees her father's ghost.

Giselle was the smart one. She was a student at medical school when her breakdown occurred, and now she's just the one who sits at home and doesn't fill her clothes. Her life has spiraled out of control, and it's a struggle for Holly to keep her own in control while watching the destruction of her sister, unable to do anything.

Both sisters are helpless to stop whatever Giselle is fighting, and that helplessness, along with all of their other emotions, shines through clearly in the text. Holly and Giselle take turns narrating the story, and rarely are these emotions good; if you want a feel-good story, this is not the book for you. It is heart-stoppingly tragic.

Skinny is realistically and painfully written, but the narration is a little unreal - perhaps ethereal? It is not linear, and the way the story is told is almost detached sometimes, despite the powerful feelings present throughout.

The two sisters are revealed to have much more in common than readers might think at first. It's not all good, though. Much of what they have in common is the tragedy in their pasts: their father's death. It means different things for each of them, though.

Skinny is a painful book to read, but this is an accomplishment on the part of Ibi Kaslik. It's a painful, haunting, and depressing story, and it's a sign of Ibi Kaslik's brilliance that the reader is able to feel that. Upon picking this book up, be prepared to feel the depth of the sadness and tragedy that invades Holly's and Giselle's lives. What makes this story even more powerful is the fact that it feels real. It's tragic that such a terrible story is able to be so real, but it is.

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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