Thursday, April 02, 2009

Book Review: "Skinny" by Laura L. Smith

Teen girls need to read this book

Melissa is just your typical teenage girl who likes hanging out with her friends, hoping to catch the new guy's eye, and trying out for the dance squad. However behind her happy facade likes a dark secret that she's hidden from everyone else. Melissa has an eating disorder which she denies to even herself. She's doing everything to stay thin, even to the point of justifying that the Bible preaches that God doesn't want her to eat. She thinks she'll be able to control it but soon finds out that being too skinny just isn't worth it.

It's frustrating to read about girls who have eating disorders. You want to tell them, you don't need to lose weight, you're fine just the way you are. It pains you to see someone hurt themselves. However as uncomfortable as this topic can be, it's a serious issue that needs to be brought into the open. This book perfectly captures the life of a teenage girl with an eating disorder. Melissa is your average teenage girl who just wants to fit in during her high school years. I liked how the author made her likable and modern without being too trendy. The dialogue between the teens was realistic and perfectly captured what life is like for the average teen girl (complete with those mean girls!!). However as the story progresses, the reader soon learns that Melissa is facing a battle with herself and her body. What I thought was most interesting about Melissa's situation is that she doesn't try to lose weight because of a boy. While she does have a relationship with a guy throughout the book, he's not really a factor in her decisions to not eat. Her real reasons were more with trying to maintain control in her life, and this was the only way that she could. Side effects of eating disorders are shown to be very painful and unpleasant so hopefully girls who read this book will get the impression that extreme dieting is not the way to go. My only qualm with the book is that I felt Melissa's recovery happened much too quickly. She goes from barely eating anything to being able to choke down a whole piece of pizza. First off, why in the world her parents would buy a fully loaded pizza and expect her to eat this, after she's been diagnosed with an eating disorder is beyond me. From reading other accounts of recovering anorexics and bulimics, it would have taken her a long time to adjust to eating food again and keeping everything down. I don't have a problem with her getting well and having treatment, I just felt that it seemed a little rushed and not that realistic.

However the book is a really great read. I, myself, couldn't put it down. The writing is engaging, entertaining, and realistic. It may be a short read but it packs quite a punch. Any teen girl who's even thought about considering that not eating would be a good idea, needs to read this book.

Skinny by Laura L. Smith is published by NavPress (2008)


  1. Having a daughter, I should probably read this one. Great review!

  2. It's great to seeing their publishing books about important topics like this for the YA audience. Great review.


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