• Review
By – August 25, 2011
Diana Spechler’s sec­ond nov­el focus­es on the cringe-wor­thy, nerve-wrack­ing, hide-your-head-in-the-sand world of body image issues, eat­ing dis­or­ders, and unwant­ed weight gain. So if the sub­ject makes you want to climb under the cov­ers, lock your doors and come out on the tenth of nev­er, beware. This is a dis­turbing­ly hon­est, star­tling­ly fun­ny look at ado­les­cent girls (and some boys, too) and the nec­es­sary but com­pli­cat­ed part food plays in their already fraught, rocky road toward adult­hood. The sto­ry is set in a weight loss sum­mer camp that is part­ly a mon­ey­mak­ing scam and has a cast of char­ac­ters simul­ta­ne­ous­ly appeal­ing and repel­lent. There are child-manip­u­lat­ing adults here, both wit­ting and not, as well as a car­load of fam­i­ly secrets and betray­als of trust. The pro­tag­o­nist, inter­est­ing­ly named Gray, stum­bles over her many self-con­struct­ed road­blocks in an attempt to fig­ure out what she tru­ly hungers for in life and whether being skin­ny” is ever real­ly enough. The writ­ing, unlike some of the char­ac­ters, is pared down, svelte, and sparkling.

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Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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