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Readers Advisory: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

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Skin and Bones

by Sherry Shahan

Albert Whitman Teen, $16.99 hardcover, ISBN-10 0807573973, March 2014

Sixteen-year-old Jack, nicknamed “Bones,” won’t eat. His roommate in the eating disorder ward has the opposite problem and proudly goes by the nickname “Lard.” They become friends despite Bones’s initial reluctance. When Bones meets Alice, a dangerously thin dancer who loves to break the rules, he lets his guard down even more. Soon Bones is so obsessed with Alice that he’s willing to risk everything-even his recovery.
While this book doesn’t break any new ground, the focus on boys with eating disorders makes a refreshing change. Although the majority of people afflicted with eating disorders are female, and society focuses on the messages the media sends girls, the afterword by the author points out that 25% of eating disorder sufferers are male, and that’s an awfully large percentage to ignore.
Shahan gets the mechanics of a rehab home down pat but doesn’t resort to trying for a “scared straight” vibe. She also manages an ending that’s both hopeful and ambiguous, giving her main character a bright outlook but not letting everyone off the hook, either. Overall, a nice if forgettable portrayal.
Recommend to: Fans of Wintergirls
To buy or not to buy: Solid purchase for larger collections

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