Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Skinny by Ibi Kaslik

Title: Skinny
Author: Ibi Kaslik
Genre: NA realistic fiction, mental health
Publication Date: April 22 2005
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Do you ever get hungry? Too hungry to eat?

Holly's older sister, Giselle, is self-destructing. Haunted by her love-deprived relationship with her late father, this once strong role model and medical student, is gripped by anorexia. Holly, a track star, struggles to keep her own life in balance while coping with the mental and physical deterioration of her beloved sister. Together, they can feel themselves slipping and are holding on for dear life.

This honest look at the special bond between sisters is told from the perspective of both girls, as they alternate narrating each chapter. Gritty and often wryly funny, Skinny explores family relationships, love, pain, and the hunger for acceptance that drives all of us.

I found this book after a short Goodreads search about the subject of anorexia. We discussed this big, scary subject at school a couple of times, but it was mostly "dry" descriptions. I wanted to get the real FEEL of this illness that is so close to many of us teenage girls, and luckily I found exactly what I wanted in this book.

From the green popsicle on the cover, I was expecting a typical story about some teenage angst with  a happy ending. But I got it soooooo wrong. Don't let the cover fool you!! This book was so much more than teenage drama!! It was one of the most complicated and unique books I've ever read. EVER.

This book is narrated by two sisters, 20-something-year-old Giselle and 14-year-old Holly. Giselle had suffered from Anorexia for many years, and at the end of her first year in medical school, she's taken to the hospital after losing a lot of weight and having a mental breakdown. Besides her Anorexia, Giselle has many mental issues that were mostly caused by her father's preferring of Holly over her.
Holly, a middle school student, has a very strong spirit, the opposite of her sister's. She is a talented basketball player and runner and has a strong lean body, the opposite of her sister's skinny figure. While trying to shape her identity as a teenager, Holly has to deal with the sickness of the sister she loves.
This book describes a battle with Anorexia - a battle that involves not only Giselle, but all the people in her life.

What impressed me the most about this book was the sheer realism of it. Everything was so completely genuine and honest - the narrators, their feeling, their struggles. Both sisters were dealing with unbelievably hard situations, but somehow I could believe and understand everything. I was surprised at how much I could relate to their pain and struggles even though none of them are actually close to my life.

I can't decide which of the sisters I liked more. They both kind of balanced each other with their strong bond. I adored their close, harmonic relationship. They never let jealousy take over them and they always meant good to one another. Giselle didn't hate her sister even though she had everything she'd ever wanted - their dad's favoritism, a perfect body, a stable soul. Holly, from her side, never thought about herself when it came to Giselle's sickness - she always thought about her sister's health first and never about the effect it has on her own life. They definitely set an example to how a relationship between sisters should be - caring and ego-less.

This book showed how Giselle's anorexia and mental disorders were a result of many different reasons, some of them almost hidden. For example - the fact that her parents were immigrants from Hungary had an effect on Giselle. As people who came to America to get their children better lives, Giselle's parents put a lot of pressure on their first daughter to study very hard, be healthy, good-looking, etc..  Her eating disorder was in a way her rebellion against them.
This is only one example. There were so many complicated reasons behind this sickness. This book showed me how complex anorexia really is and how you can never judge people for having it.

This book taught me a lot about mental disorders and anorexia, about their causes and the strong effect they have on both person who has them and the people surrounding him. I don't think I'll ever forget this tragic, heartbreakingly beautiful story.


Theme Song:


This songs describe the complicated relationship between Giselle and Sol perfectly. You'll understand it better when you'll read the book.


THANKS FOR READING THIS!!! I hope you find my review helpful :)
I appreciate comments. I promise to comment back on you blogs <3<3



  1. Dude this character has my name how can I not want to read it? Win! Plus it sounds great and I like that it's told by sisters too! Awesome review, doll!

    1. Yeah!! Haha I bet it will add a lot to your reading experience :)
      THANKS <3

  2. Wow -- I've never heard of this but I think I'd really like it. Great review!

  3. Wow this is really interesting because I never expected the father to favour the younger daughter. I like how even despite their father's favouritism, Giselle has a good relationship with Holly. Great review Sapir :D

    1. I know.. at first it didn't make sense to me to.. but somewhere near the end you find out about the reasons.. which are pretty sad.
      The fact Giselle didn't hate Holly was admirable.
      Thanks :):)

  4. THAT COVER. I must say. It's so cute! Though I probably shouldn't be swooning over the cover when the story is the exact opposite of cheery. I don't think I've ever read a book about anorexia - only about characters being overweight and having to deal with bullying - and since you gave this five stars, I think it's safe to say that I hope to give this one a go in the future. :)

    It's so good to hear that the strong point of the book was how believable it was. I usually don't find it hard to believe contemporaries, because they don't involve fantasy things like dragons, or futuristic places like in dystopian books, but I can see how an author would take things too far when dealing with these kinds of issues, so it's definitely a relief that that wasn't the case here! And also, it's incredible that you were able to relate to the two sisters, despite the fact that they were going through some unusually difficult times.

    "Giselle didn't hate her sister even though she had everything she'd ever wanted" - FINALLY. I have been waiting this long for a character like Giselle! Someone who doesn't get jealous, because let's face it: we have too many of those types of characters. Plus, I think this really shows how much she loves her sister. That she's happy for her, even though she has everything. It's so touching. <3

    I also like that Giselle's condition had layers to it. Like, it wasn't only one thing that set it off, but several things in succession. I think that adds more to the depth and severity of her condition: a huge plus, in my opinion! And funny that you chose Born To Die as the theme song. That's one of my favorite songs ever, and I'm intrigued to see how it'll tie in with the story.

    Lovely review, Sapir! I hadn't heard of this book before now, so thanks for putting it on my radar. :)

    1. I know!! The cover is cute. But it is not connected to the book in any way. The book's plot is the very opposite of cute!! :P

      This book doesn't involve anything supernatural, but it's still very far away from my actual life because it is so tragic and complicated, unlike other contemporary reads, but I could still relate to it.

      The way Giselle treated her sister was very touching!! I couldn't believe sometime how she never gets jealous.

      Thanks you so much for this lovely comment <3

  5. Wow, I am loving the sound of the relationship between Giselle and her sister. I absolutely love sister relationships so I will be adding this to the TBR.

    Lovely review, Sapir! <33

  6. Wow, fantastic review! I'm so gonna be adding this one to the TBR list!
    The cover is attention grabbing for sure, and I'm glad it was not the typical full of teenage drama filled book!