restricted access Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan (review)
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Reviewed by
Shahan, Sherry. Skin and Bones. Whitman, 2014. [259p]. ISBN 978-0-8075-7397-6 $16.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 8-12.

At home, he’s Jack, but here in the Eating Disorders Unit he’s been dubbed Bones (by his roommate, who’s known as Lard) on account of his anorexia. Bones is a stubborn patient, exercising like crazy and trying to cheat the weigh-ins; his recovery is hindered further when he falls for Alice, a pro-ana dancer who makes Bones her secret rehearsal partner and applauds his dangerously underweight form. Bones is unable to resist Alice’s increasingly self-destructive requests, and he struggles to find a way to please her even as he moves toward health. The writing is simple and accessible, and Bones’ warped self-image is effectively conveyed; it’s also clear to the reader that Alice is more in love with her disease than with any boy, and that Bones is just a convenient means to an end for her. However, characterization is generally scanty and sometimes puzzling (sixteen-year-old Bones is bewildered by what’s apparently his first wet dream), motivations are fairly stock, and the details of the EDU vary from credible to dubious, making the journey ultimately superficial and message-focused. The subject remains compelling, however, and the camaraderie between Bones and Lard is endearing, so readers who were absorbed by Metzger’s A Trick of the Light (BCCB 9/13) may find this thought-provoking. A recipe, oddly, is appended. [End Page 378]