Review: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

Book Title: Skin and Bones
Author: Sherry Shahan
Publish Date: March 1st, 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.

Disclaimer: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Warning: Could be a trigger book for those of you who have dealt with eating disorders.

Review:
Let me start off by admitting that I don’t know that much about eating disorders but the psychology behind them has always fascinated me. Not only that but I have been gravitating towards “tough subject books” So when NetGalley approved me for this one, I jumped at the chance.

When we first meet Jack aka Bones,he’s checking into the EDU with the support of his mom, dad and older sister Jill.Yes, Jack and Jill. I won’t lie. I really cringed at those names. Clearly the author couldn’t come up with anything more original.I did love that his family was intact and loving towards one another. That’s something that a lot of YA books don’t have.A family who is fully present in each other’s lives.

I loved, LOVED Bones’ roommate Lard. He was one of those guys who told it how it was. Sort of the tough love stuff.I could tell that Lard was trying to get better and he was not making excuses for what had happened.He owned up to it.That actually took Bones a long time. He didn’t own up to it until the book was nearly over.

Theresa, Mary Jane and Elsie were all in varying stages of recovery but as the book viewed them as only secondary characters, not much was delved into with them. Dr. Chu seemed like a very laid back guy.In a way that was great,but I wanted to see him give a little more guidance to these teens. I loved Nancy, the nurse. She exuded compassion,especially near the end of the book.

Of course I have to talk about Alice. She was the stereotypical dancer who needed to be thinner and thinner in order to preform to the best of her ability.She was one of the patients that was very similar to the way eating disorders are talked about in the media. Dancers are always under an immense amount of pressure to be thinner and thus lighter on their feet.It’s never really delved into as this book was more about Bones’ journey, but I have a feeling Alice’s struggles with the disease were from a combination of wanting to succeed as a dancer and wanting her very absent parents to notice her.

The one family session that was depicted in the book was beyond heartbreaking. It involved all the patients of the EDU and their parents. There was a chance to see the different family systems and try to figure out what had driven these teenage patients to the lengths that they were now going to.This part was the first time I cried while reading the book. I wanted to strangle Theresa’s mother so badly.I also wanted to wring Alice’s parents’ necks.It was infuriating and heartbreaking all at once. 

I loved watching the friendships develop, Not just same sex friendships either. The friendships between Lard and Alice and Bones and Theresa were slow to develop, but I loved seeing them.Opposite sex friendships are not widely seen in YA.The character development overall was top notch. I really felt like I got to know these characters individually.

The pacing and the editing was great. Despite the tough subject, I really enjoyed this one. The only issue I had was that the end didn’t get sewn up in a nice little bow. I still had questions about the book and it’s characters. It was a nearly perfect book that brought out all the feels in me. So I’ll be giving this one 4.5 stars.

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