Letting Ana Go

( 26 )

Overview

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control ...

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Letting Ana Go

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Overview

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better—stronger—she felt.

But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far…

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This harrowing cautionary tale (in the vein of 2012’s Lucy in the Sky) demonstrates the inability of family and friends to rescue a loved one from the disease that has become her “best friend,” as an athletic high school sophomore with a healthy attitude toward food is gradually overtaken by anorexia. Ana narrates in diary form (ironically begun as a food journal assigned by the track coach to ensure adequate caloric intake), and each entry begins with her current weight. Her parents’ breakup, which Ana attributes to her mother’s inability to maintain her figure, becomes a catalyst for her determination to “take control.” Encouraged by her friend Jill’s desire for dieting company and Jill’s picture-perfect but almost diabolical mother, who buys them clothing in too-small sizes and says things like, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels,” Ana records her increasingly distorted perceptions about her body, friends, parents, and self-worth. This story provides disturbing insight into the online world of “thinspiration” (anorexics encouraging each other), the limited health care resources available to treat this illness, and the mortal risk of those afflicted. Ages 14–up. (June)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Fans of Go Ask Alice (Prentice-Hall, 1971) and Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls (Viking, 2009) will gravitate to this compelling account of one girl's battle with anorexia. Asked to maintain a food diary as a part of her cross-country training, the unnamed narrator begins her story as a healthy, well-adjusted teen from a privileged family. Her overweight mother struggles with food issues on a daily basis and receives little emotional support from her husband, who either humiliates or ignores her. Witnessing the deterioration of her parents' marriage, the teen becomes overwhelmed by a flood of conflicting emotions and channels her need for order into restricting what she eats. Through her journal entries, readers witness her gradual descent from self-discipline to denial as she convinces herself that she grows emotionally stronger as she eats less. Readers will relate to the teen's experiences navigating family dynamics, friendship, and relationships, and the first-person narrative lends realism to her character as it allows access to the reasoning behind her misguided decisions. As real as she appears, however, the prose seems too polished and situations feel staged for dramatic effect. Those seeking an authentic story may be better served reading a harrowing memoir such as Marya Hornbacher's Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (HarperCollins, 1998).—Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Anyone familiar with the sensationalist pseudo-diary Go Ask Alice knows it won't end well for an anonymous (fictitious) teen who chronicles her eating disorder. The journal begins as a food diary assigned by the unnamed narrator's running coach. When the narrator goes on vacation with her friend Jill, Jill's dreamy brother, Jack, and Jill's perfectly put-together mother, Susan, Jill convinces her to restrict her eating. As in Alice, the cautionary tale thrills readers with lurid details of the unnamed diarist's spiral into danger. The diarist's weight, food intake and exercise regimen are recorded in detail, with frequent mentions of dress sizes and tips such as the "Thin Commandments." Every pressure the narrator experiences seems to be food-related, sometimes to an absurdly exaggerated degree ("Jack couldn't take his eyes off you [last night]," Susan warns the narrator after catching her with a doughnut hole. "I just wouldn't want you to start forming bad habits that would get in the way of that"). Readers who struggle with body image or with their own eating will surely have their own anxieties provoked by the obsessive details and the narrator's unresolved disgust with her own and others' bodies. A disturbing tale that feels meant to titillate rather than caution. (Fiction. 12-18)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442472136
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 6/4/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 67,631
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

The author was raised in the Bay Area. She started her first media company at age eighteen while attending Long Beach State University. Soon after, she launched and sold a social networking site geared toward moms and began a social media agency, working with Fortune 500 companies. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, Mothering, and iVillage.com, where her satirical pieces on parenting and politics have often gone viral. In May 2012, she created Honest Toddler, a character based on her youngest child. She lives with her family outside of Montreal.

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Read an Excerpt

Letting Ana Go


  • Weight: 133

Breakfast: Bagel (toasted), light cream cheese, orange juice (fresh squeezed! Thanks, Mom!).

A.M. snack: (Who has time for this?) Jill gave me a Life Saver in English. (Does that even count?) It was green.

Lunch: Turkey wrap with Swiss cheese, SunChips, Fresca, 1/2 bag of gummy fruit snacks.

P.M. snack: Other 1/2 of the gummy fruit snacks.

Dinner: Lasagna (1 square), Caesar salad with croutons. Dad made brownies. Ate two.

Now I’m supposed to “write a few sentences about how I feel.” I feel this food diary is strange, and sort of funny. When Coach Perkins handed them out brouhaha ensued. (“Brouhaha” was a word on my final vocab quiz of sophomore year today. As was the word “ensued.”)

Coach Perkins passed out pamphlets at practice. Not really pamphlets but I like all those p’s. Journals, actually.

Coach: It’s a “food diary.”

Vanessa: What is this for?

Geoff: Why don’t I get one?

Coach: Only the ladies.

Coach said girls on other cross-country teams have been using our sport to hide their eating disorders. They run until they collapse from not eating enough, not drinking enough, not knowing enough. Hello? Dingbat? Running four to eight miles per day? You’re going to need some calories. (At least two brownies after dinner.)

Naturally, the adults are only now catching on. They thought that’s just what runners look like. Parents: sometimes clueless.

As a result of not eating, these girls get sick, and we girls get to write everything down.

Our food.

Our feelings.

I still feel it’s funny, somehow . . . or maybe absurd. (Also on the vocab quiz.)

Not Vanessa: This is unfair! What about the guys?

Or Geoff: Yeah! This is cool! I wanna do it too!

Ugh. Lovebirds. Too cute = puke.

(COACH PERKINS: If you’re actually reading this, that was a figurative “puke” not a literal “puke.”)

Coach says she’ll be checking the diary every practice, and then over the summer when we meet up to check in once a month before school starts. Coach Perkins is pretty.

Ponytail, push-up bra, probably pushing forty. Not one to be trifled with. Tough as nails.

Jill was painting her nails in my room after practice during our weekly Friday-night hang out. I told her about the food diary, and how I found it preposterous.

Jill: Please. I’ve been keeping one for six weeks.

Me (laughing): WHY?

Jill: So I can lose ten pounds.

Me: You’ll disappear.

Jill: Shut up.

Me: Seriously. You already look like a Q-tip on toe shoes.

Jill: The Nutcracker Nemesis must be vanquished.

Me: You’re losing ten pounds for Misty Jenkins?

Jill: I’m losing ten pounds for me. I will be Clara this Christmas or you have seen my last pirouette.

She blew on her nails and looked at me with the same wide-eyed stare she has presented each Friday night past when making pronouncements of epic proportions over popcorn. These are not to be pooh-poohed, and I made the mistake of laughing.

She pounced with a pillow.

A brouhaha ensued.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(20)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    This is my first ¿Anonymous¿ book, having never read any of the

    This is my first ‘Anonymous’ book, having never read any of the other similar books published in the previous years (Go Ask Alice, Lucy in the Sky or Jay’s Journal). LETTING ANA GO is the diary of a 16-year-old girl chronicling how a simple task of keeping a food journal for track turned into an uncontrollable obsession to be thin. At the beginning of each journal entry Ana jots down her weight trying to retain the daily suggested 2,200 calories intake. As the story progresses, Ana’s best friend Jill convinces her to start losing weight with her. Ana’s usual 2, 2000 calories went down to 1,700 calories, 1,200 and then 1,000 calories a day.

    LETTING ANA GO gives readers a glimpse into the mind of someone who suffers with anorexia nervosa, a person who loses weight that would be consider unhealthy for their age and height. I don’t know anyone that suffered an eating disorder, but this book shows how easily and scary a person can develop an eating disorder and not know it. It was sad to see how far Ana, and her friend Jill went to obtain the ‘model’ figure. This is a real problem that many women have suffered for a long time, thanks to the media, magazines, and celebrities some women believe that in order to be considered beautiful they need to weight a certain amount, or their waistline needs to be certain size, etc. Ana’s account is very real and disturbing, and though she’s blinded by her own actions…it was also heartbreaking to see everyone that loved her unable to help her. Her parents checked her into a rehab facility, hoping that she’d get better and her boyfriend would always tell her how much he loved her and how beautiful she was but it was never enough.

    LETTING ANA GO is an amazing and at the same time heartbreaking story. It highlights the issue of anorexia and how it can become an obsessive-addiction that can lead to serious health consequences. The ending had me floored. I was completely in shock. I don’t really remember how I expected it to end, perhaps a happy ending like most book but I guess the way it ended made sense. This is a book everyone should read, not just teens. This book is the type of book that will stay with you long after you read it, I’m really glad I got the chance to read it.

    *I received a review copy from the publicist and in exchange I provided a honest review.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    I understand the reviews.

    I understand the reviews tha say read with cautiin. Since i recentally read tjis book it put me a little bit out of my comfort zone but i wasnt completly disturbed. If you can takeevthese things seriously it is a really great book to read. So good.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Really good book. Highly recommend.

    Really good book. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2013

    Ammaazinng

    Best book i've read in a while

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    help!!

    I dont understand. I just fineshed reading the sample, and im confused.
    Is the mom anrexic or this girl?

    please help me

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Should I read this?

    I read the sample for LETTING ANA GO and was hooked immeadiatley, but I have been reading the reviews and everyone is saying how disturbing it is. I am only 13 and am easily scared. I also do not wiegh much for my age, but I am NOT anorexic. Should I read this book? I am scared that if I do I might become anorexic. HELP!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Sad story

    This is a great read! Very informative but sad story, hopefully will help others realize this is a real and dangerous disease.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

    Great read!

    Amazing, although i wish it would have continued in jack and jills lives after for a little while near the end.

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  • Posted January 30, 2014

    I've said in a number of my reviews that I'm typically not a fan

    I've said in a number of my reviews that I'm typically not a fan of books written as journal entries. I haven't read very many "issue" books either - ones that are predominantly focused on exploring a heavy area. Letting Ana Go falls under both of those categories though, which is why I'd consider it to be a book that really pushed me out of my comfort zone as a reader.

    And it's a good thing I did step out of my comfort zone for this one, because it was worth it. Letting Ana Go tackles challenging questions in a way that is well-developed and thoughtful, providing needed perspective on eating disorders.

    Reasons to Read:

    1. Perfectly paced plot:

    You know exactly what Letting Ana Go is about before you even start reading about it. It's very clear that Ana is going to struggle with an eating disorder. But there is such gradual development here, it's like every spring when I watch for new leaves to grow on trees. I know they're coming soon, and it's a slow process that takes a few days and I try to pay attention for all the signs... but it isn't until it's too late that you realize the leaves are all out in full bloom. That was exactly how I felt as Ana's struggle with food and her body image grew increasingly complex and problematic. The pacing is absolutely flawless, which is necessary to make this believable.

    2. A surreal atmosphere:

    The writing style creates a very dream-like quality to the story, which is furthered along by the plot and the gradual takeover by this disorder in Ana's life. I find very few books that are able to express so much confusion, obsession, and even fear within the character's head and truly articulate these feelings onto paper (another one I'd recommend for this is Dreamland by Sarah Dessen). It's one thing for a book to tell what happened, and another thing entirely for that book to live it. Letting Ana Go lives and breathes Ana's chilling experience with anorexia.

    3. There is hope in dark places:

    This book left me with a very heartbreaking reminder of how dangerous eating disorders are, particularly to young girls it seems. But I like that even in the midst of all of this affliction, there are glimpses of hope and goodness. Jack is one of the sweetest, most caring, and brave characters I have ever read. He isn't just a love interest, he's a friend and he's a brother. And when there were other characters that made me so frustrated with their failure to see what was going on and how to respond to it, Jack dealt with it in the best way that he could- he loved.

    I'm still feeling mixed by the ending, though. To be honest, I'm not sure how I wanted or expected this book to turn out but I was disappointed by the ending. It felt hasty. It felt disconnected from the rest of the novel. This is actually one of those rare books where a cliffhanger or an open-ended conclusion would have worked very well, but it wasn't used to its potential here. The ending didn't coincide with the direction the story had taken, and doesn't merge with the viewpoints of the characters as they had changed throughout the book.

    Letting Ana Go brings the struggle of fighting an eating disorder to life for those unfamiliar with it, and equally sheds light on a number of problems which may have caused or contributed to anorexia creeping up on dear Ana. Ana feels like any number of girls I was friends with, grew up with, or went to school with and her mom is just as familiar in her own way. The book's strength lies in making Ana as easy to relate to as possible, so that the reader isn't left questioning why she would struggle with this. That's what is so scary about this book- I can see it happening to just about anyone I know. And none of us are entirely sure what to do about it or how to prevent it. But mostly, it's just a story about a girl, which is both beautiful and sad throughout all the good and bad changes during a few months of her life.

    ARC received from Simon & Schuster Canada for review; no other compensation was received.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    This book was amazing and in my opinion the best Anonymous book

    This book was amazing and in my opinion the best Anonymous book so far. I highly recommend it. Even though this book is extraordinary, it's very "harrowing" and hard to digest after. I've never suffered through any diseases such as anorexia, but I relate very well to the character which is hard to process. Overall, outstanding book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Sad story

    It took me weeks to finish this book when usually I can finish a book in a day or two it was hard for me to stay focused and with being busy just didnt help over all this was a very sad and tragic story its very sad that the young woman passes away from her anorexia due to cardiac arrest "/ I think teens should read this to be aware of the disease and how serious it is.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2013

    Although I'm rating this five stars, it's really hard to say I a

    Although I'm rating this five stars, it's really hard to say I actually enjoyed reading Letting Ana Go. I really didn't enjoy reading it. I cried more while reading this book then any other book I've read. I seriously didn't smile once while reading Letting Ana Go. It's sad and depressing.
    I can't really put what I'm feeling into words. I can't really say anything about the characters or the concept or the pace or the writing. I can just say it's honest, bold, dark, gritty, and real. It's doesn't feel like reading fiction. It feels like reading a girl's diary. A girl who starts out happy and healthy and then you just read while she falls in a downward spiral, into a dark, deep hole. And you can't help her or do anything. You just feel helpless while you read. And you cry a lot.
    Sometimes, things are said and it actually makes me feel like crap about myself. Like I actually think, Man, I'm so fat and ugly. This book actually made me feel like sh*t about my body. But towards the end of the book, things change. Letting Ana Go, in the end, made me feel better about myself. Half everything that happens, I don't want to be like Ana. I don't want to be like Jill. I want to be healthy, whatever that looks like. It sounds weird, I know, but it's true.

    I fast-read about 10% of the middle because it was just so sad and depressing. I just couldn't read it.

    In the end, I'm glad I read Letting Ana Go. It helped me in a way I didn't know I needed help. I think this is a book everyone, mostly girls, should read once. I don't think I'll be reading any more "Anonymous" books anytime soon (or ever) but I'm glad I read this one.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    When I got this book I read the back and knew I had to get it. A

    When I got this book I read the back and knew I had to get it. A few months back I was being made fun etc and starting throwing up regularly. Now this book is my "stay strong" book. In Letting Ana Go they talk about willpower and this book is what helps me. Although it's a fairly morbid book (as would be expected by the subject matter) it's a good to remember and realize you're not alone. I would recomend this for people who are interested in an in-depth description of what this really is, or someone who needs a pick me up. Stay strong ladies, You're beautiful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Loved

    I loved this book so much. It had a great story line and awesome ideas. I would warn though that this book is triggering to anyone in recovery like I am. Read with caution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    To u

    This makes me wanna go to the bathroom its so good

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Riana's Review <3

    This is one of the best books ive ever read! I extremely recommed this wonderful, truthful, passionate book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    To those recovering:

    I want to caution that this can be triggering. Reading this as a recovering patient is extremely uncomfortable, and I had a hard time controlling my anxiety while reading. Having been there, at ninety pounds and still counting how many calories are in a handful of almonds, its powerful but a struggle to complete without feeling out of control and wondering about your own recovery. Please be careful.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2013

    In my opinion, everyone should read this book. It is an eye-ope

    In my opinion, everyone should read this book. It is an eye-opening tale of a sixteen year old girl who develops anorexia nervosa and eventually has to deal with the horrible consequences of malnourishment and exercising non-stop. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot line and pace of the story; not too fast and not too slow. The 16 year old girl (who is unnamed) does not suddenly develop anorexia nervosa at the drop of a hat, she battled and struggled with the disease for many months while trying to portray that she was a healthy and normal girl; with the exception of her best friend Jill, a ballerina who struggled with anorexia alongside her. Multiple times in the story the girl attempted to trump the disease, but she felt that starving herself gave her power and assisted her in dealing with her parent’s divorce. She finds comfort in her boyfriend Jack (Jill’s brother), her friends, and family; but Ana (anorexia) was slowly killing her.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    I saw this book in target al...

    I saw this book in target along with go ask alice & lucy in the sky . I really want to read these books . Also , i wonder who the author is ?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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