Skinny

( 113 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Family secrets play a role in Canadian author Kaslik's powerful first novel about 22-year-old Giselle's struggle with anorexia and its devastating effects on her family. Giselle was one of the top 10 in her class at medical school before suffering a breakdown. While at home recovering, Giselle is on a mission to figure out why her father (who has been dead for nine years) didn't love her. The first two-thirds of the book move slowly: Giselle's narrative shifts between the present and flashbacks of her childhood as she searches for clues to her father's behavior. When her condition slightly improves, Giselle allows herself to enjoy the attentions of Solomon and imagines going back to medical school. In alternating chapters, Giselle's 14-year-old sister, Holly, expresses her concern about Giselle's condition while grappling with her own issues. Together their narratives convey the unbreakable bond between the two sisters. Giselle's downward spiral begins when she suspects Solomon and Holly have acted on their feelings for each other, and the final third of the book chronicles Giselle's losing battle with her illness. Readers may find the scene in which an emaciated Giselle escapes from the hospital to be highly unlikely, but, overall, Giselle's battle with self-image is painfully realistic. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Wendy M. Smith-D'Arezzo
Giselle and Holly are sisters, eight years apart in age, but emotionally close. The story of Giselle's fight with anorexia is told alternately by, fourteen-year-old Holly and twenty-two year old Giselle. After collapsing at the end of her first year of medical school, Giselle is hospitalized and eventually released to be with her mother and sister. At this point, there is hope that she will conquer this illness that is killing her from the inside out. However, after a pivotal plot turn, the story loses hope and Holly is not just running for her own pleasure but now to escape her own life. Both sisters fixate on their father and his death eight years ago. Giselle is not sure if he is her biological father and dreams that this may be the reason their relationship was always so strained. Both girls are well developed characters, and the sinister character of Giselle's alter ego is so perceptively drawn that when she tells Giselle not to eat, it repulsed me. The mother, however, is a shadowy character, filling in the background, smoking, crying, and begging Giselle to eat. The writing is complex, not always easy to navigate, but often beautiful and evocative. Some of the medical information is not correct, in spite of the author's attempt to research this field. Perhaps it would have helped to have a medical professional proof a draft. Kaslik references Plath in her writing; the reader would be reminded of Plath even without this reference. The grim content deems this appropriate only for older readers.
VOYA - Kimberly Paone
Athletic and boyish, solid-bodied Holly has a hearing impairment and learning challenges. Her older sister, waif-like Giselle, is a brilliant and beautiful med student. The sisters have always been very different and were treated differently by their now-deceased father-Holly beloved but pitied for her deficiencies, and Giselle all but ignored. Now even years later, both sisters are still coping with their father's inconsistent attentions, his long-kept secrets, and his ghostly visitations. Holly acts out at school; Giselle stops eating. While Giselle gets smaller, her problems get larger and permeate the lives of all the people around her. Giselle's mother, her boyfriend, and Holly are all wooed, manipulated, and angered by the new ultra-thin creature that she has become. This novel is heavy with issues, and Kaslik tries to do too much in too few pages. Giselle's anorexia and the areas of her life affected by it would make for an interesting story, but the addition of the complexities of the sibling relationship, Holly's difficulties, Giselle's boyfriend's issues, her unresolved problems with her father, and the question of her paternity all serve to cloud the original tale. The alternating chapters-told from Holly's perspective and from Giselle's-further confuse the reader. There are several other books that tell stories of anorexia much more effectively, including Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori Gottlieb (Simon & Schuster, 1999) and one that also deals with sibling relationships, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (Viking, 2006/VOYA April 2006).
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In her first year of med school, 22-year-old Giselle Vasco seems to have it all together. But a lifetime of bitter relations with her deceased father is slowly catching up, and she falls into a downward spiral that her mother and her younger sister, Holly, are powerless to stop. Skinny, though, is much more than a study of one young woman's battle with anorexia. What starts as Giselle's story quickly develops into a rich and powerful tapestry of a whole family. When Thomas and Vesla Vasco emigrated from Hungary in the 1970s to escape communism's rigid caste system, Vesla was already pregnant, and Thomas had always questioned whether the baby was his. His doubts color his whole relationship with his older daughter, and when Holly is born eight years later, the divide becomes more apparent. Holly, a natural athlete, struggles to understand and avert her sister's self-loathing. The chapters alternate between the sisters' voices, and the ability to see the events unfolding through their eyes adds a depth and a poignancy that would not have been possible with a single narrator. Kaslik's first novel hits the mark with characters with whom teens will empathize, and tackles a relevant and painful subject with grace.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Unflinching and raw, this story of two sisters is powered by a frenetic energy that can't be ignored. Swapping medical school for an eating-disorder clinic wasn't 22-year-old Giselle's plan, and her 14-year-old sister Holly didn't see it coming either. Reading chapters that alternate between their distinct and sometimes startlingly aware voices, readers will be intimately imbedded in each sister's mind as they each deal with Giselle's disorder and the complicated family issues that their struggle unearths, especially regarding their deceased father and their parents' earlier life in Hungary. Although brimming, sometimes to the point of nearly overflowing, with intense and masterful poetic imagery, this text and its heavy subject matter are presented with clarity and truth. Without blinking, Kaslik tackles lesbianism, drug abuse, suicide and other mature topics, making this text appropriate for older teens and college students. Brave and unique. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802797384
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 12/26/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 154,218
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.22 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Ibi Kaslik is a freelance writer and novelist. She has an MA in creative writing and lives in Toronto, Canada. Her first novel, Skinny, was short listed for both the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book Award.

Visit her Web site at www.ibikaslik.net.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 113 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(52)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2008

    AMAZING

    This was the first ever book about eating disorders and their affects that I've read and it blew me away. I have 3 eating disorders myself and reading this book always makes me feel like I'm not alone in this fight. I have read it 5 times so far and don't ever think I will get sick of it.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Beautiful

    Skinny was beautiful. It was brave in the way that it said what people really think but are to afraid to say. It was unforgettable with the relationship between the characters and the unique way it was written. Like with the conversations between Giselle and her own enemy within her. It is emotional; within every chapter you would find so many emotions! Anger, fear, love, acceptance, longing, envy, suffering, pride...

    This story was important. So many of us put a bandage around anorexia. And many people, including me, feel angry at those who suffer from it. But it is not all about food and being, well, just being skinny. Throughout this whole book Giselle was never concerned with fitting into those couture clothes... it was more than that. It is about control; a channel of fear from the past and the unknown future.

    I loved this book! I enjoyed the free and sometimes "unclear" style. It made it sound like a real person was sharing their mind with you... not something that had been analyzed and edited to stereotypical perfection (and would therefore become mundane)... because people don't think that way. So, I guess I appreciated that rawness.

    Read it.

    ~Lo

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Typos & conflicting information.

    This book was obviously not edited well. Or at all.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

    Wasn't that good.

    I really don't recommend this book, I didn't enjoy it at all it was slow and honestly just really boring to read. There were some parts that were okay but even the ending was terrible. Don't waste your time.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nice approace to showing what anorexia can really be. Not a glorified depiction of this eating disorder. It showed the real mental health side.

    I really enjoyed this book. I am not a reader and couldn't put it down. I got through this book with enthusiasim. I was inspired to read it when I saw my 8th grade students reading it in class. Loved the relationships between the two sisters and how it gave an interpretation of each individual experience. I laughed, cried and was shocked at some points. I did not want it to end. I wanted more. I am sharing it with friends and family of ages from teens to older adults.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    Ehhh

    I had to read this book for a project, then do a report on it. It was confusing. It only went fast because I had to read it. It talks about tough subjects, that me being a skinny person didn't like to talk about, although I have no eatting disorders. I felt it could have been better.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted April 4, 2012

    Booo

    Not that good kinda lame the girls mental dont waste ur money

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2011

    This book was not for me

    It is told in a shared narrative/perspective by both main characters, sisters Giselle and Holly, after Giselle comes home from a hospital stay for her battle with anorexia. There are also intermittent stories from the past as Giselle tries to find clues to solve the mystery of why her late father didn't love her. Holly's side of the story seems to deal more with adolescent life and struggles with school. While the title of the book is Skinny and there is some insight to Giselle's mind and experience with the disease--including a separate dialogue and narrative which represents the anorexic girl inside of her, telling her what to do and what to eat, as well as negative thoughts like how she's not good enough for love--I didn't feel that was an appropriate title for this book. It didn't seem that anorexia was that important or even the real problem of this book until the end. It seemed to be more about Giselle's desperation for love, especially from the one person she would never have it from--her dad. The beginning was long, a little boring and slow for me. I felt no connection to either character, but especially not with Holly, the younger of the two. While I liked Giselle's character for the most part, I didn't feel ANYTHING for her--no sadness, or hurt or any emotions, and the only time I did was about three-fourths through and even then it was slight. I also found some of the writing hard to follow. Sometimes getting mixed up in Giselle's present moment while she is also having a flashback and it becomes confusing. I also thought the separate parent's stories were not as big of a deal as the author posed them to be. The only romance in the book was between Giselle and her boyfriend Sol and it just fell flat for me. I couldn't see what they saw in each other or if they really even cared about one another. There's also a love triangle that develops and is really weird, confusing and seems unrealistic. I mean an older guy (I'm guessing about 18 or 19 because I don't believe the author ever divulged the age specifically; he does order alcohol but the book is set in Canada where I believe the drinking age is around 19.) who falls "in love" with an eighth grader? While I did not particularly enjoy this book, I did find some of the author's symbolic writing beautiful and sad. She had great descriptions for Giselle's imagery of what was happening in her mind compared to what was really happening around and to her. Overall, I thought the author had a good idea and a good storyline but maybe would have been better executed with only Giselle's voice and more about the power of the disease over her, more of the voice in her head and how it affects her everyday and probably less about the parents (even though I understand they played a big part in Giselle's problem) and either more about love or less about it all together.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2011

    huh

    don't know but the cover is cool

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2008

    Lyrical and Bracing

    I think this book is real and difficult only for readers who are used to cliches and being spoon-fed. For those of ready to be lyrically and emotionally challenged, it's a really incredible book about sisters, loss and eating disorders.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    Horrible

    This was one of the worst books I have ever read!! I got about 60 pages into it and then got rid of it!!! I don't recommend it all!

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2007

    confusing

    it was confusing through most of it. i was interested at the way end i only read it because im not a quitter i wouldnt recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    Sample mix-up.

    I can't say if this standsls for the full ebook file also, but the sample isn't for Skinny. It's some random book on Hinduism. Buyer beware.

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

    Posted May 18, 2013

    Wrong sample

    On nook, I was given the sample to another book. It was about religion, sefularism, etc. Please fix this problem.

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

    Posted April 25, 2013

    To the girl 2 doun from me

    1get help

    2 Get help
    3 AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD GET HELP NOOK PEOPLE ARE NOT COUNSULERS

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Hi! :)

    I personally liked the plot of the book. It was really good. There is alot of terminalogy that referrs to doctor stuff and medical things so that might get confusing. I HATED the ending! It was terrible. The rest of it was good. I still dont understand if she knew why her father didn't love her or not because I got confused. If you have not been exposed to the idea ot knowlege of intercoarse then this book might get intense although it does not get too graphic. There are a fair amount of curse words so if u do not like tht then this book is not for you. If the ending was better then I would have given thisbook five stars. I also don't know if Sol and Holly shared a kiss or heated make-out session before Giselle walks in. I got confused there too. Thus book is kinda miss leading in the title because ut is not all about her and her eating disorder. So yea...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Love

    It taught me somthing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Well..

    Mabie it talks about some verry innapropriate topics because you need to know about them and today nobody talks sereously about some of this. Get a grip. Be mature. Lord. And the nook "hes mine"/kisses stuff? Nasty and we dont give a flying eff. Kay? Kay.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    DONT READ

    This book is soooooooooo bad i got the sample and it is reallly bad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Dont read if your not mature

    We read this novel at my skool. Innapropriate for 12 and under

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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