Letting Ana Go

Anonymous. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7223-5
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)
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013
Release date: 06/04/2013
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