Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Scheinmel

Title: The Stone Girl
Author: Alyssa B. Scheinmel
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from August 18 to 21, 2012
My rating: 1 star: I don't like it
Summary: Sethie Weiss is hungry, a mean, angry kind of hunger that feels like a piece of glass in her belly. She’s managed to get down to 111 pounds and knows that with a little more hard work—a few more meals skipped, a few more snacks vomited away—she can force the number on the scale even lower. She will work on her body the same way she worked to get her perfect grades, to finish her college applications early, to get her first kiss from Shaw, the boy she loves, the boy who isn’t quite her boyfriend. Sethie will not allow herself one slip, not one bad day, not one break in concentration. Her body is there for her to work on when everything and everyone else—her best friend, her schoolwork, and Shaw—are gone.

She feels like a creature out of a fairy tale: a girl who discovers that her bones are really made out of stone, that her skin is really as thin as glass, that her hair is brittle as straw, that her tears have dried up so that she cries only salt. Maybe that's why it doesn't hurt when she presses hard enough to begin bleeding: it doesn't hurt, because she's not real anymore.

This is one of those novels I think I might like but end up not liking. I've never read any books that involve eating disorders of any kind before, so I thought this could be a new experience. But it is an understatement to say that I am disappointed.

I didn't like this book. Because of the 3rd person point of view, I couldn't get into the story to begin with.  I found it hard to read and it didn't help that it really kind of bored me. But there are other things that endlessly disturb me, like the narrator's thoughts.

The narrator, Sethie Weiss, starts out an anorexic and then becomes a bulimic as the story goes on. Being extremely thin is her idea of beautiful. What really makes me uncomfortable is the fact that she glorifies her eating disorder like she really believes it. Realistic? I don't know. But definitely uncomfortable. She says she loves lying down on the floor and feeling her hipbones pressed against the hard floor, because it's telling her that there's no fat there. This girl is seriously obsessed. There are a lot of scenes where I had to turn my eyes away and scrunch up my face because I was really terrified. Especially the scene where she wants to "cut the fat right out" and "scrape out the fat" with her nails.  So what does she do? She scratches her right knee, the place where she makes her scab flick off, and then she leans closer and sucks. Yes, DIY liposuction! Only she doesn't suck out the fat. What comes out is blood, which according to her, is "disappointing." If you want to her if she swallows the blood, no, she doesn't, because "for all she knows, blood might have calories."

This book makes me want to cry big time.

It might be because I couldn't relate to the main character, not having had an eating disorder and all. However I, like most girls, have felt ugly because of my fat. Sure, I used to hate myself and be depressed because of it, but I got over it. The thing is, I don't ever remember having ideas as ridiculous as Sethie's. I don't sleep with a knife under my pillow or mattress. And I sure don't play with it, let alone using it to trace my skin and thinking about cutting it to let out the fat. Which is precisely what Sethie does, among other things like throwing up and starving herself. Like I said, it disturbs me a lot.

Except for disgust, I hardly felt anything reading this book. I didn't find Sethie sympathetic, and I definitely didn't like her. There's no character development whatsoever. It's kind of ironic that, being a realistic young adult novel, there are a few unrealistic aspects. Sethie is supposedly very smart, but she also uses drugs, and lets herself be used for sex. And in the end, she miraculously wakes up. No, it doesn't work for me. If someone has been so stubborn about her behaviors, she doesn't just get up and change herself like that.

After everything I've said, as you might have guessed, I have to give it just one star. The subject matters may sound interesting, but trust me, that's really all there is to it. Unless you want to spend your time reading the wrong book and experience disturbing issues, there are other books for you. I'm definitely not going to recommend this book for anyone.


This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.


  1. Hi!
    I just came across your site and it is really lovely! I happily followed you and will enjoy reading your updates. You can find me over at Rainy Day Reads, It would be great if you could stop by and I would love to have a fellow book lover as a new follower.
    Christine x
    Rainy Day Reads

  2. Aww I'm sorry you didn't like it! :( Also, I do understand what you didn't like about it. I haven't read many books with the main character deals with anorexia but I kind of understand it so hopefully your next book with anorexia is a better experience! :) Awesome review!


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