Synopsis: (from Amazon)
Lisabeth Lewis is seventeen, anorexic...
Seventeen-year-old Lisabeth is fighting a series of demons the only way she knows how: by refusing to eat. Her cold, acerbic mother; distant father; and friends who disapprove of her and each other all trigger her inner Thin Voice, which derides food, confirms her fatness, and shames her into the control necessary to reject food. As she sinks deeper into anorexia, she summons Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who in turn assigns her a black steed and a scale and transforms her into Famine, another of the Four Horsemen. Kessler has written an unusual allegory about eating disorders, one that works on several levels. As Lisabeth gallops across the world, she witnesses examples of both gluttony and starvation. Using her newfound power, she combats famine, visits horror upon the privileged, and strives to bring balance to the world, all while ignoring the need for balance in her own life. Kessler offers a refreshingly new approach to the YA eating-disorder genre that reinforces the difficulty of conquering these diseases.First Sentence: "Lisabeth Lewis didn't mean to become Famine." I'm usually not a fan of first sentences in which a character is introduced by name, but it's such an excellent hook that it works. Who doesn't want to keep reading after that?
Beefs: I couldn't help but imagining what this book would have been like had it been longer, for an older audience, and more in depth. As it was though, it worked, and was an excellent read.
Brownie Points: The characterizations of Lisabeth and her friends, especially her bulimic friend Tammy, were wonderfully done. Heart wrenching in every way, honest enough to be real, but written in a style that's in-your-face without pummeling-your-face-in.
Ending: As it should be. A wonderful self-discovery.
Recommendation: Teenage girls should definitely read this, especially girls with a penchant towards fantasy, because it mixes just the right amount of fantasy in with the real world to be very effective. I'm not saying this book will make an anerexic girl better; but it is a good self awareness book for all girls.
Would I represent it? I've said before that I like longer books, things much more in depth. So I'm not entirely sure what I would have done with it had I found it in my slush pile. I'd like to think I would have snatched it up, but who knows? I love the idea of girls becoming the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, so I'd love to see something like it.