Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publisher: Random House Children's
Publish Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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.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.
Sethie is broken, both in mind and body. Her illnesses consume her, and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel anymore. It’s all just bleak, black and dark. Her depression consumes her mind, just as her eating disorder takes its toll on her withering body. Pushing her to seek complete validation and reliance on a boyfriend who doesn’t truly care for her, a friend who will never be a true friend and a semblance of control with controlling her eating, Sethie is on the verge of an abyss from which she can never return. Can she find comfort, solace and peace before she does too much damage and loses herself forever?
Most of my readers know that I have quite the penchant for issue-driven novels. I like when a contemporary book isn’t afraid to push the boundaries and take it to that next level, grasping the very core of humanity. The Stone Girl promised all of the above and more. Embracing a powerful topic that hundreds of thousands of people can relate to, we’re given a unique perspective that is both authentic and harrowing. Author Alyssa Sheinmel’s approach is powerful and disturbing as she gives us access to the life and downfall of a girl so desperate for internal and external approval that she very well might lose herself in the process.
There was so very much going for The Stone Girl, and I was really, really excited to read this one. Books regarding eating disorders hold a little place in my heart because they hit home. This one, however, took a decidedly different approach, which turned out to be a tricky downfall for me, unfortunately. The author utilized the very difficult to manage third person perspective, which unfortunately alienated me from Sethie as our main character. I think it was probably used to further illustrate that emotional disconnect, and I applaud the author for testing the waters and trying something new. Unfortunately, it made the story a bit flat for me. That’s not at all to say that Sethie’s journey wasn’t difficult or painful. Trust me, it was. Sethie is lost in a world of addiction – to control over her eating, manipulative people and validation in all the wrong places. I wanted to feel Sethie’s pain and feel with her. I wanted to want to reach into the novel and comfort her. I feel as though I never really got to know her though. I watched her from afar, but I could never actually empathize with her because it was so very detached. Nor did I find myself connecting with or feeling any emotion towards the secondary characters. The Stone Girl could very well succeed for a vast audience because it is raw, and the story is so withdrawn, but I just couldn’t actually feel it, and that made me struggle.
I do believe there will be a wide audience for The Stone Girl, but it just didn’t tug at my heartstrings enough to draw me in. I give it a 2.5 out of 5, and I’d recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy issue-driven contemporary fiction and third person perspective.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.