A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is discussion of eating disorders, pro-eating disorder websites, and a girl dies from the disease.
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What's the story?
Maddie works hard to be the best but always seems to fall short. She's not the smartest in class or the prettiest, but when she sets out to master the one thing she can control her life begins to spin out of control. After she cuts off friends and family who are unsupportive of her "diet" goals, Maddie finds new friends who understand her and help her on her way to her "thin and beautiful" goal. Will the "Girls without Shadows" site help Maddie realize her dream or will tragedy change her mind?
Is it any good?
Readers will ache for Maddie as they see the horrific and dangerous path laid out in front of her. The author has done an excellent job in showing how easily thoughtless comments and good intentions can affect and destroy a teen's self-esteem. She also captures the emotion, struggle, and image distortion eating disorder sufferers face, as well as the anguish and helplessness those who love them endure.
As a conversation starter, THINANDBEAUTIFUL.COM is better for older tweens/young teens than the lauded and more mature Wintergirls. And with the added online angle, it will also get you talking about dangerous and influential websites.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about feeling good about yourself. What are the things you like most?
How easy is it to set unrealistic expectations for yourself? Where do you think those expectations come from?
Maddie visits a website that encourages her to do more harm to herself. Do you know of real websites like this? Do you think they have a right to exist?
How much do you know about airbrushing? Research what tricks and technology advertisers use to make people look "perfect."