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Eating disorder read is a great conversation starter.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The book takes an insider's look at what it means to have an eating disorder. This may help readers recognize the warning signs of this disease.

Positive messages

The struggles and hardships of eating disorders will leave an impact on readers.

Positive role models

Friends and parents of the main character tirelessly work to help Maddie face her illness.


A girl dies from heart failure as a result of anorexia.


SImple boy/girl relationships, one boy describes the kind of girl he likes saying he likes "curves." There are a few instances of innuendo.


Only mild name calling like "stupid," "fat," and "mean."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens drink beer at a party.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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."

Book details

Author:Liane Shaw
Genre:Body Awareness
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Second Story Press
Publication date:September 1, 2009
Number of pages:263
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

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  • Disturbing, lauded eating disorder read; discuss with teens.
  • Gripping anorexia docu; watch with your kids.
  • Fun switcheroo tale is good for gender-role talk.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byFutureMrs.JohnnyDepp August 5, 2010

Great for kids curious about eating disorders.

I enjoyed this book. It's an eye opener for sure. Definitely makes you think. I bought this book and several of my friends have borrowed and read it, everyone so far has enjoyed it. Eating disorders are very serious and this book teaches you about what goes through someone with an ED's mind, I do believe that everyone should read this and see what can happen if you experiment with or have an eating disorder.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 15 years old Written bylilly117 April 7, 2010

Book Is Rewarding, Yet Iffy.

This book is for sure a must read, though like all titles there are somethings that are just plain alarming. The beer at the party is one of them, and so is the reference to curves. Be careful!!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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