Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dancing With Ana by Nicole Barker

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 170
Genre: Young Adult
Book Source: From author

Beth is a lucky girl... She comes from a loving family. She has three best friends. She loves to surf and lives five minutes from the beach. She also recently discovered that the boy she's grown up with has the most amazing green eyes... Beth has every reason to smile. Every reason to be happy. Every reason to feel blessed.

Then why is she sticking her fingers down her throat?
Dancing With Ana is a touching read told from the heart with a teen voice.

Beth, Rachel, Melanie and Jenny have been best friends since they were little. These normal, very real girls from varying backgrounds struggle with real issues that affect many teens today. They aren't just characters in a book, they could very well be the girls next door. This story is about friendship, not just the girls' friendship but the friendship between Beth and Jeremy which is blossoming into first love. It's about the strength and support of friendship providing a safe harbour from despair.

A gorgeous, popular and thin girl at school becomes the catalyst for the four friends to make a pact to lose weight with an extreme diet. What starts off as just a few pounds, turns into an obsession for Beth and quickly becomes a destructive way for her to gain some control in her emotionally out-of-control life. And so begins the dance with anorexia; not someone in the unrelenting grip of the disease, devoured by the illness but someone who could go either way.

I think Nicole Barker does a wonderful job of capturing youthful essence in this novel. The emotional cost for children of divorce was sensitively and insightfully written and having been through divorce and having teens myself I thought the problems, emotions and actions of the characters were portrayed with honesty & believability. 

A little book with important subject matter, sensitively written.

Thank you to Nicole for my copy of Dancing With Ana.
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This month on The Eclectic Reader you could win Fire by Kristen Cashore OR Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick OR Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Check this blog post for details. International entrants welcome.


  1. Great review, I have this book on my TBR pile, will get to it soon. Sounds like a thought provoking read!

  2. This is a tough topic, but this sounds like a book that mother and daughter (or son) could read together and discuss.

    I don't like the cover, at all.

  3. Hi Teddyree!

    What a hard read, so emotionally draining. Sometimes though, it's a subject that really deserves sunlight, this being one of those times. This is a problem that occurs without social status, it can effect anyone.

    Great review!

    Dottie :)

  4. I am so weary of reading any of the anorexia books. I have been on a diet permanently since I was young, though I have never ventured down the anorexia route, but I can see how some people get so wrapped up in what they eat to do this.

  5. Oh, this sounds good! I'd been turned off by the cover, but your review made me think again. Great post!

  6. Sounds like a book that needs to be read by a teenager with image issues. What a horrible issue it is that has been around for ages. It is sad that some people go through this due to their peers.

  7. I read this book about a month ago and thought it was very well done. Barker is great in how she describes everything. Great review.

  8. Good review Teddy. This is a subject more people should talk about.

  9. Hi all, thanks for your comments.

    This was a really good, quick read, being only 170 pages & it's certainly an issue that really needs to be talked about more.

    But unlike other books I've read (like Wintergirls) this wasn't a depressing, horrific read. The girls dance with anorexia, they haven't completely succumbed to the ravages of the illness and the blossoming love storyline really lightens things and brings hope!

  10. There are so manu great review of this one around...
    Awesome review....adding this to my wishlist!

  11. I have seen this title floating aroud and it does sound good! Thanks for the great review I'll have to try it!

  12. Great review...this is a book I have avoided...the subject matter hits too close to home.

  13. I thought Nicole did very well with the subject matter. It took me some time to figure out who "Ana" was haha that's because I'm a little on the slow side... But I thought it was a wonderful play with words and fit the book perfectly.

    Another great review!


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