November 18

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

Second star to the rightSecond Star to the Right is a fantastically moving book about 14 year old Leslie Hiller. Leslie is a fusspot who continually stresses over her mother being ashamed of her. To take control and to make herself joyful, she chooses to go on a diet. Yet things get out of control when Leslie can’t quit counting calories. She begins consuming less and less, believing that she’ll know when she’s thin enough. But she never feels thin enough. Before long Leslie is hurling whatever she eats, tossing food out of her window and is so depleted there is no way she can bring herself to school. Leslie is mindful that she’s gradually murdering herself and that she needs help, however thinks that it will be difficult to bring herself to eat.

Leslie is referred to medical help, where the medicines and responses to anorexia appear to be extremely dated. It disappointed me so much at whatever point somebody asked Leslie, ‘Would you be able to simply consume a little so you put on weight?’ not understanding there was more to her issue than that.

There is no conclusion to Leslie’s story at the end of the novel, which left me needing to know what happened to her. Generally, however, Second Star to the Right was a decent, and somewhat tragic read. I thought that it was extremely intriguing to see anorexia through the psyche of somebody experiencing it. I would recommend it to teenagers, both girls and boys. Anyone who can relate to it will love it, and will see the true beauty of the meaning of the words. Lily, Year 9

November 4

‘Second star to the right’ By Deborah Hautzig

Second star to the right“‘I won’t be happy till I’m skinny,’ I said to myself, grabbing my skin and letting it fall back to its original place.”

Many young women can relate to this quote, as in the young teen years for girls are hard to see yourself the way you would like too.
This life-changing story is set in New York, in Leslie Hiller’s loving life. Leslie is a fun loving, beautiful and bright 14-year-old girl. She is a perfectionist and when she wants to succeed at something she won’t stop till she has got it. She loves her mother so dearly and has a very close relationship with her. Leslie tries to make her mother proud in everything she does and hates to feel she has disappointed her.
Leslie is just like any normal teenager in New York City; she is strong willed and won’t stop till she gets what she wants, but Leslie starts going on an extreme diet because she feels she is not as stick thin as the other girls at her school. But was it the right thing? Her friends and even her own family are oblivious to what’s going on with Leslie but will they only take notice when it’s too late?
This book is a breath-taking look into the reality of some teenage girls’ lives. I found this book extremely interesting to see what some teenage girls in our society have to go through. I strongly recommend this book to the age group of 13-17 year old teenage girls. I believe this book will help teenage girls prepare them before it’s too late for these young girls in today’s society.

Paris C., Year 9


Meet fourteen year old Leslie Hiller. Leslie is a smart, well adjusted teenage girl living a privileged life in New York City. She lives a normal life, attends school and like most girls her age, wishes to be perfect and will go to extreme lengths to achieve it. Leslie has exemplary grades, ideal friends and an unrivalled life, a loving mother and father, younger brother Sam, and a best friend named Cavett.

Everything is perfect in her life except for one thing: Leslie has the overwhelming desire to be thinner. After accidentally losing weight due to having the flu, she realises losing weight is easier than she had originally thought out to be. She decides to start an intense diet to achieve her goals of being ten pounds thinner. Being the perfectionist girl that she is, she loses the weight but still finds herself unhappy with how she looks. Because of this, she decides to take her dieting to life-threatening extremes and slowly starts to lose control over everything. Her family and friends start to notice her strange eating habits and low self-esteem. They would soon become very concerned for Leslie’s wellbeing.

Further on in the novel, Leslie is professionally diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, a life threatening mental illness.

I appreciated this book because teens can relate to the theme of wanting to lose weight, being as perfect as they can be and being generally unhappy with their body image. This book can also be used as an exemplary case to observe the severe consequences of an eating disorder on one’s body, mind and others around them.

If you enjoy books that’ll yank heartstrings, place you on a walloping emotional roller coaster and leave you teary-eyed, then I would personally recommend this book to a teen audience, because they would relate more to this book than any other age group in particular. I rate this book an 8 out of 10 stars.

Heather, Year 9


Second Star to the Right by Deborah Hautzig is a truthful, powerful book that shows us the life of an anorexic teenage girl, Leslie Hiller. The book is based on the author’s own experience with anorexia. She presents the theme of anorexia through Leslie’s life truthfully.


Leslie was an everyday teenage girl who has a somewhat perfect life, with a loving family and good friends. The only problem was that she needed to lose a little bit of weight. She decided to go on a diet, and lost some weight. Everyone complimented her and congratulated her on her accomplishment, and this made her happy. As she continued on with her diet, her mind slowly started convincing itself that she needed to be thin to be happy, and the thinner she was, the happier she’d be. She lessens her eating to almost nothing. Her mind is convinced that she shouldn’t eat. Days and months pass, and Leslie is only getting thinner; so thin that people don’t even recognize her. By this time, she was extremely weak, physically and mentally. She starts questioning everything that happens and turns it into a negative. By this stage, she was withering away to nothing. Only a thin line separates her from life and death, and only her will and mental strength can bring her back to life.


A strong positive point of the book is that it’s extremely easy to relate to. The concept of losing weight is common among us and many of us have once attempted to, or have gone on a diet. This is something that most of us can relate to. The fact that we can relate to the story makes us want to read the story more. The tragedy of the story also keeps us hooked. At many points, the words were so strong that Leslie was able to connect with me and I was drawn into the story. Things like this makes the story stick with you for a long time.


However, the book isn’t perfect and has a few flaws. At some points, there seemed to be too many words to explain simple things, and the vocabulary used could’ve been better. Moments like these interrupt the flow of the story and make it not as enjoyable. The story at the start also progressed very slowly. The story could’ve been more gratifying if it didn’t beat around the bush so much.


Aside from these flaws, I found the book very enjoyable and a great quick read. I believe most mature people can enjoy the story and truly understand much more about anorexia, but I would definitely recommend it to teenage girls that are aged 10-16, as they would be able to completely relate to the emotions of the story. I would rate it 8/10, because while the story was powerful and heart touching, it certainly could’ve been improved easily with better wording and vocabulary.

Terina, Year 9

October 23

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

 Skin    “You don’t have to be thin to feel small”.

      Donnie is a regular thirteen-year-old boy; apart from the fact that his sister, Karen is withering away into nothing and the pressures of his sister’s illness are crushing his parents’ marriage. A typical teenage trouble story, except not so typical.

     As Karen slips into the abyss of the anorexia that could claim her life at any moment, Donnie starts to feel more alone then ever. His parents don’t see him anymore; they only see Karen and Donnie starts to feel like he is walking on this Earth for no particular reason. He starts to feel like he is worth nothing and that no one will really miss him if he leaves. However, things starts looking up for Donnie when he meets some of the best friends he will probably ever have: Sheila and Rodney. Unfortunately, Donnie can’t appreciate their friendship while his sister is about to snap.

     The story is very engaging and keeps you on your toes, not knowing what will happen next. However, by reading the book, you begin to understand Donnie and think up advice for him, spending almost all of the time in his thoughts. You want to help him solve his problems as a friend would.

     The storyline is quite difficult to follow in the beginning, where the author changes the time setting quite frequently, but as the plot progresses it becomes a very effective and unique way to lay out the story. Donnie continues to struggle along and tries to pick up the pieces of his somewhat broken life and begins to realise there is not much he can do to help his sister – she is the only one who can help that.

     If you have previously enjoyed teenage drama novels you will most definitely take something meaningful away from this book. Personally, I believe it is a story that all teenage girls should read. Skin, four and a half stars.

Anna. A, Year 9.


She was dying to be thin. He was struggling to survive.

The novel Skin written by Adrienne Maria Vrettos is a story about a family that is afflicted with many problems: health, relationships and even in this case, life.

     Karen, a 16-year-old girl, has an eating disorder because she has been verbally bullied at school, being called fat. Donnie, her younger brother, who isn’t very popular at school, is struggling with the situation that Karen is in. Donnie and Karen’s parents are also struggling with not only keeping their relationship alive but also they are worrying that both their children are slowly slipping away. Can their family survive? Can Karen start eating again? Can Donnie find his true self again?

     Since the day at school where Karen was called ‘fat’, everything changed. She did anything to be thin. Every day Karen just fell apart more and more, and every day she ate less and less. She was dying not only mentally but also physically and no one could do anything about it. Donnie was really struggling with Karen’s illness. He was not only losing his big sister; he was also losing himself. He tried to do the only thing that he knew he could do and that was to try to fix things, but in the end he tried so hard to help Karen that she started to push him away. Then Donnie couldn’t even help himself. Karen got worse; she made several trips to the hospital and each day she got thinner and thinner.

     I really liked the book Skin because it relates to teenagers these days and it’s a very interesting and enjoyable read. It’s a book that once you start reading you don’t want to stop because you want to find out what’s going to happen to Karen. Skin really gets you thinking about how to treat people and it leaves us with the thought that one little word can affect somebody’s life in so many different ways. It doesn’t just affect the one person — it affects their whole family. Skin is probably most relevant to the ages of 13-19 as they are the ages when some girls or boys go through anorexia or mental illness. It’s so easy to read and I think that people should read it as it relates to quite a few people and perhaps people might learn a lesson and watch what they say. Karleigh, Year 9.


     “She was dying to be thin, he was struggling to survive”.

     Do you desire reading a book that will twist your emotions, a book that will continue to have a twist around every corner? Then it is highly recommended that “Skin” by Maria Vrettos is the book for you!

     Young 16 year old Karen had the burden of needing to feel thin, with many people telling her that she was “fat” and out of place. The novel is told from the perspective of her younger brother, Donnie. Donnie and Karen had their ups and downs in their brother and sister relationship. The tragic event of Karen’s anorexia, and the state that Donnie finds her insends Donnie into shock and takes the reader on a journey through his imagination and memories of him and his big sister.

     I enjoyed the book “Skin” by Maria Vrettos because it relates to today’s society and there is so much intensity with problems occurring throughout the book. The reader is always kept excited and the tension grows as the chapters go on. This book will keep you wanting to continue reading and never stop. With its twists and turns, “Skin” is definitely one book that will be enjoyed greatly.

     It is recommended that the book “Skin” by Maria Vrettos would be enjoyed by all readers but in particular teenagers, both boys and girls, as anorexia and self doubt are extremely common to12-19 year old girls such as Karen. These are the age groups that are told they need to fit in and these are the age groups that feel they need to be perfect to fit in. Although 12-19 would be a great age group, any ages would enjoy this edgy, traumatic and emotional true experience of the lives of two young brothers and sisters.

Ashley, Year 9

May 31

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

Second star to the rightMeet Leslie Hiller. Leslie is fit 14-year-old girl, who has supportive friends and family, but despite her health and loving environment, Leslie is still convinced that her life would be absolutely perfect if she was thin. She says, ‘I want to be a skeleton- but I also want to be attractive. I want to die- but I also want to live’.


Soon, Leslie started her weight loss journey, trying to lose a few kilograms and going on a strict diet. This only gets her parents worried. Leslie maintains her routine for a little bit, but becomes too busy to eat. The next time Leslie got on the scales she has dropped down to scary numbers. Her family and friends begin to notice Leslie's thin and under weight figure. Leslie takes no notice in her appearance and keeps losing weight… It is not long before Leslie is in a critical condition in hospital.


This novel is engaging and grabbing. It portrays emotion in the most beautiful way. I would recommend this book to teenagers and young adults from the age of 13 to 18 because the age level of most of the characters is between these ages. This book would definitely suit you if you like reading books that tug on your heartstrings. So if you want to find out if Leslie can regain her lost weight before losing herself completely, then this is the book for you!

     Victoria, Year 8


Would you go to extreme, fatal lengths just to be ‘perfect’?


“I want to be a skeleton, but I also want to be attractive. I want to die, but I also want to live.”

     Leslie is a normal 14-year-old girl who is still a little unsure of herself. She has a little brother, a loving mum and dad, and a very caring best friend. One day Leslie has this urging desire to be ‘skinny’. “If I were thin, my life would be perfect”, she thinks. Through the novel Leslie battles a severe case of anorexia.       Leslie’s life dramatically changes for the worse, she is very underweight and her friends and teachers start to really be concerned about her. Convincing herself she’s fine Leslie still doesn't eat much and tries to lose weight but her body just can’t handle it.

     She goes through battles with a voice in her head telling her to keep losing weight while everyone else is  telling her to gain it. Will Leslie save herself or let the voice take over her before it’s too late?

     This is a compelling novel for girls between the ages of 12 and 18 looking for an intriguing story of fear, heart and mind, real life complications, and adventure. It is a great read and will give you a new perspective of life and what you can do to make it worth living.

     Sophie, Year 8


May 30

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

Skin     “She was dying to be thin, he was struggling to survive.”

     The novel Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos is a true and shocking experience of a young 16-year-old girl named Karen who unfortunately turns sick and anorexic, but is she able to survive the struggle and starving that she is giving herself?

     After Karen gets called ‘fat’ at school, nothing can stop her from losing weight. This is her choice, and what she wants to do. But the rest of her family can’t stand seeing their causing herself this much pain, especially when her parents have to run her to hospital several times.

     A new girl Karen’s age moved into their street one day named Amanda. Amanda becomes Karen’s new best friend who she can tell everything to, but Karen starts making up excuses saying that she has already eaten when it comes to any eating time in the LePlant’s household.        

     Karen’s younger brother Donnie, who is only in the eighth grade, can’t help but worry about his sister all day long every day. Donnie feels that he is disappearing in the process of trying to help his sister. Karen and Donnie’s parents are slowly separating from each other. Every night karen and Donnie sit outside on the front porch because they can’t stand seeing their parents fight like they do. To top all this off Donnie spreads a rumor around at his school about Amanda.

     I know what you are thinking: ‘How much more can this family take?’

     If you love edgy, true novels, then ‘Skin’ is the book for you! I recommend this book to teens from about the age of 12 (start of high school) to the end of Year 12.

Montana J., Year 8 


     Every minute, every second, every hour, every day goes by. She becomes skinnier and skinnier. The clear outline of her ribs can be seen through the thin layer of skin covering her bones. “I’m fat” are the words continuously playing over and over in her head.

     Donnie’s sister Karen is becoming very sick, his family is falling apart, and he starts a rumor that people find out isn’t true, and he becomes all alone. Donnie tries to fix things, and make things better, but does he make things better or worse?

     Do you like stories based on problems that happen in society today? Well, the book Skin by Maria Vrettos is definitely the book for you.

     On the outside she has a smile on her face but underneath her clothes she’s falling apart. She’s falling apart mentally and physically.

     Nothing, absolutely NOTHING will stop her from losing weight. It’s all she wants to do. The family is traumatized by the fact that she is doing this to herself. What can Karen’s best friend Amanda do to help? Amanda only just moved next door to Donnie and Karen and didn’t expect anything like this to happen. Amanda didn’t want too tell anyone, so she kept it all to herself, but was it the right thing to do by not telling anyone?

     I liked the book Skin by Maria Vrettos. I thought it was a great story as it related to anorexia, and anorexia is a common problem today in society. The story showed that a teenage girl doing simple things could affect a whole family and change the atmosphere of everything. As was shown in the story, Karen’s family did care for her. They wanted what was best for her. People need to realize that people out there do care, so you should always tell someone.

     Skin is a great book because some teenage girls can look up to this book and see what can really happen if you do suffer from anorexia. I think this book is aimed at teenage girls aged 11-18 because they are the main age group to suffer from anorexia. I was very engaged to this book, and never wanted to put it down. The book went into a lot of details and used many adjectives. It felt like I was in the book and was there when everything was happening! Jacinta, Year 8.

October 31

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

Have you ever felt like your life wouldn’t be perfect unless you were happy with yourself and you were more confident? Second Star to the Right is a good book to read if you like reading true stories about real problems people face.

Leslie Hiller has a perfect life. She has a loving family, she has a new best friend, she’s smart and talented. But one problem is she hates her appearance and considers herself fat. She has this fantasy in her head that if she goes on a diet and loses a few pounds she will be happy. After a while she is addicted to dieting and starts losing too much weight, which can be considered unhealthy. Throughout the diet and all the weight she has lost she still feels fat and unhappy with her appearance. Will she continue listening to her ‘dictator’ and continue not eating and let anorexia slowly kill her or will she listen to her friends and family who are worried about her and start gaining weight and on the road to recovery.

Personally I didn’t enjoy this book. I couldn’t get into it and it confused me at times. But it gives you insight and helps you learn about the problems that can come with over-dieting and anorexia and the effects that it has on the people around you. If you like true meaningful stories then this is the book for you.

Mallory, Year 9


Anorexia nevosa. It’s a condition that is developing all around the world in young teenagers. But do we really know how it all starts? ‘Second star to the right’ is a novel that takes us on the ride of having anorexia. If you are interested in gripping real life stories then this is the book for you!

Leslie Hiller is an ordinary girl with a loving family who has recently become best friends with Cavett. Leslie’s mother is kind, caring and loves Leslie to the moon and back. Her father teaches piano to students for a living and also taught Leslie. And Leslie is a talented young teenager with a wonderful life.  But to her, life isn’t as perfect as it seems. She isn’t thin enough even though her weight is average for her age and height. Leslie at one point comes down with a cold and as an after effect, loses a lot of weight. This was the starting point for her ‘diet’. This included eating next to no food, and the food she did eat, she vomited it back up again.

Second Star to the right’ showed me what anorexia was really like and showed me how the disease can get out of control. I thought the book was a little sad and upsetting, a bit confronting and hard to read at times but it was an adequate book.

I recommend this book to teen girls between the ages 13 and 17 who enjoy reading novels based real life events. This book is an interesting read. It is informative in an unfortunate but credible way and I recommend girl read this book to show how easily just losing that extra few pounds can transform into anorexia nervosa. I rate this book, 2 out of 5 stars.

Kemi, Year 9


This book is about a normal 14 year old girl called Leslie. After Leslie changes school to get a new start, she realises that she still isn’t happy. After realising she isn’t happy, she believes its her weight that’s the problem.

Leslie starts to eat less at the start and watches what she eats, then she starts to eat less and less and then she starts to only eat a pack of gum a day and then one day her friend asks for a piece of gum and Leslie gives her the rest of the packet. After that day she doesn’t eat anything. Her parents worry about her, so they send her to get help.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as some people would because I would rather read a romance novel and this book is about a real life situation which is very serious and dangerous. People should be aware that people are actually starving themselves daily because they hate the way they look. In conclusion, if you think you would like to read this book, then read it. Maybe you would get a better perspective about anorexia and feel differently about that situation.

Crystal, Year 9


“I want to be a skeleton – but I also want to be attractive. I want to die – but I also want to live.” (Back Cover).

Have you ever wondered what you would be thinking if you had a sickness like anorexia? Well, this book is right up your alley.

Leslie Hiller is a typical girl who changes schools in the fall and knows absolutely no one. Her mother is a stay-at-home mum and her father owns his own piano shop and is a professional pianist. Everyone thinks Leslie is a really talented girl because of her father, but to Leslie, she just feels like she is strange and doesn’t fit in. One day, Leslie finds a girl at her school called Cavett, and they became really good friends. Just as Leslie started to settle into her new school, the school dance was held. She was dreading going to the school dance, but her mum made her go so she could socialise with her new classmates more. So off Leslie went. At the school dance, Leslie felt like everyone was looking at her strange and she didn’t now why. This is where it all went wrong! This is where the real story begins…

Second Star To The Right’ is set in New York City and ventures out to all suburbs around it and to the world famous Central Park. I would give this book 2 stars out of 5 because I felt like it was quite confusing and you couldn’t fully comprehend what was happening at a particular time. To me, I felt like this book was hard to read at times and was quite confusing because it kept changing from Leslie talking, to what Leslie was thinking inside her head. I recommend this book to girls aged 13 and over because I felt like it relates to teenage girls, with the changing of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally.

Lauren, Year 9


“God gave a loaf to every bird,

But just a crumb to me;

I dare not eat it, though I starve – “


‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig is a story is about an adolescent girl who feels like she has no control over herself or her eating and feels like the only way she can control it is by purposely hurting herself through making herself sick. This book allows us to look at the illness of bulimia and understand the struggles that these adolescents go through.  I didn’t enjoy this book, as I couldn’t connect with the characters or the storyline and rate it a 3 out of 5. I would recommend this book to girls aged between 14 -18 who like more real life stories.

Rebeccah Year 9

October 31

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

“…she was dying to be thin. He was struggling to survive.” 

This is the blurb from the front cover of the novel Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos. It expresses how Donnie, Karen’s younger brother,  struggles with his sister’s illness and the alienation he feels within his family. The story starts off revealing the ending, and goes back to where all of the drama started: gossiping, bulling at school, parents fighting and Donnie’s sister Karen suffering from anorexia.  Donnie and Karen come from a suburban, middle class family in America. Through the story they go to many different places, such as school, home and on a camping holiday.

The story is told through Donnie’s eyes, even though it is based on Karen’s illness. Putting that aside, Donnie has many other problems in his life that contribute to how he feels alienated, and ignored. His friends at school make fun of him, and only stay around when they feel like it, his parents continuously fight, which also affects the relationships he has at home.  Karen has similar problems, but she is also a moody teenager, which can also affect the household. Karen has a best friend who is also a huge part of this novel.

Overall, Skin is an excellent book for teenage girls. It shows how anorexia can affect not only you, but everyone around you in a horrible way. The emotions shown through this book are just amazing and it really gets you thinking about how other people have problems, how people suffer from the actions of others, and most importantly… how there will always be help for you. You just need to learn how to accept it.

Michelle, Year 9


“These are the things you think of when you come home to find that your sister has starved herself to death:1. My sister is flat like a board.2. When I scream in my sister’s name in her face, I can hear my father’s voice in my own.3. Where is it you’re supposed to press? In the middle, on the side? Left or right?”

This story opens with a young boy called Donnie who comes home to find that his sister Karen has starved herself to death.  He goes back from the start of the story when Karen stops eating and tells the long painful journey he and his family went through to try and save her.  The beginning of the story is sad but intriguing. It shocks you so you will keep reading.  It is about a girl and her brother in a bad stage in life.  Their parents are fighting every day and all they can do is sit outside and wait for them to finish fighting.  As things get worse, so does Karen. She is now starving herself and doesn’t realize how bad she is getting even though she discusses it with her new neighbour Amanda.  Donnie tries his hardest to keep her at a normal weight. He does everything he can, but as time goes by things just get worse and worse.  One of the key scenes in this book is when Donnie finds Karen’s food journal.  This scene is important because it changes the way Donnie sees his sister.

This book can help you learn about yourself in the way that you don’t just take life for granted.  It gives you insight about human behaviour. Anorexia is a mental illness and by reading this book it will give you a perspective from how every character is feeling.  I think you would like this book if you were a teen because this is the most common age for people to go through this experience.  I rate this book 5 stars as it is a good book and gives you an insight into how bad anorexia is from somebody else’s perspective. Tia, year 9


Would you die to be thin?

I really loved Skin. It was one of the best books I have read. The main characters in this book are Donnie and Karen. Donnie is 14 and always worries about everything whereas Karen is 16 and is dying to be thin.

The plot of this story is mainly that Donnie’s life is unravelling. His parents’ marriage is falling apart, and his sister is slowing rejecting him due to her illness. But Donnie being Donnie does the only thing he know how to do: fix things up and return them to how they used to be, his parents loving each other, Karen always caring about herself and Donnie. This will be hard for Donnie because he will have to stop looking at the past and move forward to start his life again.

I liked this book because it relates to teenagers and how they would react to things in modern society. The story is set in a city and is based on the sister’s anorexia.

I would recommend this book to females aged 12-17 as it addresses anorexia and this generally concerns girls. This novel is a realistic fiction, meaning it can happen to anyone but it is not true.

Morgan Year 9.


May 2

‘Skin’ By Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I don’t really like to read. Actually, I never used to read at all, but since I got the book Skin I have learned a lot about reading and now I love to read every night.

This book is for all teenagers out there, but mostly teenage girls. Karen is suffering from anorexia. She got called ‘curvy’ and ever since she has been starving herself just to be thin. It starts to get way out of hand and that’s where the boys come in. Donnie is Karen’s brother and he tries to help all he can but it just doesn’t work. He is getting picked on at school and does nothing about it. My friends and I have all got a good opinion about this book not only because it’s interesting but also because we can relate to the story in some way.

This book isn’t the best for all ages only because the vocabulary isn’t what you would find in an everyday book, but I highly recommend this edgy, funny and amazingly interesting book to teens of the ages 11-18. It is a great book for readers who are into heart ache, teenage drama and a bit of a laugh as well. This book will definitely make you want to read more and I would rate it 9 out of 10.

By Emalisha S, Year 8.


‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I am the type of person, that if you asked me to read you’d have to force me, but when I started to read ‘Skin’ I realized that I loved reading amazing books like Skin.

This book is directed at pre-teen boys and teenage girls who are experiencing issues with their parents. Lots of my friends have already read it and when I read it, I was amazed at how it was set out. After we had all read it, we all agreed it was the best book ever. The main characters are Donny, Karen, their mum and dad and their neighbours. Donny, who is a ten-year-old boy, experiences a lot of problems such as bullying, friendship issues and anger issues at his school with his sister Karen.

I liked this book because there are so many situations that I relate to like friends teasing and parent issues.

I would recommend this book to both genders that are aged from 11-19, for the words are suited to these ages. Problems that occur in this book usually happen to these ages.

Therefore I give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating. This book is amazing and I hope you take my advice and get into reading ‘Skin’ the amazing action packed, thrilling adventure book.

By Couper T, Year 8.


Skin, by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I am not somebody that likes to read… but since I have started to read Skin I have enjoyed reading a lot more.

When someone asks me to read a book, I wouldn’t start reading it until I was a little bit behind. Since I started reading Skin, I have been reading a lot more than I used to. Skin is a really good book. It makes me want to read almost every night. I enjoy reading Skin because it’s an interesting book, it’s edgy and at times it’s really funny.

Skin has to be one of my most favourite books I have ever read. It has so many funny parts in it. It is just like a normal family going through a crisis in their lives. I have learnt that everybody has their ups and downs. The book has so many things in it that I can relate to.

It’s about a family that goes on a summer trip and brings a friend along. As the summer comes to an end, the drama that they wanted to leave at home starts to happen all over again.

Karen, has a brother named Donnie, Donnie has been getting picked on at school and is finding it really hard to stay happy at school and at home. Donnie meets Karen’s friend Amanda. Amanda and Donnie get along really well and they have the best summer ever, Donnie starts to think that his life is going to get better… until they all arrive home. When Donnie has to go back to school all of his friends start a big rumour, and Donnie is struggling all over again. Karen gets really sick and it causes the family to start breaking apart. Amanda moves to another country and now they don’t see Amanda at all.

Karen’s condition starts to get worse, and the book just keeps getting better. This book has to be one of my favourite books EVER. This book is probably not suitable for people under the age of 11. I recommend it as a funny, edgy and interesting book for people from ages 11-18. I really enjoyed this book. It made me want to keep reading it. This is a book for people who like to read about what life can become when you are a teenager… the vocabulary is not quite what you would find in an everyday book. But I still really enjoyed this book and I recommend this book for both boys and girls.

By Kyra F, Year 8

October 24

‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

“…I put the heels of my hands, one on top of the other on Karen’s chest. I can’t feel her ribs under the thick of her too-small sweater…” 

Donnie, a young 14 year-old boy has a dysfunctional family. His parents are constantly yelling at each other. His sister, Karen, who is 16, is anorexic and is forever storming around swearing. Donnie is feeling more invisible as each day passes by. He suffers from ear infections and is the outcast at school. I recommend that students from the age of 14 and up should be allowed to read this novel.

This book is rather interesting; once you start reading, it’s quite hard to stop. Although the story is truly hard to understand, reading it twice can really get your head around it. I personally think this novel has a moral to it, that going through the disease anorexia can be somewhat challenging, but there will always be someone with you by your side through every step to get you better. This novel is demonstrating reality; that some families truly are like Donnie and Karen’s. This type of drama actually happens in real life.       

Maryann, Year 9


I have not yet finished ‘Skin’ by Adrienne Maria Vrettos, but from what I have read, it is the type of book that makes you want to keep reading in anticipation to find out what happens next. It is a good book- well written and planned out, although I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers. I would more recommend this bookf or readers of ages 13-16, as the idea of anorexia- although very real- may frighten younger children, and some older readers may find it a little under their reading level and not as interesting as for young to mid teenagers.
On a scale of 1-10, based on what I have read so far, I would give Skin a 7. There are a few things missing from the story which I generally like in a book. If I don’t like a book at first, I generally tend to slacken off with reading it.
The beginning of the book was very complicated to understand as it came out of nowhere and had no beginning or no end. This could leave a reader not wanting to read more, because generally, if you don’t understand the first part of the book, you get lost thinking about it all during the book.
So far in the book, my judgments tell me that things are not going too well with Karen, as she struggles with accepting her body image, which makes the book more appealing to teenagers, as eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are very real and more common in female teenagers. Jessica, Year 9


Brothers and sisters can be annoying, but when you start realizing their life is slipping away you will do anything. Donnie is the brother of Karen, who suffers from anorexia. No one notices until it gets to a fatal state. Donnie is in his first grade on middle school and is facing issues with bullying and exclusion from his two best friends. Karen shares an unbreakable friendship with Amanda who just moved in across the street. Amanda has to face humiliation after Donnie spread around rumours about the freaky summer. I was enthralled in the pages of this book and therefore unable to put it down.    Kelseigh, Year 9


13-year-old Donnie has a hard life. His parents are always fighting and he is losing his friend, so he creates a major rumour to keep them close. On top of that Karen his sister has an illness, anorexia, and is slowly slipping away. As time passes by poor young Donnie seems to think that no one cares about him anymore and he seems to become more invisible by the minute.

I think this book is very interesting. It has a good topic and shows all different people’s perspectives on dealing with anorexia. The book keeps me captivated because I know that there are families out there dealing with this as well. It’s directed at the age group from 12-17.  Kayley year 9

October 28

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

“If I where thin my life would be perfect”. Leslie is a young girl who has loving friends and family but something has always been missing for her, the chance to be skinny. It is interesting to learn how Leslie is challenged emotionally and physically from suffering a harsh diet with only a few meals a day. The voice in her head becomes almost empowering to hers and eventually begins to control her body, I have only read half of the book myself but so far the book is very interesting and I would like to continue reading the challenges Leslie faces.  Olivia Year 9

There are many things about this book that I like, and many that I don’t so far, but the first paragraph of this book was at the top of things I did like. The book starts, “It’s hard to know where to begin . . . I wonder if there’s even such a thing as a beginning . . .” Being a story about a girl with an eating disorder, it was interesting that our narrator couldn’t even characterize where or when it began. She carries on describing her life as a typical 14-year-old girl living in New York, meeting a friend called Cavett. However, soon I realized that Leslie is self-conscious with how she looks. “If I were thin, my life would be perfect”. This becomes her main proposal that relates to everything throughout the novel. I think that Ms. Hautzig could have made eating disorders less attractive (possibly by discussing the negative consequences). But at the same time I understand as Deborah wrote this story while she had the disease herself and would have gone through her own crisis. This book takes the reader through Leslie’s mind, thoughts, feelings and her experiences. A deeply moving story that should be read by anyone whose family has been touched by this disease. Cori Year 9

Leslie Hiller is a normal healthy fourteen year old girl. She has just recently moved school and has made a great new friend, Cavett. She has a loving family that would do anything for her and yet she still isn’t happy with her life, well mostly her looks. If she was skinny she thinks everything would be perfect. Starting out on a diet to help her lose weight, she starts pushing the boundaries and starts forcing herself to think food is bad. She messes up her diet and health and as the book goes on she starts to deteriorate and become a different person. Not wanting to give up her new looks now, Leslie will do anything to stay skinny. Kayley Year 9

The book ‘Second Star to the Right’ has a bit of a slow start. The first few chapters of this book were really slow and boring and I didn’t get into it. After those few chapters it started to talk more about what was going on in her head and what she thought of herself and how she thought that she was fat. After it started to talk more about that it became more interesting and it showed how the people around her are trying to help but she keeps pushing them away. Since I have not finished the book I don’t know the ending but I think it is going to be interesting. Bridget Year 9

I only read this book to figure out why it was called ‘Second Star to the Right’ and I never found out why which was rather annoying. This book is about a young girl that always looks in the mirror and says to herself “if only I was skinny I would be pretty” which is not true. To make herself skinny she does not eat and she makes herself sick to throw up any bad food she had just eaten that might make her put on weight. I would recommend this to girls between the ages of 11-17 because they are going through changes and they would mostly understand this book. In my case I did not like this book because I thought it was boring and it didn’t make much sense but others think differently to me. Jordan Year 9

May 5

‘Second Star to the Right’ by Deborah Hautzig

secondstartotherightSo far I am halfway through the book and I think it is a really great book. It is really interesting. The book is about a girl called Leslie. Leslie is an ordinary healthy 14 year old girl. Leslie has it all – a best friend and a mother and father who love her to the moon and back. Leslie should be really happy but there is only one problem: Leslie thinks she is fat. Leslie wants to go on a diet and lose 10 pounds. Her best friend Cavett is supporting her the whole way and trying to let her know that she isn’t fat. Leslie’s parents are trying everything to help Leslie. Michaela, Year 8

Leslie is a normal fourteen year old girl with a mum who loves her to the moon and back and a best friend who is very supportive. Leslie is always thinking and feeling overweight. One day she decides to go on a diet to bring her happiness. But does this diet bring her happiness? And will it ever stop? Based on a real life story this book is an amazing journey through someone’s life.  Alicia, Year 8

At the beginning of the book, Leslie seems like your average girl who’s unhappy about her weight. When you get further, you see that she’s more than unhappy, she has weight issues. Driven by depression, she goes on a maddening diet and almost starves herself to death and continues to think she’s fat. This book is very touching, sad and sickening at the same time. It keeps you interested. I recommend this book for people who enjoy teenage fiction. Amber, Year 8

I’m half way through my book and it’s very interesting. It’s about a 14 year old girl called Leslie and she has anorexia, which means she thinks she is fat but she’s not. She thinks because she is over 100 pounds that she is fat. She tries to lose weight by not eating and being sick. Leslie isn’t very healthy and she has a best friend and her parents that love her to the moon and back. I recommend this book for people who think they are fat but they are skinny. Tia, Year 8