Tag Archives: The Stone Girl

Top Ten Tuesday – September 11, 2012: Top Ten Books That Make You Think

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This Week’s Topic is: Top Ten Books That Make You Think (About The World, People, Life, etc.)

Ooh thought-provoking… Well, I do have to say that I’ve been going for quite a few not-so-serious books within the past few months because well, I’ve just been having fun with reading! Although I do like to read a good, meaningful book every once in a while.

And before we even start, I’m not putting The Fault In Our Stars on my list. Even though I mentioned it. And therefore probably negated leaving it off the list.

Life Issues:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – This one was an easy choice for me! Sometimes I just can’t believe how different things were back then, and at the same time, how it still hasn’t changed in some places. I really loved this story and although it was hard for me to get into at first, I really enjoyed it a lot!

 

 

2. The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel – I actually wasn’t as impressed with this book as I had hoped, but I really did like the overall message and the way everything wrapped up. I also thought it was pretty thought-provoking (for me at least) at how we define eating disorders and how much we may not realize what’s going on with the people around us.

 

 

The “Real” World:

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry – I’ll promote it forever. The Giver is still one of my favorite books of all time. It’s the book that made me question the future, society, the people around us, and so much more at a young age. And of course what fueled my current love for dystopians, but that’s another topic…

 

 

4. Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Similar to The Giver, this was another book from my childhood that really got me thinking. Things are not always as they seem! What else don’t I know about the world around me?

 

 

Loss:

5. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – Oh boy. This book made me cry a little. How would I feel if I was Lennie? If my best friend – my older sister – died out of nowhere? Gosh, it’s just a scary, scary thought!

 

 

 

6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman – Same as The Sky Is Everywhere. It’s an intense story and really made me look at my family and realize you have to make the most of your relationships because you never know when they’re going to get swept away from you.

 

 

7. One Moment by Kristina McBride – Same as above!

 

 

 

 

What if I had powers…?

8. The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – Let’s face it. Ever since reading Harry Potter, being a witch has had a way more positive connotation. And honestly, who DOESN’T want magical powers?? If only I weren’t a Muggle… Sigh.

 

9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – How sweet would that be? I would love to be a Grisha! Wielding all sorts of powers…

 

 

 

 

Without Love…

10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Still one of my favorite books, and how creepy at the same time. I think I’d be with Lena!

 

 

The Stone Girl Blog Tour: Interview with Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Today at The Book Addict’s Guide is my stop on the blog tour for THE STONE GIRL by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. I was lucky enough to be approached to be part of the tour as well as interview Alyssa and post a quick review.

Before we launch into the interview, here’s a little more info on THE STONE GIRL:

Synopsis (from RandomHouse.com): 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.

bookreview1

Alyssa Sheinmel gives us an extremely realistic story of a girl already in the midst of struggling with her body image and is progressing further into the realm of eating disorders. Sethie’s story is both touching and alarming – We really get to see inside of her life as her obsession with her weight slowly takes priority and she loses touch with all of the other things in her life: her boyfriend, her friends, her mom, her schoolwork.
One of the main focuses, which I enjoyed, was seeing the ups and downs of the relationships that Sethie makes and loses throughout the story. Right from the start we see her struggling with Shaw, we see her make a new best friend in Janey (who I was skeptical of at first, but ended up really loving), and shut out her mom who is her only parent. I think we see the most how Sethie’s obsession with her weight really controls her by how it affects her relationships. She really starts to withdraw from her everyday life because it’s too hard to keep all of it a secret once people start to get close.
I was actually a little bit glad to see this story because even though it’s quite serious, I think it’s an issue that a lot of young girls are dealing with and they may be able to see themselves in Sethie’s character. We do see a lot of the dark side of Sethie’s struggle and turmoil, but in the end I think the reader gets a positive message and for those who relate to the story, they learn that it’s okay to let people in and ask for help.
I really enjoyed how THE STONE GIRL concluded and it left me with a lot of hope and a soft spot in my heart for all of these characters.

Alyssa B. Sheinmel was kind enough to grant me an interview as we talk about THE STONE GIRL and how Sethie’s story came to be:

THE STONE GIRL is definitely a very gritty and realistic view of the side of teenage life that often goes untold due to its sensitive nature. How did you decide to share Sethie’s story with us?
AS: Honestly, this wasn’t a book that I wanted to write.  But, I guess I always knew that I would end up writing a book that dealt in some way with eating disorders whether I wanted to or not, since there was a time when body-obsession was a big part of my own life.  Once I got the idea for The Stone Girl, once an image of Sethie popped into my head, I couldn’t keep myself from telling her story.


The descriptions of what Sethie puts herself through — both physically and mentally — is just heartbreaking to read and I really felt her struggle. Was it hard for you to write?
AS: It was; this book was harder for me to write than anything I’d written before.  In order to write the book, I had to go back to the places I’d carved out for myself when I was at my most body-obsessed.  Sometimes I was scared that I would get lost in those places; sometimes I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to get to them at all, since I’m so far from them now.  But they were right back where I left them, and fortunately, they weren’t difficult to leave behind.


Even though we go through quite a difficult journey with Sethie, I think that the readers end up with a positive message at the end and one of hope. What’s the main idea you really want readers to take away from Sethie’s story in THE STONE GIRL?
AS: I’m not sure I really can say what I’d like readers to take away from one of my books – I feel like that part happens long after the book is out of my hands.  I do hope that Sethie’s story provides a little bit of insight into eating disorders for readers who’ve never experienced the diseases themselves.  And, I hope that readers who have struggled with the disease find a character they can relate to, one who might make them feel less alone.  I tried to end the story in a hopeful place, though not a simple one; Sethie has a lot of work to do, and it may take her a long time to be healthy.  Most of all, I hope that readers will feel that I’ve told Sethie’s story honestly and truly, a tale of one girl’s experiences.


I think one of my favorite characters was Janey. I love the way she matured throughout the book and turned into so much more than the person we first met. Was her character influenced by anyone in your life?
AS: Janey was a bit of an amalgam of girls I knew in high school in college.  I think sometimes our friends – even our best friends – can harm us without meaning to.  It was a friend who taught me how to make myself throw up, just as Janey taught Sethie.  My friend thought she was helping me, just as Janey thought she was helping Sethie.  Certainly, Janey never meant to hurt Sethie; she truly loves her best friend.  Friendships can be so complicated in that respect – we can hurt each other when we least intend it – and I wanted to show that dynamic between Sethie and Janey.

I know that this was your first book written in the third person (with The Beautiful Between and The Lucky Kind narrated in the first person). How did you end up deciding not having Sethie narrate her story to us?
AS: Honestly, this was just the voice that popped into my head when I began thinking about this story.  I do really love writing in the third person, though; I think there are things you can say in the third person that you just can’t say in the first.

And now The Book Addict’s Guide’s “A little less serious and a little more fun” Quick Bookish Q&A!

Where is your favorite place to read/write?
AS: I’m so boring – at my desk. 

Are there any authors you’re dying to meet?
AS: So many!  I’ve actually gotten to meet two of my very favorites – Alice Hoffman and Joan Didion – but I would love, love, love the chance to sit down and have a real conversation with each of them.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
AS: That is a totally impossible question to answer!  I cannot possibly pick just one!

Who’s your biggest literary crush?
AS: Ernest Hemingway.

Who’s your favorite literary villain?
AS: Mr. Wickham.

Romance or Sci-fi?
AS: Sci-fi.

Paperback/Hardcover/eBook/Audiobook?
AS: Paperback or hardcover.

A really big thanks to Alyssa B. Sheinmel for the interview! Some really beautiful answers and it was so great to get to know a little more behind the book. Also thank you again for having me be a part of the blog tour!  

THE STONE GIRL comes out on August 28, 2012 and is now available for pre-order. Check out Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or support your local independent bookstore if they have a copy!

Here’s where you can find out more info on Alyssa & THE STONE GIRL:

The Stone Girl – Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Title: The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publishing Info: August 6, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Contemporary, Psych/Mental Health, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: July 22, 2012
Related Posts: Second Star

    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.

Breaking It Down Further: The pressure is getting to Sethie. The skinny girls at her school, treading carefully around her boyfriend (boyfriend?) Shaw, and her mom who has always been skinny. She’s minimlalized her food intake and has discovered how to force herself to throw up to purge the food she’s already eaten. She’s determined to stick close to her ideal weight, a thought that takes control of her everyday life. But that’s not Sethie’s main focus. She’s having fun being a teenager – meeting new friends, hanging out with her boyfriend Shaw, and going to school like a regular girl. She doesn’t realize just how seriously her eating issues are affecting her life.

bookreview1

Alyssa Sheinmel gives us an extremely realistic story of a girl already in the midst of struggling with her body image and is progressing further into the realm of eating disorders. In a lot of ways, I really connected with the book in the fact that this was an extremely relevant issue in my teen years and I saw so many parallels between people in my life in high school and Sethie in Sheinmel’s story. Unfortunately it really is a big issue – one I personally think is only getting worse amongst young girls and teens – and I really liked how the book posed an interesting question that I began wondering as I was reading. Sethie’s of average height (I think she was somewhere between 5’4″ and 5’6″? Can’t exactly remember) and her ideal weight is 111 lbs. She’s constantly starving herself to get there, but she is still eating. Small portions here and there, every once in a while a full meal when she has to — And I began to wonder, at what point do we call this anorexia? At what point is it a full on diagnosed eating disorder? Even though she’s not so skinny that it’s dangerous to her health and it hasn’t started to affect other physical aspects of her body, is that behavior enough to warrant the title of an eating disorder?

As I kept reading, it’s clear that even though people may not notice the physical signs as much, Sethie is doing her body major harm by starving herself and even worse, we start to see her mental state deteriorating. The more pressure she puts on herself to not eat, stay skinny, lose even more weight, the more we see the stress taking its toll on her. She stops caring about her once good grades. She starts to purge the food she just ate, even if only a little. She stops communicating with her mother, who is her only parent as a single mom. It’s affecting her friendships. She’s so focused on her eating habits that she doesn’t even realize the coldness and emotional gap that exists between her and her boyfriend Shaw.

Even though this was an extremely serious topic, I’m glad that we did come out with a lot of positive messages from the book. Sethie has to take a look back at herself and see what she’s doing. She has friends who are there to support her and help her when she’s struggling the most. There are some upsides to such a dark topic!

As far as the book itself goes and the styles, I really wasn’t thrilled with the use of the third person. As I was reading up on the book, I read that this was Alyssa Sheinmel’s first book in the third person and I really wondered why. To me, I think the first person — getting the story straight from Sethie’s head — would have been so much more effective and brought so much more emotion, personal struggle, turmoil, joy, fear, hope, etc into the book. Throughout the first half, I felt so disconnected from all of the characters, so I was very happy that in the second half, I finally started to make connections and they finally started to come to life instead of just being words on a page.

I think a big part of that “transformation” was the development of Janey’s character. Sethie meets Janey through her boyfriend/non-boyfriend Shaw and they spend most of their time at Janey’s because they spend so much time traveling internationally. At first I thought Janey was going to be a shallow character and a bad influence for Sethie, but the more we get to know about her, the more I began to like her and realize that she was just the friend Sethie needed at this point in her life. She was relaxed and mostly non-judgemental, but she was tough and able to see past the flimsy act that Sethie put on regarding her issues. I really think that Janey was one of my favorite characters and really pulled the whole story together for me. I also really liked the addition of Ben’s character, which I won’t say too much about so as not to cause any spoilers. He was another person who arrived in Sethie’s life at just the right time and had just the perfect demeanor to bring a really positive note to the book.

addiction_factor1Library Read

I really liked the way the book ended. That being said, I didn’t really really care for the beginning. I didn’t connect with any character or feel much emotion until halfway through. Up until then it just felt so impersonal, especially with the use of the third person.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE STONE GIRL

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