Sunday, September 06, 2009

Day 273 - Dancing With Ana

Dancing With Ana
Nicole Barker

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: August 2009

Pages: 240

My Rating: 3.25/5


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?

Sixteen year old Beth Baxter’s life merely resembles the one she’s always known. Her father has left. She is falling for Jeremy Duscana and the diet she started has somehow turned into an obsession. Yet her three best friends remain the same, always there for her.

But even their love can’t save her from herself.

Dancing With Ana. A story about the journey to acceptance of one’s own reality, the incredible bond that exists between friends and a love that truly endures all things.


Beth and her three best friends have decided to go on a diet after admiring one of the prettiest girls in school. Maybe they should lose a couple of pounds… The girls decide to go on a diet. They’ll cut back on what they eat, drink a lot more water to stay full, and stick together. Losing the extra baggage will not only make them look and feel better but they’ll get way more attention.

But the diet turns into something far worse, especially for Beth. She’s already having a tough time at home. Her father left Beth, her brother, and her mother for his much younger secretary about a year ago and is slowly pushing Beth and her brother out of his life. Beth struggles to come to terms that she may have lost her father. On top of her father issue, and her controlling diet, she starts to realize her growing feeling towards her best guy friend Jeremy (who I really liked, btw). Not the greatest time to have a ginormous crush on someone she’s known forever.

The other girls, Rachel especially, have some light shown on them as glimpses of their lives come into the story. I wanted a little bit more with them. I think it definitely wouldn’t have hurt to delve further into their lives. However, I’m thinking this story belonged more to Beth, so I understand.

Beth was a very real and endearing character. I could see her losing control of her eating habits and her life without her noticing it. It was entirely believable to see how a few pounds could turn into more and inevitably never be good enough. When she had to hide things from her mother and Jeremy it bothered her but became easier with each little lie she told. It was very realistic and made me think what an excellent Lifetime movie this would make! (Yes, I have a thing for Lifetime movies lol)

The only thing I had a problem with (and it could just be my bitter fat girl self speaking) was the fact that these girls were all small in the first place. It just bothers me, on a personal level, when (already) thin girls think they need to lose weight. Being active and staying in shape is entirely different. These girls thought they needed to lose weight to be beautiful. And I know many young women and older women alike sometimes think this way so I can totally understand why Barker wrote her characters the way that she did. I know I’ve looked at plenty of other women and wanted to be thin – like them, thinking that would make beautiful. So I appreciate Nicole Barker’s honesty with her characters.

I wasn’t thrilled with the writing. I just wanted…more in so many different areas. However, I think Nicole Barker has some great potential and I found myself pretty satisfied after closing the book. I admire the steps she took in taking on the teen issues that she did. It has a lot to offer and I think DANCING WITH ANA would be an excellent choice for all teens. I look forward to seeing what she will come up with next.


K said...

Great Review. I've been wondering whether to read this. Books with girls going on a diet are not my thing - but i think i'll give this one a go.

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