Second Star to the Right
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Second Star to the Right

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,193 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Leslie Hiller is a bright, attractive, talented teenager who leads a privileged life in New York City. She is also a perfectionist. When Leslie starts to diet, she finds herself becoming obsessed, getting thinner and thinner, until she is forced to realize that her quest for perfection is killing her.First published in 1981, this groundbreaking novel has been lauded by cou...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 13th 1999 by Puffin (first published August 1st 1981)
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Community Reviews

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Cora Linn
5 Words: haunting, honest, illness, body image.

I find it so difficult to review books like this, that are based on part of the authors life. It feels so wrong to rate them somehow. So this is only a mini review.

This was a harrowing, powerful book, quite haunting. It was simply written even for the age at which it's targeted/set but that fit the main character perfectly.
On the face of it, Leslie is a normal, healthy, well-adjusted fourteen-year-old girl. She goes to a good school, has a great friend in Cavett, and a mother who loves her to the moon and back. She should be happy, yet she’s not. She would be, she thinks, if only she were thinner. But “thinking thin” becomes a dangerous obsession and Leslie’s weight drops to five stone, threatening to destroy her and the whole fabric of her family life. Only by realizing that this condition is an illness – and one...more
Plot: Leslie Hiller seems to have it all: she's smart, has a loving family and a great best friend Cavett. Everything seems to be perfect, but Leslie develops a bit of an obsession with losing weight that goes too far. She wants to be happy, so she loses a little bit of weight and then she continues on to self starvation until she is dangerously underweight. Anorexia has taken over her entire life and it looks like Leslie is heading towards death instead of happiness.

Evaluation: This novel reall...more
Morgane G
Morgane G
Second Star to the Right Review

Leslie Hiller is a bright, charming young girl. At first glance, she seems to be the epitome of a 14-year-old, upper New York schoolgirl. She's smart, she has a loving family, she has a wonderful best friend, and she has plenty of things to do around town. She balances school and her social life well, but she is also a perfectionist. While this works out for her when it comes to grades and schoolwork, other matters become very drastic. The most drast...more
This is a very powerful novel. For the last book I read, "Vagilantes", I lamented that I couldn't fully understand the book and or its motives because I just could not comprehend what the main characters were going through. However, in Second Star to the Right, I could understand what Leslie went through, and I'll reiterate again: it is a very powerful book.

The most striking point to me in this novel is Leslie's continual cry for help once she has surpassed an already unrealistic goal. It was s...more
Greta is Erikasbuddy
What causes and addiction?
Family? Stress? A mental imbalance? .... Fear?

What pushes a person to the edge?
Lifestyle? Persuasion? Politics? Willpower? .... Change?

This book was written thirty years ago and it should have been assigned reading material for every girl in 9th grade. It should have... but it wasn't.

Now a days we learn about anorexia from Lifetime movies, from our friends, from ourselves. It's not as uncommon as when this book was published. In this story Leslie wants to get thin. Sh...more
Radha Sukhu
“Second Star to the Right” is the story of a young girl named Leslie Hiller who struggled with anorexia and bulimia. She felt as if she lived the perfect life, but there still seemed to be emotional struggle between her and her mother. However, after being admitted into a special hospital for anorexic/bulimic girls, she appears to be taking a turn for the better. The main aspect of this novel is the characterization of Leslie. Her emotions are all over the place, ranging from confusion to anger...more
Marian Hajjar
Marian Hajjar
Second star to the Right
Deborah Hautzig

This is a well organized book.It about a girl named Leslie Hiller , and she is just a normal girl like everyone else.She goes to school , does all her homework , and gets good grades.One day she decides to go on a diet.This continually goes on for days.Then weeks.Then months went by. She is now addicted to the diet. She is becoming thinner and thinner.She is basically dieng because she refuses to eat. She is in high school and only weighs o...more
This books details the experience of a young woman battling an eating disorder. She attends a great private school in New York, has a wonderful friend in Cavett, has all of her material needs (and wants) met by caring parents...why isn't she happy? She has been uncomfortable with her appearance for a while and has begun taking steps to "fix" it. The author shares intricate details of how this disorder affects teens because she battled with it herself. As Leslie (the main character), gets further...more
Jowayria Rahal
humm well , this novel was handed to me by accident , i just didn't wander in many libraries looking for it , i didn't even know that such a novel existed !! there are so many things in this book that i totally disliked , and of course there are as many things that i loved

First of all , the cover is just humm beautiful , (( gray is my second favourite color =D )) the skinny little "thing" in the cover that gives the reader a mental image of Leslie makes of the cover a clever work !

humm I lov...more
It's my guess, with its 1981 copyright, this is one of the first novels to tackle anorexia. As Leslie tries to balance all the parts of her life, she learns one thing she CAN control is the amount of food she eats. When forced to eat in front of her family, she decends into bulimia...nothing can convince her the 'dictator' in her head will kill her.

It begins innocently enough -- just a few pounds, and then a few more. More control. And the numbers continue to drop. Hautzig lets us into Leslie's...more
Sandra Strange
This novel is really a barely fictionalized autobiographical account of the author’s struggle with anorexia. It records the thought patterns, behavior, addiction that not eating becomes in a girl’s struggle to gain control over her life in the light of a demanding mother, an absent father, and internal conflicts which tear the girl apart. The only drawback is the open ending, with only the author’s note at the end to shed light on what happened after the “novel” ends. The ending is mostly positi...more
Sep 23, 2007 Debbie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who want to know about anorexia
Shelves: fiction
Leslie Hiller is determined to be perfect, but feels that her life is getting more and more out of her control. In order to regain her sense of control, she decides to control the one thing in her life that she CAN control - food. She gets dangerously thin, but never feels she is thin enough.

I found the story itself (the fictionalized account of the author's life) to be merely ho-hum. The afterward, in which the author recounts her own struggle with anorexia, is truly moving and is what makes t...more
Jennifer Schmohe
At probably thirteen years old, this was the first book I ever read regarding eating disorders. It begins in a stereotypical way - privileged white female with mommy issues decides to go on diet - but does redeem itself somewhat. Considering the fact that this novel was written in 1981, a time when eating disorders weren't quite household conversation, Second Star to the Right deserves mounds of credit. However, if you're looking for a book confronting anorexia nervosa, I would suggest finding s...more
Leslie has a pretty good life: a caring family, a best friend and an upper-class status. Unfortunately, Leslie still wasn't happy and wouldn't be unless she was thin. Her eating was the one thing she felt she could control in her life and pretty soon, it took control of her. She became anorexic and bulimic. She ended up in a center for girls with eating disorders.

THis is an interesting book, learning about eating disorders from someone who has experienced it. It's a slow moving book though.
This book confronts anorexia, which is good for young adults because they should know that it's a serious problem... but the book is also kind of cheesy. With a title like Second Star to the Right, there is bound to be a reference or two to Peter Pan... and sure enough, there is at least once where "second star to the right and straight on till morning" is somewhere in the book... a little bit of a cop-out if you ask me.
I read this book several times when I was about twelve or thirteen, and even though I haven't read it in years, I can still remember it so vividly. I was having similar issues as main character Leslie at the time. I couldn't comment technically on how GOOD the book really is, because as I say I was very young when I read it. But it stuck with me. Not many books truly do that. Definitely worth a read.
This is no a book- at 155 pages it is more like a Novella. Although the book covers the subject, it does not draw you in to the main character and at no point do you see her as anything other than a spoiled, selfish, self-indulgent child who thinks she is selfless. I did not empathize with her. Additionally, the book just ends very oddly. It really was not good by today's standards.
Engrossing and heart-wrenching as you read about the struggles that not only the main character experiences, but the family and friends as well. A story that I would definitely not mind reading all over again. You feel a sense of inspiration after realising that anorexia nervosa is not only a struggle physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. A definite Good Read.
The book was ok. It was hard to follow sometimes. Her hospital stays didn't sound real to me. For instance, they don't have to eat, just drink five cups of liquid per day, and one of the options is coke? I recognize the due to the time period perhaps how that was how the hospitals dealt with the eating disorder patients.
not sure what i'm doing reading this, but whatever.
end: it was first published in 1981, so Anorexia wasn't widely known. the characters' conversations were made more interesting by the historical context. not very thorough in addressing all the conflicts, but is like a story within a story.
I didn't enjoy or engage with this book. Very simple writing style which just didn't grasp the horror the main character was living. It felt safe, unchallenging, weak. There are endless books covering this subject matter, which are much more accurate, better written, more honest.
Jun 26, 2012 Boston rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with eating disorders
This is a good eating disorder book, but it's less eating disorder book and more just book; it doesn't focus on the eating disorder as much as other novels about people with eating disorders. Rather, her condition is merely a timeline for the story.
I read this book because I work with an anorexic girl at school and I hoped this would help me understand her. This book is about a girl who deals with anorexia and is hospitilized. I am not sure I understand anymore about the disease.
Very eh. I liked this book better than "The Best Little Girl in the World", though. Quick read; I read it today while I was hiding in the back of the library, skipping AP Biology.
Jun 09, 2011 Nicci added it
This is a really powerful book about a serious struggle that many women, and teens can relate to, whether it be completely or mentally. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Elizabeth carmen
esta historia te hace reflexionar sobre varios temas y uno de los que mas habla es del de la anorexia,y te hace ver como piensan las personas que sufren esa enfermedad
Melissa Shelley
I was really able to understand the character and relate to her disease. Powerful writing! I want to keep this book for my kids to read later.
Deanna Beaton
I loved this book as a teenager. It actually made me think about a topic that wasn't completely vapid & pointless, which is rare in YA.
Michelle Chase
I didn't think this book really portrayed eating disorders well. It was okay, but it got annoying at times with all the rambling.
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