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Second Star to the Right

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,565 Ratings  ·  86 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 Books (first published August 1st 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cora Tea Party Princess
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.
Joanne
Jul 30, 2010 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-contemporary
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
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Dec 20, 2010 Greta is Erikasbuddy rated it it was amazing
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
Jennie
Jan 02, 2008 Jennie rated it really liked it
Shelves: yaliterature
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
Edmund Davis-Quinn
May 09, 2016 Edmund Davis-Quinn rated it really liked it
Nice to fly through a book in 90 minutes while drinking beer on a sunny day outside.

As Kurt Vonnegut said, "If this ain't nice what is." As my father in law Walter Maheux said, "It don't get no better."

Funny to be reading this while reading Marya Hornbacher's far more serious and excellent non fiction "Wasted." Which is also about anorexia and bulimia.

And the main character is extremely likeable. Just your average geek. I think we all feel incredibly awkward at 14. And we live with an absolute
...more
Sarah
Mar 12, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
I reread this, hoping it was one I've been looking for for many years, but it wasn't. It was very simplistic.

While Leslie is grappling with her self-image, she happily acquiesces to adults. I suspect a person going through her inner turmoil would put up more of an obvious fight when challenged.

The weight loss in this book becomes more and more rapid, but I would also think that in reality this would not be the case, as past a certain point it would slow down. Perhaps the timeline is longer than
...more
Sarah
Oct 11, 2010 Sarah rated it it was ok
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.
Dawnie
Sep 22, 2015 Dawnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Beautiful and moving and such a true portrait of chronically illness and the hardships people that have the illness as well as the people around them go through.

It's not a book everyone will love. Because it is not a book most people will be able to connect to in a deep and "I have been there, I know exactly what you are going through" way, but I really think that everyone should read this book and try to understand that everyone around us has a hard time sometimes, even if it seems as if their
...more
Morgane G
Morgane G
Second Star to the Right Review
4.5.12

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
Lo
Jun 09, 2012 Lo rated it liked it
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
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
Oct 25, 2012 Marian Hajjar rated it it was amazing
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
Jonas
Jun 12, 2012 Jonas rated it liked it
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
Jan 08, 2013 Jowayria Rahal rated it really liked it
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
Claudia
Jan 27, 2011 Claudia rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2009 Sandra Strange rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
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
Debbie
Sep 23, 2007 Debbie rated it liked it
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
Nov 12, 2010 Jennifer Schmohe rated it liked it
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
Vivek Tejuja
Feb 26, 2015 Vivek Tejuja rated it it was amazing
I am back to my reading project of ‘The Novel Cure’ and this time since I finished D, I began with E – the first ailment being “Eating Disorders” and the first cure was “Second Star to the Right” by Deborah Hautzig. I didn’t realize the book was a young adult novel till I started reading it and since I love Young Adult Novels, I was completely bowled over.

Leslie Heller is a bright, attractive and a regular teenager who lives a life of privilege in New York City. Her life takes a drastic turn wh
...more
Kate
Aug 19, 2011 Kate rated it it was ok
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.
Angie
May 10, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
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.
Claire Leong
Nov 16, 2014 Claire Leong rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Youths, people who know others with eating disorders
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tena
May 31, 2012 Tena rated it it was ok
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.
TinaBee
May 22, 2011 TinaBee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-struggle
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.
Mary
Aug 06, 2013 Mary rated it it was ok
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.
Angie
Oct 17, 2009 Angie rated it it was ok
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.
Rachel
Nov 17, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok
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.
Lynn
Nov 28, 2008 Lynn rated it liked it
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.
Erica
Jan 26, 2011 Erica rated it liked it
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.
Nicci
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.
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