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My Sister's Bones

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  902 ratings  ·  66 reviews
At sixteen, Billie Weinstein has plenty of problems: She's the only Jewish girl living in the all-Italian neighborhood of West Berry, NJ; she's trying hard to please her know-it-all father who listens to opera at full volume and drives full speed, and her too-accommodating mother who is either taking care of Billie's father, or Billie and her sister, or the two dogs; and o ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 10th 1997 by Delta (first published 1996)
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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  902 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
the title of this book makes it sound more harrowing than it is: sure, there is some emotionally devastating content, but the eating disorder narrative is only one strand of many here, and the central theme of the book is the narrator coming of age emotionally and sexually while negotiating a complicated family dynamic in which her father is an overbearing control freak who has to be right about everything. i was pretty impressed with this book and its attention to class, place, and ethnicity as ...more
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book

It's been a long time since I've picked up a book and read non-stop the way I read My Sister's Bones by Cathi Hanauer. There are so many things I liked about it, but it was primarily the excellent, utterly readable writing. There is nothing excessive--each word counts in this first person story of Billie Weinstein and her struggle through family life as a sixteen year old girl. I assume this story takes place in the 1970s, given all the references, yet because it is written i
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
In certain ways, I could really identify with Billie, the main character in this book. Billie struggles to find her place both within her family and among her peers. She must deal with issues that are common for teenagers as they grow up and get ready to move from high school to college, but faces the additional stress of her older sister Cassie's anorexia. How Cassie's illness affects all of the members of the family is a primary focus of this novel.

All in all, this is a good story and a very
Stephanie A.
I checked it out because it said it was about a high school girl whose older sister develops anorexia when she goes to college. Well, hello there flawless story, come to me! Except the only thing that stayed with me afterwards was my intense loathing for the scenes in which the main character doles out two kinds of jobs, along with her virginity just for the hell of it. You're what's wrong with current literature, basically.
Mirjana Villeneuve
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a really honest depiction of growing up and changing relationships. It's funny and sweet, but also desperately sad, as Billie chronicles the diminishing health of her sister alongside her own desperate grasp for control through her friends and promiscuity.

I always approach books about eating disorders with hesitation, because, having dealt with one myself, I find that they can be highly triggering. This one wasn't as much. Although it does mention Cassie's weight, it doesn't dwell only
Aug 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
On the one hand, this was pretty readable so there must have been something redeeming about it. On the other hand I felt a bit lost. The book is about the sister of an anorexic girl in the NJ suburbs and her junior year in high school, what happens, how her family deals with the anorexia (not well) - but the first thing to throw me is the setting. At first I assumed it takes place around the copyright, sometime in the late 1990s. It's not until we're at least halfway into the book that it's appa ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This was quick and 'readable'. So I finished it. I did not stay tuned due to my investment in the characters, however. I think there was too much going on, and yet, nothing felt like it carried the weight it should have. We're told about all of Billie's emotions, but we never feel them. The storyline involving the sister was the most interesting to me, and was usually shuttle to the back burner, so we could focus on important teen issues. Which, ok, Billie is 16, so that's all part of her life. ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting in the beginning but then it got predictable and boring..more of a YA book
Wendy Ledger
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I thought it was poetic and deep. The ending will stick with me. I can't wait to read more of Cathi Hanauer's books.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Well-written prose but I don't feel the author presented a new story or even an improved version of an old one.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
This story was engaging. I found myself trying to find time to read to find out what happened. Unfortunately, nothing much did.
Rhonda M
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, thriller
Good book as much for the story of war, war correspondents, the affect of addiction, and PTSD on the lives of all of us as for the story/plot. The first section of the could have been edited a bit tighter but overall a good read. Part of it will haunt me for quite a while, particularly as a mom.
Kim Mcgee
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book

This book is well written. The topic of anorexia is explored and depicted realistically without being overly dramatic. Nothing is resolved in the end which makes it all the more compelling.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Teen Novel?? Yet another book that I couldn't get to the end - just didn't care about a single character or how they ended up!
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not realize when I started this book that it was about anorexia. I could not finish it...
Mar 03, 2017 added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hayley Danch
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hanauer paints a story of two teenage sisters, one with anorexia but told from the point of view of her younger sister, Billie. Billie is 16 going on 17 and dealing with all the typical things 16 year old girls deal with: boys, friends, family, finding yourself, fitting in, etc. However, I cannot stress enough that Hanauer tells this story so beautifully that you feel every emotion with the characters; what would be a mundane scene actually has you sitting on the edge of your seat with anticipat ...more
Wynne Kontos
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in high school, and ever since then I've listed it as a favorite book. I was reading it right around the time I'd gotten my hands on Incubus' "Megalomaniac" album, so when I listen to that I think of this book and vice versa. (Just in case you're looking for a soundtrack.) Since I first read it, I've read the book a few more times, the same copy in the same library where I originally read it. I have searched for it in book stores, but have never been able to find it in store.
Sep 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well written book on how anorexia affects a family
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
this was a dark story that left you hanging....
AJ LeBlanc
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a frustrating read, only because I wished the father was real so I could punch him. In spite of this, I really liked this book and read it in one sitting.

If you're looking for a story about how a family pulls together as they all deal with one member's battle with anorexia, this isn't the book you're looking for. Instead, we live 16 year old Billie's life for a few months and feel her frustrations with being a teenager and realizing her parents are flawed human beings. She seems to be
Jun 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teen girls
Shelves: ed
A little "fluffy" for my taste - it must be geared more towards a teen audience. I couldn't believe that the parents were so clueless about what was happening to their daughter. I was even madder that the father, who is a medical doctor, let her leave the treatment program early. How does he expect her to recover? I felt that the facts presented about an eating disorder were forced to the reader's attention through the younger sister, Billie. She was the only one aware of what was happening to ...more
Hazel McHaffie
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This one's told from the point of view of the sister, Billie. She is sixteen. Her high-achieving beautiful sister Cassie is at college where she changes, becomes obsessed with the state of the world, and stops eating. Billie feels she’s the only one who sees what’s happening to Cassie. But she’s fighting her own adolescent troubles, convinced she’s not pretty, the only virgin, etc.
Their parents put Cassie into a private hospital but the treatment doesn’t work and Cassie is surrounded by other g
The family dysfunction here is tragic in it's Tolstoy banality...

I ignore the mob b-plot, it's annoying and adds nothing, and is why I downgraded to three stars. But how Billie goes from her father's brutal driving critique where he utterly eviscerates her, and it's that, being so verbally and emotionally torn down by her dad, that drives her to Dominick, is heart wrenching and well rendered, as is the New Jersey upper middle class milieu.

And so is the verdict, "when it's your own family, you
Beth Schwenker
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Hard to read because of content at times. Human story written in from the first person perspective of an adolescent girl coming of age in a family household where her older sister is struggling with anorexia. Difficult and shocking to read at times, but enlightening. Brings to light the scary world in which most adolescents live. Reminds you that they are still just children, at risk and running around in an adult world with decisions many times beyond their comprehension.
I really liked this book, and it's certainly popular with teen girls at my school. It's not just another anorexia book, and I appreciate that the ending doesn't sugarcoat the complexity of this disease. However, I felt the author added subplots (mafia!)that were distracting and diminished the story's true plot.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. I loved the main character, and the story was just so real-I feel like it could definitely have actually happened (although some things i definitely would not like to happen in real life...) Cathi Hanauer did a lovely job of creating dynamic, interesting characters that really make you feel something.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-care
This is an amazingly "big" book for one so short. The author's writing is simple, but elegant, and the main character, Billie, is engaging and real. This is not a book about anorexia; rather, it is about families...and needs...and wants...and control...and expectations. It's about human frailty, and human strength. It is so much more than the sum of its parts, and I loved it.
Nov 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I kept going back and forth with this one, some parts I really liked, some I thought were just okay. A quick, easy read, kept me reading. I thought the characters could have been more well-developed, didn't feel like I "knew" them or could anticipate their behaviors at times. A good depiction of a teenager trying to sort things out and decide who she will be separate from her family.
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