The Sky Between You and Me

496p. ebook available. Sourcebooks/Fire. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492638537.
Gr 10 Up—Raesha is determined to win Nationals. She and her horse, Fancy, must make the best time in the barrel race, and Rae has to be as light as possible. So she begins to deprive herself of food. To complicate matters, a new girl is flirting with Rae's boyfriend, Cody, and trying to steal Rae's best friend, Asia. Rae copes by creating her own world, where everything is about control, from keeping track of calories to counting seconds on the clock. Her mantra is "lighter, leaner, faster," and the scale must be "minus five." Drawing from personal experience referenced in an author's note, Alene has crafted a novel in verse that articulates the slow decline and ongoing recovery of a teen battling anorexia nervosa. The story's scope shows how deep and complicated anorexia's hold can be; Rae's need for control extends beyond her own immediate situation to her grief over her mother, also an equestrian, who died of cancer. What if Rae can no longer fit on her mother's saddle? What if she can keep the scale at minus five? What if she could have stopped her mother from dying? Raw and heartbreaking, Alene's work tackles a very sensitive topic with accuracy and compassion.
VERDICT This title will resonate with readers on many levels. A first purchase for most older YA collections.

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