An unremarkable entry into the already-crowded field of problem novels about teen girls and eating disorders.
Ever since she started taking birth-control pills to manage her acne, Carrie has been dissatisfied with the size and shape of her body. When her synchronized-swimming coach announces in front of the whole team that she wants Carrie to lose 10 pounds, the teen decides to take drastic measures. Almost immediately, she reduces her food intake to almost zero and records her calorie-counting and daily weigh-ins in diary entries that seem destined to trigger food-related anxieties in readers (“Saturday, November 20. 124 pounds. Lost three. Trick is to eat breakfast and nothing until dinner”). Surrounding Carrie, who is white, are hastily sketched-in characters whose diverse racial backgrounds never feel like more than tokenism. It is unclear what motivates Carrie's swim-team archenemy Wanda to spread rumors or why Carrie is so insistent that her father is controlling. Synchronized-swimming terms like “sculling” and “egg-beatering” are never defined, and American readers (this is a Canadian import) will have to guess at the meaning of “billet.” The action builds to an ending both predictable and abrupt.
Readers looking for a by-the-book eating-disorder cautionary tale can find comparable stories in any number of sensational teen magazines. (Fiction. 12-14)