by Simon Pulse
Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it’s been one let down after another. But no one—not even her best friend—gets all the pain she’s going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.
Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of the heartbreak and name-calling stop?
Empty is the perfect title for this novel, as this is how I felt when I was reading it. Empty. Emptiness for her detrimental self portrayal. Emptiness for her lack of confidence. Emptiness for her loneliness. My heart felt sorrow and pain for this beautiful person who just couldn’t see her true self; who she could be. After her father left, Dell turned to food. An excessive amount of food that was matched by an excessive weight gain. Losing her spot on the baseball team is only the beginning of the consequences. Though it’s funny–in a very depressing way–that most of the consequences is caused by her attitude. Dell feels like she’s losing everything and everybody, making her efforts at dieting a far away thought. Eating, like smoking or drinking, is one of the ways people use to cope with the stresses of life. and this book really shows how this can become the end-all to a once healthy young girl. The more she ate, the lesser she thought of herself, making her want to binge even more. A never ending circle. This is why I could understand her even when her obsession became borderline irritating. You can’t just assume she’s able to stop, or to control it, even when she knows what it’s doing to her. Professional help is what she needs to achieve this. So yes, her self deprecation is excessive, and yes she’s incredibly hard on herself, yet she continues in her bad ways, but this is a realistic portrayal of such a situation.
Such a story needs a lot of emotional output, and for this you need well developed characters. Despite her depression, Dell is a very sweet person. The way she takes care of her sister is admirable. I loved the bond that she shared with this toddler, and having a toddler myself, I could easily relate. I also found her secondary characters to be very distinct. You have the best friend, the popular crowd, the jerks, but they aren’t just cut personalities to fit the story, they felt real to me; I felt the impact every single one of these people had on Dell.
Frustrating on many levels, this book makes you feel helpless. Every single one of you will want to help her. You will scream at her to realize what she is doing to herself. You will yell obscenities at her destructive thoughts. But in the end, the only thing you will feel is empty. This is both a warning, and a recommendation.
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