Bones and his fellow Eating Disorder Unit (EDU) residents are likable, but the hospital and support staff are too bland. The banter between Bones and Lard is the best part of the book. It shows the difficulties of managing eating disorders as boys, which not many YA books have done. For that alone, Skin and Bones is a must-read for those with body issues.
The plot is well paced and develops quickly, while Bones's narration is easy to follow and initially interesting to read. However, his philosophizing about life, love, and weight loss quickly becomes forced and dry. Reluctant readers may have a hard time finishing the book for this reason.
Shahan offers a boarding school—like EDU ward, a joyride to locate a runaway, a mysterious love interest, and some snarky musings on love. Remind you of anything? Fans of John Green's Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska will definitely enjoy this book.
In the end, it is unclear how or why Bones has overcome his eating disorder. This lack of clarity may leave teen readers confused and disheartened. Despite that, there are helpful resources for teens, teachers, and families at the end of the book.
Recommended with reservations, due to the unclear nature of Bones' recovery, Skin and Bones provides a refreshing outlook on mental health issues that many teen boys face.