ECHO is a page-turner. I love the relationship Echo has with her main group of friends. I love how her and Julian are so close. I love her blossoming romance with Eddie. There are so many things to like about this story. During the scenes when Echo and Julian were working I kept seeing this in my mind:
Of course, Echo has a lot more going on in her life than a rich boyfriend being embarrassed to be seen with her. Echo is struggling to overcome the damage her terrible mother causes. There has never been a more deserving person of the title “Evil Witch.” Echo’s mother calls her fat, belittles her interests, and dismisses her successes. If it weren’t for her friends and fashion she’d be in trouble.
I admire how all of her friends try to get her to eat. I think it is realistically portrayed.
I would have liked to see more of the disorder though. Not that I wanted another WINTERGIRLS, but a little more evidence of the damage she was doing to her body would have made it even more riveting. There was a mention of something bad, but we didn’t “see” it happen. Just her after-the-fact thoughts. Also, only a couple of mentions of her weight.
This is definitely a book you are going to want to put in your collections - both middle school and high school. It is needed! In addition to the eating disorder, it also demonstrates how you don’t have to follow the mainstream to be happy in life.
I look forward to reading more about Echo and her friends in Amanda’s future books.
Julie's review of ECHO:
Emily(Echo to her friends) is getting ready to go to Nocturne in Vancouver. A place where her cousin will be showing off her newest clothing creations. Emily is looking forward to modeling one of those creations. Of course she wants to look her best and that best means being the skinniest she can be. Echo at first starts out by limiting her intake of food. It then progresses to times of binging and purging. When Echo sees herself in the mirror all she can see is the fat content of her body. Soon her best friend Julian confronts her about becoming too skinny but Echo assures him that she is eating and being careful. When her new boyfriend Eddie and several other friends begin to take notice and express concern, once again Echo assures them all that she is being careful. Echo knows that she is in control and nobody can stop her from reaching her goal. Echo wants to be perfect, she finds out at Nocturne what a steep price being perfect can be.
ECHO sucks you in from the first page to the very last. It is told from Echo's perspective so the reader is able to see all of Echo's thoughts and feelings that lead her on this journey of destruction. ECHO's characters bring a variety of feelings to the reader also. Echo's best friend Julian is gay and they share many evenings together working on just the right outfit to put together. His care and concern for Echo is heart-warming as he confronts her about her eating disorder. I could not stand Echo's mother! In my opinion she is the majority of the problem in Echo's eating disorder. Instead of a nurturing mother she is more like a jealous high school girl willing to do what it takes to cut out the competition. Eddie made a great boyfriend for Echo as he too had a dysfunctional family life.
Amanda Clay did a great job portraying the progression of Echo's eating disorder. The characters were well thought out and consistent in their behavior. A great story for teens who love to read about angst and drama and real-life situations. My one warning about the story would be that some of the language could be offensive to some readers. While I have read books with much more cursing, the "F" word is scattered throughout the story. An entertaining first novel from Amanda Clay that has me looking forward to her next novel.
Both Karin and Julie have worked with Amanda Clay! Karin and Amanda both worked in the same school district(Norman Public Schools), Amanda as an elementary school librarian and Karin as a middle school librarian. Julie worked with both Karin and Amanda as a library assistant in both elementary and middle school.
Here are Karin and Amanda in 2007 when the district won the National School Library Program of the Year Award: