After trying to commit suicide after a particular nasty fight with her boyfriend, Death gives Lisa a choice: become Famine or die (sounds rather harsh, but it's not). Lisa chooses life and thus to become a Horseman, complete with a black praline-loving steed and Famine's symbol of office: golden scales.
Lisa struggles with her anorexia, although she doesn't recognize it as such, she thinks she's just fat and has her very own Thin Voice to remind her of this. And of the calories everything edible holds and how much time on the exercise bike that accumulates to, to burn it off again. I thought this was so believable! Having no first-hand experience at having an eating disorder, I can imagine something inside whispering these deprecating thoughts.
One thing Lisa also struggles with, is hiding all of this from her boyfriend, best friend and father, the persons she cares about the most. At the start of the book she's already alienated her best friend because she told her to get help for her anorexia. Instead she gets a 'friend' who encourages her in her dysfunctional behaviour towards food: a girl with an eating disorder herself.
Death says things like 'thou art Famine, yo' and has a more than passing resemblance to Kurt Cobain, which is fine, but a bit weird. I did love the black horse, who Lisa names Midnight. The horse is sarcastic and doesn't get all the weird human behaviour. And it loves pralines, so it's my kind of horse.
I felt that what Lisa wanted most was to be in control of herself, not just being thin, but also in other aspects. She hates being bossed around, but doesn't really know what to do about it.
I'm glad that she learns to stand up for herself and that she's not worthless or undeserving of people's attention.
My rating: 4 stars, I'm looking forward to reading the sequel Rage.