Monday, June 4, 2012
Teen Pick: Skinny
by Donna Cooner
Available October 2012 (date from publisher's arc)
Poignant and passionate, yet soaringly uplifting, Skinny is the story of one teen's fight with obesity, negative body image, and finding herself.
Ever Davies introduces herself to the reader, "I'm fifteen years old, and I weigh 302 pounds." Ever fights the demon of Skinny--a voice in her head that tells her all the mean things that other kids think about her. Skinny knows what they're saying. Ever is fat and stupid, she's a monster and gross, she will never be anything but a huge blob of a mess. The popular kids make fun of her. What they don't know is that Ever has a hidden talent. She can sing--no, really sing--like "American Idol" sing. Ever hids her disappointment, resentment, sadness, and anger by overeating. She turns to food to solve her issues, but finds that food is killing her.
She finally decides on weight loss surgery. More and more teens are grossly obese, and more and more doctors agree that surgery will help them live normal lives. It will cut their chances of getting heart disease and diabetes. Ever's father agrees to let her have the surgery. Her childhood friend Rat is by her bedside before surgery and there when she comes out. Being the science nerd that he is, he records her weight, weight loss and exercise in a log for her. They keep track of her progress. The first couple of weeks Ever can only walk a block. Soon, she's running three miles.
With the help of her half-sister and new-found support system--Briella--and her constant friend Rat, Ever continues to lose weight. When mean girl Whitney becomes her friend, Ever can't believe it! The popular kids are paying attention to her! Finally.
Ever begins to look at people for who they really are. There's Whitney--who is popular but shallow, Briella--who seemed mean at first-- but is really hurt by her father's absence, Rat--a great best friend who may be even more than a friend, Ever realizes that exterior beauty is often deceiving. The true beauty in someone is how they support their loved ones.
Highly, highly recommended grades 7-up. No sex; some rude language.
Teens with negative body issues and/or teens who struggle with weight will empathize with Ever. The author had gastric bypass surgery herself and writes that she will always have weight issues. The surgery is not a quick fix; patients will have to watch their diet and exercise regimen for life.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.