Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner



Title: Skinny
Author: Donna Cooner
Publishing Company: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 272


15 year old Ever Davies weighs 302 pounds as a result of overeating after the death of her mother.  She hates herself and thinks that everyone else does too.  At least that's what Skinny tells her.  Skinny, Ever's subconscious in the form of a fairy that sits on her shoulders, is constantly telling Ever what people think of her and that she can't do anything right.  Because of Skinny, the closest Ever has gotten to living out her dream of singing on stage was listening to songs from her favorite Broadway musicals.

After a humiliating incident involving a broken chair and the entire student body, Ever decides that she's had enough of being the fat girl that everyone mocks and pities.  She chooses to have gastric bypass surgery, when one's stomach is made smaller permanently, as a last effort to lose weight.  Maybe this surgery will allow her to have the friends, the boy, the confidence and the life she's always wanted.  And maybe Skinny will finally leave her alone.      

This is another one of those YA novels that deal with a serious topic, obesity and gastric bypass surgery in this case. One thing that initially concerned me was that the novel was glamorizing this extremely risky surgery. Many health problems can result from it and death is always a possibility. Ever seemed to be taking quite a major risk just to fit in without taking the time to think it through. As the novel progressed though, the reader sees the side effects of the surgery both good and bad, both physical and emotional. It was very refreshing to be educated about something that we've all heard of but never really knew about.

Ever is a strong character that the reader can relate to.  She's witty and talented but many people can't seem to look past her appearances.  She distances herself through her saracasm and bitterness in order to avoid getting hurt or disappointed by others, even though the only one hurting her is Skinny, the voice inside of her.  Later in the novel, Ever gets accepted into the "popular crowd" after one of the popular girls takes her under her wing.  Even her crush starts taking interest in her.  But through it all, Ever does not change.   

Besides Ever, the other characters were also gems. Theodore "Rat" Wilson, Ever's geeky, logical best friend (with abs of steel), was by far one of my favorite "best friends" in all of YA literature. Their friendship, although fairly predictable in the direction it was going to go in, felt raw and real and was very sweet. Briella, her stepsister, is not your typical one dimensional beautiful popular girl. She has her own backstory and a complex personality. Her relationship with Ever adds more dimension to the novel. And even though Skinny existed only in Ever's mind, she has just as much presence as any other character. As unrealistic as it seems to have a fairy whispering mean things into your ear, I think most girls can relate to having a Skinny in their lives, keeping them from loving themselves and going after what they want. Towards the end of the novel, the reader along with Ever discovers something important and unexpected about Skinny, which sent a good message without getting preachy.

I really liked the tidbits of Broadway references. Ever references songs from musicals like West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked to describe her feelings. I knew most of the songs and enjoyed looking up the ones I didn't to get a better idea of what Ever was feeling at the time.

I have two minor issues with this novel. I thought the whole Cinderella thing was a little overdone. Did we really need two stepsisters and a stepmother, the school musical, and all those verbal references to get the idea? Also, I hate the cover. I know the cover shouldn't matter and that Cooner probably did not have much control over it but seriously? That girl on the cover is NOT overweight, not even close to the lower weight Ever manages to reach by the end of the novel. It's wrong that even on a book about accepting yourself no matter what size you are, the cover has a skinny girl on it. What a shame.

Overall, Skinny is a great read that changes your perspective on fat people and body image.

I give it a 3.5/5.


FTC:  This book was requested by me on Netgalley.

7 comments:

  1. Great review!
    I like YA novels that deal with some important issue. I will add this one to my TBR pile. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabulous review! This is my first time hearing about this book, but it's definitely going on my TBR list!
    thanks for sharing :)

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