“Skinny” Donna Cooner

ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). To be published October 1, 2012. Point (Scholastic). 263 pp. (includes Acknowledgements).

Ever is 15 years old and weighs 302 pounds. She hates herself, and the way she looks. She hates having to squeeze into seats, and how everyone looks at her in disgust. She hates that her mom died and left her with just memories which she tries to drown out with food. She hates feeling invisible. If she even has the tiniest thought that is not hateful Skinny, her imaginary person, is there to remind her she’s just a loser.

Skinny has decided Ever is useless, but Ever is tired and wants change. She wants to be Cinderella and go to the ball with Jackson, the prince she’s had her eye on for years. She wants to be loved, and be “normal.” Against Skinny’s advice, and with great fear, Ever undergoes gastric bypass surgery. With the help of her nerdy friend Rat, she embarks on a journey to reinvent herself.

However, as the pounds slowly peel away Ever faces the fears that go along with discovering her curves. Who is she? What will she become? Can she really live out her dream? She is afraid to face herself, and Skinny’s belittling words continue to rule her life. Along her journey, Ever learns that a frog may sometimes turn out to be a prince in disguise and that she can do more than she thinks. Ever’s battles are real, and will reach out to all readers, regardless of their struggles.

Cooner also went through gastric bypass surgery, which makes Ever’s voice more realistic. “Skinny” is an important read for teens, not only for those struggling with weight loss but for their peers. Cooner is a refreshingly new voice in YA lit, and I look forward to reading more of her work.

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