A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{July 27, 2012}   Skinny by Donna Cooner

Plot: Ever is 15 years old and 302 lbs. She has tried all the diets but nothing has worked. Meanwhile a voice in her head, that she has dubbed Skinny, constantly tells her that she’s ugly and whispers the horrible things that people think about her. She decides to go through with gastric bypass surgery. But losing weight doesn’t automatically solve all her problems. Friendship, family and love are still complicated and she needs to learn to love herself.

This review is based on an ARC received at BEA 2012.

I was a bit hesitant to read this book: I wasn’t sure I could enjoy a girl badmouthing herself for an entire novel. But I shouldn’t have worried: Cooner’s novel is very readable and, despite an unhealthy amount of self-hatred, Ever is an intelligent, multifaceted character. And because of Cooner’s own life experience, she is able to describe the emotional and physical effects of the surgery with realism and sensitivity.

Skinny is in essence the story of Cinderella: a stepmother, two terrible step sisters, a gorgeous prince and a motherless girl who will go through an incredible transformation. Or at least that’s what Ever thinks. But the biggest change in Ever’s life isn’t the gastric bypass surgery or the weight loss. It is the realisation that she hasn’t been seeing the people in her life at all, that Skinny has been blinding her to everything but people’s appearance. Cooner handles this transition beautifully: we gradually see what appear to be one-dimensional stereotypes turn into likable, complex characters with their own problems and dreams.

If I had one complaint, it’s that Ever’s inevitable confrontation with Skinny stretched my disbelief beyond the breaking point. It was surreal and heavy-handed: she explains things that were clear to the reader a long time before. It was unnecessary.

But the best part of the book is, without a doubt, Ever’s best friend Rat. Rat is a genius level geek who helps Ever through every step of her recovery,  who knows her better than anyone else. He lacks tact and can ramble on about science but no one is sweeter and more attentive. His rare smiles are definitely worth waiting for.

Skinny, which is Cooner’s debut novel, will be released in October 2012.

2012 (#76)

Title: Skinny

Author: Donna Cooner (http://www.donnacooner.com/)

Publisher: Point (Scholastic)

Year: 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-42763-0


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