4.7 37
by Erin Jade Lange

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A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as

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A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At 423 pounds, 16-year-old "Butter" is sinking, both mentally and physically. Despite his sense of humor and musical talent, his classmates and parents can't see beyond his weight, and he's feeling the same way. Bullying incidents and being voted "most likely to have a heart attack" spark Butter's plan to commit suicide live online on New Year's Eve. It's the same night that he's agreed to reveal himself to Anna, his chat-room crush; although they know each other from school, he has lied to her about his identity. However, Butter's Web site, where students suggest foods to add to his last meal, brings him instant popularity and reasons to live. As the days count down, Butter has to choose between social and actual suicide. Lange's emotionally expansive first novel is dark, funny, painful, and powerful. Even at the height of Butter's mistreatment, his despair doesn't overshadow his awareness of the world's beauty. Layered supporting characters (readers will empathize with Anna, who suffers her own humiliation as a result of Butter's dishonesty) provide the novel the depth that the timely subject matter deserves. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)
VOYA - Sarah Phillips
When Butter announces his suicide, it is shocking to realize how many people give encouragement and do not try to stop him or tell an adult. The plot has a unique combination of real-life aspects that are compelling to read about, even though it is a gruesome topic. Many teens are in Butter's shoes by having social and weight issues. The lesson is: have faith and do the things you enjoy most in life to be successful. 5Q, 4P. Reviewer: Sarah Phillips, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Deborah Wenk
Butter is the nickname that stuck. Morbidly obese at sixteen, Butter battles severe diabetes, paternal disdain, maternal smothering, and the apathy of his classmates. Aside from the incident that produced his nickname, Butter is generally ignored by the bullies and the rest of his classmates—except for their fascination with the amount of food in his lunch each day. Playing his saxophone and talking online to Anna are his escapes. To Anna, he is JP, a jock from a nearby private school whose life has no resemblance to his real life. After a series of setbacks, Butter decides that the only control he can exert is choosing when he dies. He creates a website and announces that he will eat himself to death on New Year's Eve and it will be streamed live on the website. The reaction of his classmates stuns him: the "in" crowd pull him into their circle and befriend him. Their online comments, however, are all about encouraging his stunt. Readers are immediately pulled into Butter's life and made to care about him. He is funny, bright, talented—someone everyone would like to know. Or would we? He tips the scale at 423 pounds and readers must face their own prejudices about the obese around us. Butter's only friend is another fat camp teen; no one else takes the time to get to know him. This is an engrossing, tough, funny, honest, and in the end, hopeful tale that grabs the reader from the first page and does not let go. This one will not stay on your library shelves. Reviewer: Deborah Wenk
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Butter is a smart, funny high school junior who happens to weigh 423 pounds. His eating issues stem from multiple sources, but one day when the pressure becomes too much, he opens a website called Butterslastmeal.com. Here he invites his classmates to watch as he consumes his last meal on New Year's Eve, literally eating himself to death. The overwhelming reaction to his posting astonishes him, and he becomes an instant member of the in crowd. But even finding the friendship he craves doesn't help ease his internal pain. His mom still supplies him with high-calorie "comfort" foods; his dad still looks at him in disgust, and Anna, the most beautiful girl at school, won't give him a second glance. Playing his saxophone and spending time as his online alter ego, JP, a tall, athletic hunk who chats for hours online with Anna, provide the only real comforts in his life. Flashbacks show the relentless cruelty of other students that Butter has endured for years, and the story heads toward a frightening climax as he discovers that his newfound friends are just as cruel in their own way as those who abused him in the past. The ending avoids a quick solution, leaving Butter realistically examining his options for the future. Myriad realistic characters feel responsible for his actions-the music teacher who tries repeatedly to reach him; his friend Tucker, who also battles extreme weight, and even Anna, who rejects him in public. The first-person narration allows readers to feel Butter's pain along with the eventual insight into his problems. Using current, hot-button topics-cyberbullying, obesity, and teen suicide-the author weaves a compelling tale sure to draw teens in.—Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Butter gets good grades and plays smooth-as-butter jazz sax, but he is defined by both himself and his peers by his weight. At 423 pounds, he sits by himself in the lunchroom, parks his Beemer (this is Scottsdale, Ariz., after all) in the handicapped space in the school parking lot and diligently keeps his diabetes in check. As SaxMan on the Internet, though, he has an intense relationship with Anna, a girl who doesn't look twice at him in school. When a school meme designates him "most likely to have a heart attack," he decides to "command the conversation online" by declaring that he will eat himself to death on a live video stream on New Year's Eve, four weeks away. Almost immediately, he finds his social stock soaring, the A crowd--which includes Anna--adopting him as a mascot of sorts. Butter's tale reads like the problem novel it is, his narration feeding itself to readers so they don't miss a thing: "Popularity was like a drug--one taste and I was hooked." But he is likable, in his wry, self-hating way, remarking that he is "a binge eater, not a bulimic. That shit is for girls." In the end, it is the vision of life in the "fat suit" that should hook readers, whatever their size. Rubbernecking the train wreck that is Butter's last meal makes for an uncomfortably thought-provoking read. (Fiction. 13 & up)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 1.10(d)
HL770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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