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4.3 53
by Donna Cooner

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Find your voice.

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies's head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she'll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.



Find your voice.

Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies's head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she'll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it.

But there is another voice: Ever's singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical - and partly to try and save her own life - Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over.

With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.

Donna Cooner brings warmth, wit, and startling insight to this unforgettable debut.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Ever Davies is a “300- pound girl who just wants to be invisible,” but her life—and her weight—change dramatically when she has gastric bypass surgery to win back her childhood sweetheart. Readers will be fascinated by the details of Ever’s surgery, and the permanent sacrifices she makes to accommodate her altered digestive system (“I take a spoonful of soup. I feel like I’ve just eaten a Thanksgiving dinner”). The negative voice that Ever constantly hears in her head, a voice she calls Skinny, will connect with anyone who has suffered from low self-esteem or been self-conscious (“You’re the charity case here, and don’t ever forget it,” Skinny says when Ever goes back-to-school shopping with two popular girls). Secondary characters—such as Ever’s pretty stepsister, with whom she has a strained relationship—appear scripted to underscore Ever’s eventual realization that “everyone has good parts and bad parts to them, no matter how... they may seem on the outside.” Cooner’s debut novel may be appreciated most for its information about gastric bypass surgery and its ramifications. Ages 12–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Oct.)
VOYA - Erin Forson
Ever is plagued by an evil fairy godmother, "Skinny," who whispers constant insults in her ear, insults that Ever knows are true. After all, she is fifteen years old and weighs 302 pounds, and gastric bypass surgery may be the only way to banish the evil godmother once and for all. Cinderella's suffering is miniscule compared to Ever's isolation and persecution. Whether her classmates or her blended family are nearby, Ever feels like the proverbial elephant is in the room, and she's pretty sure that she is the elephant. Consequently, Ever is an angry character who lashes out at everyone. While Ever's cynicism is a bit heavy-handed at first, it quickly becomes clear that her acerbic tongue is a defense against her emotional pain. After gastric bypass surgery, Ever realizes that to begin healing she must first grieve her mother, and then grieve food. Focusing on Ever's personal journey, this novel explores the ramifications and rewards of taking drastic measures to free the elephant, confront the evil fairy godmother, and free the soul. Drawing from her own weight loss surgery, Cooner's work explores gastric bypass and its aftermath, while other novels dealing with weight loss surgery (for example, Susan Vaught's My Big Fat Manifesto) present an outside perspective. At a time when many teens are struggling with personal obesity, overweight, and the definition of beauty, public and school libraries should not hesitate to include this modern tale, only loosely based on the Cinderella story, in their collection. Reviewer: Erin Forson
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In this debut novel, Cooner fictionalizes her experiences with extreme-weight-loss surgery. Ever Davies, 15, thinks she would be perfect for the part of Cinderella in her high school musical. She can sing, she knows what it's like to have a stepmother and stepsisters at home, and most people tend to ignore her since she weighs more than 300 pounds. Even Jackson, a childhood friend and now a hunk, looks right through her. Food has been a comfort since her mother died; however, her weight is becoming a serious health issue. And Skinny, the little voice in her head, keeps up a running commentary about Ever's weight and total incompetence. Despite her concerns about the risks of surgery, Ever finally undergoes gastric bypass. Her geeky friend, Rat, stands by her throughout the process, helping her chart her progress with pounds lost and pertinent songs. As she loses weight, Ever learns about the people around her-her stepsister Briella, who uses shopping to soothe herself when her dad ignores her; her new friend, Whitney; and even Rat, who might be Prince Charming in disguise. She forces herself to enroll in drama class to qualify for the musical and finds that she enjoys it. And as she becomes more confident, she realizes that Skinny's voice isn't as loud as it once was. The surgery is discussed in detail; readers can see this isn't a quick, easy solution, and that Ever's problems don't magically go away. This story will appeal to girls who struggle with doubts and fears, whether dealing with weight issues, loneliness, or lack of popularity.—Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TX
Kirkus Reviews
For the ultimate makeover, nothing beats gastric-bypass surgery. Her beloved, ever-dieting mom died five years ago. Now saddled with a beautiful stepmom and two gorgeous stepsisters, Ever, a sophomore, is pretty, smart, musically gifted and 302 pounds. Former buddy and long-term crush Jackson ignores Ever. She's taunted by classmates, but her own self-loathing eclipses their slurs--she's even given it a name, Skinny, and mostly ceded her identity to it. Skinny prevents Ever from taking up drama or accepting friendly overtures from stepsister Briella and takes Rat, science geek and loyal friend, for granted. Desperation drives Ever to gastric-bypass surgery. Her agonizing self-awareness, imprisoned in a body under severe stress, is compelling. (Author Cooner, who's had the surgery, doesn't sugarcoat its risks and considerable downsides.) As Ever loses weight, the story loses its grip on reality, avoiding tough issues, like the power assigned to appearance. A stylish classmate takes Ever under her wing, and enhanced by a designer wardrobe and hair, Ever's loveliness turns heads. Surgery's magic wand has opened doors for her that only the beautiful and gifted may enter. Lip service is paid to "inner beauty," but Cinderella, that quintessential consumer fairy tale and the plot's template, tells another story: It's what's outside that counts. (Fiction. 12 & up)
From the Publisher

Praise for Skinny:

"Resounding... with wit, compassion, and courage, Skinny will speak to everyone who has ever felt invisible or unlovable." -- Kathi Appelt, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Newbery Honor

"The best -- and truest -- depiction of the joys and pangs of transformation I've ever read. Deeply moving, totally addictive, utterly fabulous." -- New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle

"Compelling." -- Kirkus Reviews

"At a time when many teens are struggling with personal obesity, overweight, and the definition of beauty, public and school libraries should not hesitate to include this... in their collection." -- VOYA

Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
Ever Davies is an obese fifteen-year-old who is sure the world is talking about her and her weight. She knows this because Skinny, the unspoken voice of the world, sits on her shoulder and tells her all about what everyone else is thinking. To make matters worse, while Ever sits in front of the whole school at an assembly, the chair under her breaks. Ever is mortified. That feeling becomes the final straw; she decides to undergo gastric bypass surgery in an effort to take back her life. Even though the surgery has its own set of frustrations and consequences (not being able to eat the same just being one of them), Ever believes losing weight is the only way to find happiness. Of course, Skinny is still trying to shape Ever's thinking and opinions. Now that Ever does not weigh so much, she cannot decide if she should still listen to Skinny. This is a great novel about learning to discern between the different thoughts that come with being a teenager—or anyone who questions themselves and their self-worth. Ever is a strong character who just wants a chance to live a happy life, no matter what Skinny has to say about it. Teens who struggle with their own self-image should read this hopeful story. Those who prefer an audio recording will find enjoyment listening to this realistic teenage portrayal. Reviewer: Joella Peterson
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Fifteen-year-old Ever Davies has a secret. Skinny, the dark voice that whispers in her ear, tells her every mean thing that her classmates think about her. Ever knows that, at three hundred pounds, she will probably never be loved, and Skinny is determined to make sure she never forgets it. Ever wants to try out for the school musical, but Skinny reminds her that fat girls like her do not belong on the stage, and so her beautiful singing voice might be silenced forever. Partly in hopes of trying out for the next musical, and partly because she wants to be healthier, Ever decides to undergo risky gastric bypass surgery to help her shed the excess pounds. With the help of her best friend and support of her family, Ever begins to slowly lose the weight, but the surgery is not enough. Skinny still sits at her shoulder, whispering reminders that, no matter what she does, Ever will never be good enough to be worthy of love. Ever's story is a must-read for every young girl who struggles to accept her own body, and the parents, teachers and friends who love them. Cooner paints a vivid picture of the insecurities that plague almost everyone from time to time, and as Ever learns to face her own inner demon, readers may find the courage to look for the beauty inside themselves (and others) as well.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.10(d)
670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Donna Cooner is the acclaimed author of Skinny and Can't Look Away. A Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M University, Donna currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband, a cat named Stu, and two chocolate Labradors, Roxanne and Murphy. Follow @donnacooner on Twitter or visit her online at www.donnacooner.com.

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Skinny 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! I first saw it at my 8th grade book fair and I wasn't going to get it... SO GLAD I DID!!!!! I couldn't put it down! I finished the book in two days. Sequel?? :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book for both teen and tween girls who are just looking for a good read or have something they would like to change about themselves!great book
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
When I first saw the cover of Skinny, I immediately decided this was a book I needed to read ASAP. If you know me, I'm such a sucker for realistic fiction, and especially books that talk about eating disorders. The synopsis kind of reminded me of one of my all time favorite books "Wintergirls" by Laurie Halse Anderson. The main protagonist, Ever, pissed the hell out of me. She's fat, and the big problem is that she feels sorry for herself. She doesn't try to help herself, and she pities herself, and I'm just standing there wanting to slap her. I mean if you want to be "skinny", you gotta work for it. You're obviously going to eat less, and cut off the chocolates and junk. I actually found myself rolling my eyes most of the time. Also I hated how much of a big deal her schoolmates made because of her weight. I mean, so what if a person is fat? Does that mean you can't be friends with them? I found that really stupid and unrealistic to believe. People at her school were actually disgusted because of her! I mean, really? After doing some thinking, I understood why she felt pity for herself. The voice inside her head, Skinny, is the most unsupportive person, or actually a voice, can be. It's not mentioned in the book, but I understood Ever's psychological problem. That's how the voice inside her head developed, and it grew to the point that even Ever gave the voice a name. That's when I realized that the characters felt real, even though it wasn't clarified of who or what "Skinny" is. Moving to her friend, Rat, he was a very fun character to read about. The only problem was that Donna Cooner didn't really provide any history about how the two of them got to meet each other and etc. Honestly, the story did get better towards reading, because I liked how Ever's attitude towards her body changed, and she started feeling more confident about herself. (Yay) Overall, it wasn't a book I could compare to "Wintergirls", but it was still a fun read. Even though somethings were expected, it was still a good read that I would recommend to a friend. Really teaches people to be more confident about who they are, and what they look like. I also really liked Donna Cooner's style of writing, so i'll be waiting for her next novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ever has been gaining weight since the death of her mother. The fact that the woman her father later married has two beautiful, slim daughters probably did not help in her continued efforts at dieting. But the real obstacle was the voice in her head that insisted on clueing her in on everyone's thoughts about her...pig...horrifying...kill me if I ever look like that. Ever pictures her as a goth fairy, the wicked kind; and her name is Skinny. Even though she's survived the first couple of years of the horror that is being fat in high school, she hasn't really been living. She has a wall around her that she allows very few inside. She wants to rekindle her friendship with Jackson and deams of it turning into the perfect fairy tale love that seemed to be in their future when he kissed her one snowy day when they were just 10. But when the pounds piled on, he disappeared. The only one who stayed was Rat, the smart kid who was her best friend since childhood. He's the one who stands by her bedside and gives her strength and support when she finally decides to have gastric bypass surgery, the one who charts her weight loss, and bullies her into exercising, the one who encourages her to reveal her beautiful singing voice by trying out for the school musical. And when Ever finally loses the weight and, under the guidance of one of the school's most popular beauties, remakes herself, will she recognize the the girl she's always been inside...or will Skinny's voice continue to haunt her? A reimagined Cinderella story with a not so wicked stepmother and stepsister, a Rat who is really Prince Charming - and wickedly smart - and a young girl who will have to be her own Fairy Godmother, Skinny is a novel that will bring readers to tears and, hopefully, silence some of the more corporeal "skinnys" out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“The end of the street looks so far away. I want to turn back or at least stop, but my legs keep moving. Step after shuddering step, crashing painfully back down to earth over and over again.” When skinny whispers threats and the worst things imaginable into her ear, wouldn’t it just be easier to give up? No, she realizes she has to keep going with the help of her family and friends she realizes she can. So she does. I believe that this book will help many girls and even boys with weight problems and social anxiety. The book Skinny is about a young girl who is three hundred and two pounds. It tells of her overcoming her wish to become invisible and decides to get a special surgery for people that are more than one hundred pounds overweight. Skinny is the girl who tries to stop her. Skinny wants her to be alone, fat, and scared. But Ever soon realizes after she finally gets to be the popular girl she’s always dreamed of, goes to a dance with her childhood crush, and get comfortable in drama club that life isn’t all about skinny. When she catches her date to the dance cheating on her, Ever soon realizes that they were never there when she was overweight so why are they there now? When her sister falls in love with her unknown crush it starts to fall into place. All it took was a drama class assignment and an elephant. A big, brave, good luck elephant to set things right again with Ever and her prince charming. I personally thought the book Skinny was one of the best books I’ve ever read. When I read a good book I can really get into it and I felt the emotions of Ever. I felt intense sorrow for the way that Ever shut herself off from the world when her mother died from cancer and I actually cried at several parts of the book because I was feeling things the way skinny wanted Ever to feel. I believe that every girl has a little inner skinny and I love the way that Donna Cooner chose for her to overcome it. I thought this book was amazing and I really want to read more by this author. When I find a really good book like this it’s hard to put down and I can’t stop reading it until it’s finished. I have really high expectations for all of her other books now and I’m actually kind of happy I decided to read this specific book first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thisisa sadbookand it will make u enjoy who u as a person
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh yeah, I can totally connect to Ever because she thinks she is so gross because she weighs over 300 pounds. Now I don't weigh nearly that much, but I still struggle with my weight every single day :-(. I am 13 and 4'8" and i weigh 101 pounds. I know that may seem like nothing to those who are bigger than me, but I just don't feel like a girl my age and height should be 100 pounds just yet. But after reading this book, I learned there are alot of obese people out there who have way more worries than I do and I should just suck it up because I have nothing worry about. There are still times when I feel like crap, but it all gets better the next morning when I weigh myself and the scale says 99 or 98 pounds, and that just brightens up my day. (But I'm even happier if the scale still reads 90 pounds after dinner.)
Anonymous 5 months ago
This book had a big impact on me. I am not the prettiest girl and am very shy. I am insecure about my body, personality, and talents. This book opened my eyes to new possibilities. Definetely recommend!
Anonymous 9 months ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"I know what they think because she whispers their thoughts into my ear. I can hear them. Clearly. Constantly. "'If I ever look like that, just kill me.' Her name is Skinny." Skinny has been the voice in Ever's head for years. She showed up after Ever's mother died and she started to gain weight. In the years since then, Skinny has only gotten worse--always quick to share the nasty thoughts everyone has for the pathetically fat girl. Ever is fifteen years old and 302 pounds. After one too many embarrassments at school, and far too many hopes being drowned out by Skinny's poison, Ever makes a life-changing decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery--a risky procedure that could finally help Ever regain control of her weight provided she doesn't fall victim to any of the dangerous complications. As Ever starts to lose weight she allows herself to imagine a different life for herself: one where people don't notice her because of her weight but because of her magnificent singing voice. One where she isn't always on the periphery, alone. But even as that life starts to seem possible, Skinny is still there telling Ever each and every thing that's still wrong with her. If Ever really wants to take center stage in her own life, she'll have to confront the toxic voice in her head first in Skinny (2012) by Donna Crooner. Skinny is Crooner's first novel. A gastric bypass patient herself, Skinny is also partially inspired by Crooner's own experiences with the procedure. Novels about characters with body image issues are hard. They are hard to read and they are hard to write. With such a fraught topic, everyone is going to have baggage of some sort that will affect their reading of the story. Having been overweight myself in high school, I'm no exception. I was very wary going into Skinny, unsure of what to expect or how I would feel about what I read. At 272 pages (hardcover), Skinny is a short book. For that reason, I'm willing to let a lot of things slide. The quick transition from Ever's daily life to Ever getting the surgery. The abrupt shift from fat girl to not fat girl. Even the piecemeal information presented about life after the procedure.* The story picks up after the surgery when Ever, with Rat's invaluable assistance, starts the long process of recovery. I love a story where a character has to learn to re-engage with the world. And if anyone needs to re-engage, it's Ever. Watching her subtle changes in self-perception and interaction with people at school is satisfying storytelling at its best. That said, Skinny does have its share of frustrating moments.** While Ever's transformation feels authentic (to the point that it reminded me of what it was like when I was heavier in high school), the sequence of events bothered me. We always know that Ever is going to have the surgery--it's key to the plot and the story's forward motion. It is important for Ever's health. All of that is fine. The problem comes when all of Ever's friends and acquaintances start to interact with her and tell her how great she is as a person after she starts to lose weight. Everyone claims they liked Ever before but, with the notable exception of Rat, no one else makes an effort to stay close to Ever--in a sense not even her own family--when Ever is heavy.*** Skinny's strength is in Ever and her voice throughout the story. With a passion for musicals and a love of the stories they tell, Ever is a multi-faceted character. She is never just a fat girl and I appreciated that as a reader. Characterization of Ever's best friend, Rat (who is fantastic in a mad genius/juvenile delinquent kind of way) and family are also handled well. (I was especially fond of the quirky small town Ever calls home and would have loved a bit more about the setting throughout the story.) With a school musical sub-plot and just the barest hints of romance, Skinny is a strong, entertaining book ideal for readers looking for a novel with an emphasis on the "young" instead of the "adult" in "young adult." Possible Pairings: The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill S. Alexander, North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg, Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart, Fix by Leslie Margolis, Fracture by Megan Miranda, My Big Nose and Other (Natural) Disasters by Sydney Salter, How To Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford *It wasn't really key to the plot but I would have liked more consistent information about what Ever needed to do post-op. Ever is mostly in a daze reading all of the information to avoid overwhelming readers with extraneous text but I am still left wondering how the surgery is going to impact Ever's life further down the line. **Early on, Ever comments that there are no musical parts for overweight girls. And, I mean, that is partially true in that most plays do not make a point of mentioning a characters weight. But it also ignores Hairspray! And, worse, saying there are no parts for overweight girls feels tantamount to saying there are no parts for tall girls or Asian girls or dark-haired girls, etc. I know part of this was Ever's own self-esteem issues but, come on. Musicals are tweaked all the time to accommodate actors who may not fit the "traditional" perception of a character's appearance. Crooner also laid in a lot of details to suggest that Ever's weight problem ties back to her own mother's weight issues but these breadcrumbs never lead to a big revelation--instead they just sit there and Ever confronts Skinny without addressing what might be the underlying problem. ***Granted, Ever's own self-esteem and image issues are obviously at work in pushing people away. But I would have really liked just one other character to tell Ever she was okay and lovable without the surgery. (It isn't this novel's fault, but I really don't think there are enough books in the world with positive, engaged, characters who fall outside normative body shapes. Skinny begins to hint at that but the novel is practically finished by then. And thanks to the surgery, Ever is much more closer to those norms herself.) *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave the book Skinny a 11/12.The title is very helpful, it helps me understand the book perfectly. The length of the whole book is almost long enough to tell me enough information. the chapter length is just the right length to tell me the right amount of info and it keeps me reading. I will recommend this book to anyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is so inspiring. It really lets you know you can do ANYTHING if u just put some effort and have some faith in yourself! GO EVER!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really well written and the point of view of Ever and the feelings she has relating to her struggles are perfectly written. The book can get a little bland and boring at times (like you're waiting for something exciting to happen) but it is a really good book. And Rat sounds like a babe...so thats definitely a bonus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to jumpstart to skinny res one i posted something for u
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its mebthe girl and i dont underrstand wbat youre askibg me to do
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is overwhelming ,insipiring ,and filled with lots of motivation.Reading this book can fill you with happiness with it's good ending . I would read this book if I were you . -Vanessa Desrosiers -Brooklyn New york
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Recomended book by me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author perfectly describes what its like to be fighting with an inner voice, and helps people understand what ots like to be an outcast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and i think its say to say that is is one of the best books ever i think everyone can say the have felt like that voice is all the ever heard i know i can say that because i hear it but different words but same meaning this book is so unspiration i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very powerful and inspiring! I simply couldn't put it down! Is there a chance for a Sequel?