4.2 51
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.


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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.

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.

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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

"Will appeal to girls who struggle with doubts and fears, whether dealing with weight issues, loneliness, or lack of popularity." -- School Library Journal

"Debut novelist Cooner's real-life experience with gastric bypass lends the story an irrefutable authenticity…a crucial text." -- Booklist

"Compelling." -- Kirkus

"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

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.

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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

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