Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Goodreads: 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.


Expected publication: October 1st 2012 by Scholastic

First things first–I’m really hoping that the publishers listen to us reviewers by replacing their cover model.  The model in no way represents Ever (even at her lowest weight).  This book is all about loving yourself the way you are, and it’s such a shame that the first impression and overall selling image is of a non-curvy girl.

I also could have done without the overdone Cinderella plot (with the two stepsisters, stepmother and all!) Although Cooner adds issues of self-esteem and body image into the mix, there is still the classic story running throughout the entire book.    It is the inclusion of Skinny (a voice inside of Ever’s head) that differentiates the book from others.  Even though Skinny isn’t a real person, she might as well be for overweight teen Ever.  As obesity rates climb, many readers will able to relate to Ever as they too, likely experience a sort of ‘Skinny’ that influences their daily lives.  When Ever undergoes risky gastric bypass surgery, I think Cooner did a good job at not glamourizing the surgery.  Information about the surgery is given in a non-preachy way and both the good and bad effects (physical/emotional) are presented.  It’s interesting to note that in the author’s acknowledgements, Cooner discloses that like Ever, she too underwent gastric bypass surgery.  This real life experience undoubtedly helped to create the emotional character of Ever.

Overall, gastric bypass will unlikely be a viable option for most readers, and I do wish that Cooner made Ever more thoughtfully consider the likelihood of complications and death. I feel like it was an easy fix.  However, as mentioned, many readers will be able to relate to ‘Skinny’ and the take away message about loving yourself and being confident in your abilities always serves as a great reminder to teens.

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