Tue, October 9, 2012

Skinny by Donna Cooner Review

Skinny book cover

Skinny book cover

Skinny
By Donna Cooner
Publication date: Oct. 1, 2012
Scholastic, 272 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

— Goodreads.com description

I finished Skinny by Donna Cooner about three weeks before starting to write this review. Unlike so many books that I read and love and move on from, this book really resonated with me on a deep, personal level. I just…struggle to find the words for it. At a base level, it’s a great friendship story and a sweet little romance. But for me, it was a lot more.

In Skinny, Ever decides to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Even as the surgery begins to change her life and her weight begins to drop, she still hears a nasty little inner voice named “Skinny” taunting her for her shortcomings.

I get what that’s like, to a much smaller extent. I was significantly overweight in elementary school. In 7th grade, my parents bribed me with a cash reward for joining and making it through a season on the track team. I did, losing the weight and meeting my future best friends in the process. It was more successful than my parents could have ever imagined, and I am and was so thankful to them for challenging me like that.

Only…everyone still thought of me as the overweight kid from back in the day. Even into high school, when I was skinny and had a huge group of friends, a few of the boys I’d known from elementary school would follow me down the hall from time to time, whispering “fatty” in my ear. I’ll never forget these bullies, or how they made me feel. It sticks with me to this day. The outside voices might have quieted, but sometimes I still know how Ever feels in this book, struggling with the little whispering voices that refuse to shut up.

In the acknowledgements, Donna Cooner writes: “I will always struggle with weight and body image issues. This might be your battle, too. Or you might wrestle with negative thoughts that say you’re ‘too stupid’ or ‘too poor’ or ‘too tall’ or ‘too ugly.’ Don’t believe it. You are so much more.”

That is the ultimate message of Skinny, and it’s one that means a lot to me, even well out of my teens. So I can only imagine that this is a book will reach a lot of young adults, both male and female, just when they need it the most. I can’t tell you how important I think this is and how much it touched me. Please, read this book.

And, Donna? Thank you.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Enter below to win a copy of Skinny!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: body image, donna cooner, family
28

28 Comments

  1. Eva said:

    Definitely entering to win — this book sounds amazing, as I also understand the Skinny voice, both in weight terms and in my professional life (I’m a musician, and 99% of us have a “that wasn’t perfect and you can do better” complex).

    Your blog is one of my absolute favorites; I tend to really enjoy most of the books you recommend and I really look forward to your updates. Fellow twentysomethings who love YA are hard to find!

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Thank you, Eva! Your comment made me smile!

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    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  2. Lori said:

    This book sounds incredible. It’s always great to find a book that resonates so well with you. Great review, Anna!

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    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  3. Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee said:

    Thank you for sharing this book, Anna. As someone who continues to struggle with weight and self-worth, I truly enjoy books like this. It’s a hard battle, even though everyone seems to go through it in some way, and I feel as if books that actually talk about it always get brushed aside.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  4. Christi the Teen Librarian said:

    Thanks for your review. It’s amazing what we remember from our youths, isn’t it? The people doing the bullying probably have no recollection of the damage they’ve caused. I felt Donna did a great job with Skinny…

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  5. Estelle said:

    I love when books can hit you in the gut, and thanks for sharing your story with us. This book just moved up a bunch of notches after reading this. xo

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  6. Magan said:

    Oh, Anna! I love this post. (VERY MUCH) I think I could probably relate to this book so very much. I am almost nervous because all of my personal experiences will surely come rushing back to me too. I love hard hitting, very personal books that evoke this kind of response an review, though. I really am so glad you wrote this and shared. I’ll be reading this sooner rather than later for sure.

    And big hugs to you, friend. You are beautiful and I very much adore you. I could kick those bullies asses for being such… asses…to you. xo

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  7. Tara said:

    Bullying is such a hard thing to get over, even years after it’s happened to us. Know that you are a STRONG, BEAUTIFUL, INDEPENDENT woman who is far better than those d-bag bullies.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  8. Ellen said:

    Awesome post, thank you for being so open in your review. I think we all have a Skinny voice beating us down in someway. Mine has attacked different areas of my life over the years.
    I’m looking forward to reading this one.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  9. elena said:

    I really love this review! Bullying is really scarring and I’m glad that this book handles it so well. The message is an important one for anyone, I think. Thank you so much for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  10. Lauren Ellice said:

    I had a similar experience in elementary/middle school… I was overweight (and much taller than the other kids!) until I started my freshman year in high school. Kids can be so cruel, and it’s something that sticks with you, even as an adult. I will have to read this book, as I’m sure it will resonate with me as well.

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    Right there with you! I think you’ll like this one!

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    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  11. Danielle said:

    This sounds like a powerful book and I would love to read it! Great giveaway and review!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  12. We Heart YA said:

    Wow, sounds really intense. All 4 of us have struggled — with different aspects and to varying degrees — with our self-image; that’s a pretty normal life experience, right? So we’re glad that books like this — and WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson — are coming out to shed light on that and (hopefully) help young people get through it. We’re especially glad that you connected with it; that’s the best kind of book-love experience. :)

    We also think it’s so important for people to be honest about their struggles — as you have been here, and as many celebrities are trying to be (Katie Couric, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera, etc.).

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    I’m right there with ya, chicas!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  13. BritneyW said:

    I love books that have such a positive and serious message. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  14. Allyson Rida said:

    I have a similar experience. I was fat. Yup, no other way to say it. I tried to lose the weight and it worked pretty good, but boys are still laughing at me and said I’m fat, probably because my face is more rounded, it’s been in my family for a long time, how can they blame having a round-face to being fat? It’s really annoying :/

    The book’s subject matter sounds great, but I’m not too sure I want to read it. Sure, I’ve never taken a surgery before to lose weight, but it still hit a little too close to home, might be a little hard for me to read it… Anyway, the TBR list will be fine by now. :)

    [Reply]

    Anna Reply:

    <3 <3 <3

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    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  15. Ashlee said:

    I think all of us have a voice inside of our heads concerning our body image. Looking forward to this one.

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    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  16. Cait said:

    Anna,

    Thank you for getting personal with this post…your genuineness makes the message resonate so much more. I had not heard of the book until now, but it is definitely on my list. Thought I’ve never been overweight by society’s standards, I’m a short curvy girl, so I’ve had plenty of those negative thoughts in my head. I think this will be one of those books I have on my classroom shelves!
    Thanks for the great post!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  17. Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know said:

    I was torn about this one until I read your review of it. Now I know I must check it out! Thanks for featuring it and hosting this giveaway!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  18. Elise said:

    This sounds like an amazing book that will connect with not only the age of Ever, but also those who have done their darnedest to beat down their own Skinny voices. Thank you for doing this review and thank you Donna Cooner for writing this book!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  19. Jen said:

    This sounds like a tough read. And hugs to you for sharing your story. LOVEYOURFACE. I’ll find them and punch them and kick them for it. But take a look at you now :) you’re fabulous in every way, shape, form!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  20. Celeste O said:

    Sounds interesting

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  21. April Books & Wine said:

    It takes balls to be so honest.

    I love this review.

    I think Skinny is going to be one of my very next reads.

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  22. Becky@Cardigans Coffee and Bookmarks said:

    What a heartfelt post. I think many people, myself included, can relate either first hand or through a friend. I look forward to reading this!

    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

  23. Young Adult Book Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner said:

    [...] adult Keywords: gastric bypass surgery, body image issues, broadway, weight loss Recommended by: Anna at Anna Reads Format read: ARC from ALA [...]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

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    [Reply]

    Posted on: Tue, October 9, 2012

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