By Donna Cooner
Publication date: Oct. 1, 2012
Scholastic, 272 pages
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.
PS: Enter below to win a copy of Skinny!