Skinny by Donna Cooner, published by Electric Monkey on 4th February 2013
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.
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.
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.
I was hesitant to start this book because I'm not really a big fan of stories which centre on weight loss issues. The plot is about a girl who wishes she was no longer overweight and ends up having quite drastic gastric bypass surgery. However, although she loses weight, she finds that the taunting voice in her head of 'skinny' is still there determined to knock down her confidence at every turn.
Perhaps because I got off on the wrong foot with this book even before starting to read it, I struggled to become engaged with the story. Ever takes a huge step in deciding to have surgery but I wish we had seen more of her trying to lose weight naturally or attempting to exercise, rather than just skipping straight to such a drastic solution to her problem. I felt like because a lot of these things were skimmed over, I didn't fully understand Ever's decision. Her eating is linked to issues she still has with the death of her mother and food is often her way of trying to keep the memories of her mother alive. I would have liked to have seen her family making more of an attempt to explore this with her, instead of just looking at her with disapproval when she eats.
My favourite thing about Ever was her love of musicals and show tunes. This was something which I could definitely identify with. I adore them too! Songs and singing are her escape from the real life issues that she has, although she is afraid to sing in front of people because of her lack of confidence due to her weight and her personal appearance.
Donna Cooner has created a twist on the classic Cinderella fairytale with the reader left guessing throughout if Ever will ever be transformed into the person she has locked up inside. Stepsisters, a Prince Charming (although she does not recognise him at first) and a fairy godmother are all present, as she begins to undergo an uphill battle to change her life around.
Sadly, I never felt like I came to fully understand Ever or her motivations. Also, because of the focus of the story, 'Skinny' wasn't really my kind of book. However, it was still well written and hard-hitting and will probably appeal to teen readers who are looking for titles on this subject matter.