I have battled weight for the last decade and recently lost 55 pounds through a rather extreme program so I was very curious about Skinny when it came into the library. Ever is a 15-year-old who is obese at 302 pounds. Her mother died when she was young and she filled the painful void with eating. Her mother struggled with her weight before cancer took her and Ever inherited her mother’s challenges. The part when she talked about how her mother makes everything better with food struck me hard. I am that way and need to remember not to pass that habit onto my children. Ever deals with bullying and cruel insults from her classmates, but the worst bully of all is the voice inside her. Ever calls her “Skinny.” Skinny is the voice that tells her she is no good and that no one will ever love her and everyone is laughing at her even if no one is. Ever has an incredible singing voice that few people ever hear. She would love to be part of the musical but her weight keeps her from doing anything. Ever decides to have risky surgery to make her stomach smaller to lose weight. As Ever shrinks in size she realizes her cruel passenger, Skinny, is harder to shake. Ever learns about friendship and how she was the one who held herself back for so long. The author, Donna Cooner underwent this same type of surgery. This book is a very real, moving story of a teen who summons up the bravery to change and the true friend who helps her through it. Cooner does not sugar coat how difficult this transition is for her character. This book is much more than a weight loss book. It shows how a person can change and the reward of taking such a leap. I couldn’t put this down and I miss the characters now that the book is over.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Talk about habits that can hurt us. Drugs, overeating… etc.
Talk about the friendship between her and Rat.
Talk about makeovers. Have you ever had one? What did it do for Ever?
Talk about the letter Ever’s father wrote to her.
Talk about exercise. How did that change Ever?
Talk about the importance of playlists. What songs would they put on their playlist?
Talk about how Ever’s mother made everything better with food.
Talk about how Ever’s relationship changed with Jackson throughout the years. And with Rat.
Discuss Ever’s relationship with her stepsisters and stepmother.