Book Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Posted 09/29/2012 by alicemarvels in Contemporary


Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Page Count: 272
Synopsis: 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.


searing look at the damage teens can do to themselves; MC with a strong voice; engaging dialogue


cover model miscast (lovely design, just, why is that girl so thin???); would have liked a more in-depth look at Ever's emotional relationship with food prior to surgery

Donna Cooner absolutely masters the damaged, self-immolating inner voice of a teenage girl with low self-esteem in this Cinderella weight-loss story. She captures perfectly how no one can ever do as much damage to a person as themselves.


In Donna Cooner’s Skinny, main character Ever is at a crisis point with her weight. She’s 15 and over 300 pounds, and no matter what she tries, she can’t seem to shed the lbs. She endures the typical careless passing taunts, snickers and eye-rolls that make high school a special kind of hell for her, but no one makes her feel worse than “Skinny,” the twisted, nasty inner voice that haunts her every waking minute, whispering snarky comments in her ear.

Donna Cooner absolutely masters the damaged, self-immolating inner voice of a teenage girl with low self-esteem in this Cinderella weight-loss story. She captures perfectly how no one can ever do as much damage to a person as themselves.

There are a lot of novels that address being uncomfortable in your own skin, weight issues, depression, fitting in, and navigating relationships with low self-esteem, but this novel was a standout for several key reasons:


Gollum argues with himself

"You are SUCH an ugly heffer! OMG go eat another twinkie"

Adolescence is a beyotch for many girls, but for Ever, it is like being chained to a verbally abusive evil Gollum. Her scathing alter ego, Skinny, is so relentlessly and horrifically nasty, you almost want to have her opt for a very targeted lobotomy instead of gastric bypass surgery.

You don’t have to be 300 pounds to relate to Ever’s daily battle with Skinny. Skinny’s name and face changes for everyone, re-shaping to voice those deep dark hidden self-doubts. Cooner wields Skinny deftly sharply to make her point. Yes, there are mean kids, and yes they are wrong, and bullying sucksβ€”but the inner bully is the first and most potent enemy to vanquish.


Weight Loss With No Easy Answers:

God I hope this Peter Rabbit diet works!

Anyone who has struggled with weight loss or flirted with fad diets knows there is truly no easy way to lose weight. And for some people, it is much more of an uphill battle genetically. As Ever observes,

It just wasn’t fair. God made some people naturally skinny and some people naturally fat. I’d never know how my life would have been different if I’d been one of the ones He made skinny. I didn’t know how He chose. This one will be blonde, with long thin legs and great skin. This one will be short and fat with legs that rub together when she walks. I just knew I wasn’t one of the lucky ones.

Gastric bypass surgery is not an easy decision for Everβ€”she fears the repercussions and the dangers of such risky surgery, and the lifestyle change she must make post-surgery. While I do wish there had been a bit more focus on Ever’s food issues before she resorted to surgery (hypnotherapy and fad diets are hinted at), I do appreciate the portrayal of this difficult process, its downsides, and the long road to health post-surgery. This novel highlights that there are never really any easy answers, and there is no magic wand waving that gives a fairy-tale ending.


Ever’s relationships

Anyone want to take me to the ball?

Ever’s best friend “Rat” has stuck by her side through thick, thin, and 300 lbs. Jackson, her childhood love, has grown apart from her in looks and in social circles, but she still pines for him. Her stepsister Briella probably hates her, and only uses her for homework.

Ever’s surgery changes the way everyone looks at her, and it changes her relationships, some for the worse. Ever has to navigate romantic entanglements, misunderstandings, and frenemies that wouldn’t have been an issue pre-surgery, and it helps her to discover hard truths about friends, crushes, and herself. While the romance is fairly predictable, it is sweet and satisfying.


Bittersweet makeover

"Me? A princess? Shut up!"

Like any girl raised on Meg Cabot, I love a good makeover. And while it’s satisfying to see Ever go from painful humiliation to a gradual sense of normality and acceptance, the big makeover scenes are appropriately bittersweet. She’s taken on by a popular fashionista as a pet project, and while new clothes, makeup and hair do give Ever a bit of a confidence boost, it’s tempered by her realization that the physical improvements can’t make her dreams come true, this isn’t a Cinderella tale, and she still has to get her inner life in order.


Musical Geekery

This song is my jam!

Ever is a talented singer, but she’s been too ashamed to sing publicly due to her weight. A true musical theater nerd in the making, Ever contents herself with voraciously watching musicals, and picks a Broadway song each week to express how she’s progressing emotionally on her weekly weight chart. Getting healthier on the outside means she gets to externalize her musical passion finally, and it makes for some fist-pumping belt-it-out musical fun.


Check out the trailer:



    When I first saw this book I was kind of indifferent. Now I think I’ll check it out. Looks cool!


    I’ve heard a lot of people seem to like this. I’ll definitely check it out at the store when it comes out.


    Well, that trailer sucks…


    We just met her yesterday and her story is SO powerful! I definitely want to read this sometime and will certainly be getting it for my MHS LMC!

      Mary Anne

      I read in the back of the ARC that she went through the surgery herself. After reading the book, I have a whole new respect for gastric bypass surgery patients! I think a common misconception is that it’s an easy fix. It sounds like a total lifestyle overhaul. I could never do it.

    Mary Anne

    I totally agree with this review! I was lucky enough to get an ARC at ALA Anaheim and I absolutely loved it. She’s a very powerful storyteller.

    @Jade, yeah that is not one of the best trailers. They should have just made it simple.


    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already πŸ˜‰ Cheers!


    I loved this book so much i read it 3 times. πŸ™‚
    I really suggest this book to anyone who hasn’t read it!
    Does anyone have other book suggestions?


      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰
      ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P ;P

    This Book Is Amazing

    If you are looking for an drama filled, spirit lifting book, then Skinny is your choice. This book has changed the way I look at obese people, and has made me realize how truly lucky I am. I really enjoyed this book because it hooked me from the beginning and I stuck with it the whole time. I read this 260 page book in three days which is rare for me since I’m not a big reader and I’m twelve. Donna Cooner nailed this one, and I hope it gets lots of good reviews. Five stars from me! I would recommend this book to any one who is ready for a truly, powerful novel. πŸ™‚


    Well I had to read the novel for my school. I really don’t like books but I can certify I loved this book I only read 15 chapters and that’s why I’m using this website to look for summary if you find one tell me




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