0 10/13/2012 reviews Books

The Voice Inside

This book. You guys, I was crying on a bus as I read this, but couldn’t put it down and spare myself the embarrassment because I needed too intensely to know what happened next and how it all came out. Could I recommend it more highly? I think not.

Skinny.jpgSkinny
by Donna Cooner

Point /Scholastic
ISBN: 978 0 545 42763 0

Ever Davies is fifteen years old, 5’6″, and 302 lbs. She is pretty sure she knows what people think when they look at her, and in case she doesn’t, she has a voice in her head to whisper every one of those nasty thoughts right into her ear. She eventually decides to have gastric bypass surgery, and the voice she calls Skinny fights with a spark of hope that things will change – that she can lose weight, win her childhood friend and longtime crush back, and use her beautiful voice to shine in the school musical.

Things do change, but not always in ways that are what she’d hoped for. She is inducted into the popular group – as a sort of pet project for would-be stylist Whitney, not for herself. She realizes that while people only saw her for her weight, she has been just as guilty of pigeon-holing people and not seeing their whole selves. And she also realizes that there have been people around her willing to see her as more, but she didn’t see it.

There are a lot of ups and downs here, and a lot of layers and lessons that are beautifully woven together to make this book so much richer and deeper than it had to be, but it was clearly close to the author’s heart, as someone who had also been a gastric bypass patient. Ever is such a faceted character, you can’t help but be really invested in her as a real person, so even when she pushes her best friend away, you feel for her and want it to come back together – hence the tears on the bus. I highly recommend this, which has so much to say to teens about seeing other people and finding yourself, but never overplays the point. I’d almost say that every teen girl should be reading this one, especially at a time when bullying is such a hot topic.

Also available as an ebook.

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