Donna Cooner in the YA Editor's Buzz Panel at this year's Book Expo America, I knew it was one book I just had to get my hands on. Not only did this book sound like it was going going to be an enjoyable read, I felt that it might also turn out to be an important one.
Skinny is the debut novel of Donna Cooner and it will be released in October 2012. Aimee Friedman, the book's editor, described the book as one that "could change lives," that was written in an "incredible voice," that is "haunted," but also has "dazzle." She claimed that this "novel is both timely and timeless," with "rich characters" throughout.Does it sound like too much for one book to handle? I promise you, it is not.
The novel is told in first person from the perspective of Ever Davies, a 15 year old girl, who is over 300 pounds and is haunted by a voice she has named "Skinny." Skinny tells Ever everything others are thinking about her, constantly calling her fat and unlovable in any number of cruel ways. The whispers of Skinny are enough to silence her beautiful singing voice which she knows is her great talent.
When embarrassment and frustration reaches its peak, Ever goes through gastric bypass surgery in order to live the life of her dreams. Ever's journey towards happiness is not solved magically overnight with this surgery. As readers, we are swept up in the challenges of Ever's day to day: what to eat, how to exercise, how to get her dream boy to notice her, how to behave in the new social scene around her and how to deal with the fact that the surgery did not silence Skinny.
I loved this book. I believe we all have a "Skinny" inside of us. Maybe our Skinny doesn't whisper to us about our weight or looks; maybe her chant is about our competence at work or school, or how (un)athletic we are. (My voice should probably be called "Sickly" since she's always talking about how my health is holding me back from everything - honestly, she needs to shut up!) With this singular truth, Ever's story hits home from page one - and for those readers who are struggling with their weight that impact will be tenfold. Donna Cooner's writing in Skinny's lines is so steeped in reality that they deliver the stings only one's inside voice can.
Cooner's skills did not stop with Skinny's script. All of the characters in this novel come vividly to life. Ever is surrounded by a fairly large cast of characters of varying importance to the unfolding story; each and every one of these characters were given a rich description and persona. I never once found myself confusing one character for another. In fact, right now, days later, I can recall character names, personalities, and even styles from characters as important as the two boys in Ever's life - her best friend Rat and her dream guy Jackson - to those background characters like Gigi, a girl in the drama program and Wolfgang, a guy her step-sister had a crush on.
I have to agree with the book's editor when she claimed that this book has the ability to change lives. I believe, presented to the right person at the right time, Skinny can make all the difference in the world. For anyone who is insecure, particularly those young adults in the social high school scene, count Skinny as one of your must reads this Fall. This Fall won't be about fighting against the Capitol, the Dark Arts, or any other outside demons; with our new heroine, Ever Davies, YA readers will be learning to fight the most important battle of all: the one against their internal insecurities.
A book this good has to be shared. Let's get the buzz going before it's big release this Fall! I have an Uncorrected Proof Advanced Reader Copy that I received at the 2012 Book Expo America that I'm looking to GIVE TO YOU! I'm opening this Giveaway up to the world - yep, that's right, International - so, don't let the borders bind you: use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for your chance to win.
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