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Starfish



by
Lisa Fipps

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Imprint
Nancy Paulsen
ISBN
9781984814500
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Mild Language , Language: Infrequent Use
$19.56   $16.30
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Ellie is tired of being fat-shamed and does something about it in this poignant debut novel-in-verse.

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules—like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space—her swimming pool—where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life—by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.Author’s note.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Discrimination: Racial Insensitivity/Racism , Language: Mild Language , Language: Infrequent Use

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

256

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

F

AR

4.1: points 4

Genre

Fiction

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Jun 2021

Book Genres

Novels in Verse

Topics

Overweight persons. Bullying. Mothers and daughters. Self-confidence. Friendship. Family life. Texas. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5 Up–A charming novel in verse about a girl struggling with self-worth. Ellie is a middle school girl who is bullied every day for her weight. Whether it comes from classmates, siblings, or even her mother, Ellie is constantly bombarded with comments about her size. Luckily, her friends help keep her head up most of the time. When her best friend Viv moves away, a new friend, Catalina, fits right into her place. Ellie’s dad is also an ally; he stands up to Ellie’s mom and decides to take Ellie to a therapist. With the help of Dr. Wood, Ellie learns how to feel comfortable in her own skin. Once readers start, it will be difficult for them to put this book down. Ellie’s story is heartbreaking and raw at times, and Fipps paints a realistic picture of bullying in a world that equates thinness with beauty. Ellie’s own family, except for her dad, also buy into that ideal, calling her “Splash,” making fun of her, and cataloguing everything she eats. True joy comes in watching Ellie gain confidence in herself and standing up to the bullies, even when they’re family. The race of most characters is not mentioned. Catalina and her family are Mexican American. ­VERDICT A must-have for libraries serving teens and tweens.–Lisa Buffi, Sterling M.S., VA

Horn Book

Since she was five, Ellie (now eleven) has lived by a list of Fat Girl Rules: “Make yourself small”; “Move slowly / so your fat doesn’t jiggle”; “when you hear laughter, / someone’s laughing at your.” She only feels comfortable in her body when she’s swimming or spending time with her dog of her similarly fat best friend, Viv. But when Viv moves away, Ellie is alone in facing the sixth-grade bullies, who call her a whale, slam doors in her face, and—horrifyingly—loosen the screws on her desk so it collapses. It’s not much better outside of school, where strangers make rude comments, or at home, where her mother posts dieting articles on the fridge and even takes her to see a bariatric surgeon without her consent. (If it all seems too cruel to be realistic, an author’s note explains that these experiences are based on her own.) Luckily, Ellie has the support of her dad, a new friend, and an understanding therapist who teaches her to stand up for herself. Ellie’s simple and powerful free-verse poems intensify her emotional turmoil and smoothly destroy stereotypes (“They think I’m unhappy / because I’m fat. / The trust is, / I’m unhappy because / they bully me / about being fat”). Her strength in accepting herself and learning to defy her Fat Girl Rules is an inspiring reminder to all readers that they deserve to “take up space.” RACHEL L. SMITH

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5 Up–A charming novel in verse about a girl struggling with self-worth. Ellie is a middle school girl who is bullied every day for her weight. Whether it comes from classmates, siblings, or even her mother, Ellie is constantly bombarded with comments about her size. Luckily, her friends help keep her head up most of the time. When her best friend Viv moves away, a new friend, Catalina, fits right into her place. Ellie’s dad is also an ally; he stands up to Ellie’s mom and decides to take Ellie to a therapist. With the help of Dr. Wood, Ellie learns how to feel comfortable in her own skin. Once readers start, it will be difficult for them to put this book down. Ellie’s story is heartbreaking and raw at times, and Fipps paints a realistic picture of bullying in a world that equates thinness with beauty. Ellie’s own family, except for her dad, also buy into that ideal, calling her “Splash,” making fun of her, and cataloguing everything she eats. True joy comes in watching Ellie gain confidence in herself and standing up to the bullies, even when they’re family. The race of most characters is not mentioned. Catalina and her family are Mexican American. ­VERDICT A must-have for libraries serving teens and tweens.–Lisa Buffi, Sterling M.S., VA

Horn Book

Since she was five, Ellie (now eleven) has lived by a list of Fat Girl Rules: “Make yourself small”; “Move slowly / so your fat doesn’t jiggle”; “when you hear laughter, / someone’s laughing at your.” She only feels comfortable in her body when she’s swimming or spending time with her dog of her similarly fat best friend, Viv. But when Viv moves away, Ellie is alone in facing the sixth-grade bullies, who call her a whale, slam doors in her face, and—horrifyingly—loosen the screws on her desk so it collapses. It’s not much better outside of school, where strangers make rude comments, or at home, where her mother posts dieting articles on the fridge and even takes her to see a bariatric surgeon without her consent. (If it all seems too cruel to be realistic, an author’s note explains that these experiences are based on her own.) Luckily, Ellie has the support of her dad, a new friend, and an understanding therapist who teaches her to stand up for herself. Ellie’s simple and powerful free-verse poems intensify her emotional turmoil and smoothly destroy stereotypes (“They think I’m unhappy / because I’m fat. / The trust is, / I’m unhappy because / they bully me / about being fat”). Her strength in accepting herself and learning to defy her Fat Girl Rules is an inspiring reminder to all readers that they deserve to “take up space.” RACHEL L. SMITH

Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High
For Grades 5-7

The perfect literary mix for your middle-grade readers. Featuring subject matter a bit more complex and multi-dimensional, this category is packed with captivating novels and fascinating nonfiction. Expect the 12 books offered in tis category to fly off the shelf.

12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year
Interests
Clean Books,Chapter Books/Novels,Fiction,Reluctant Readers,Transitional Readers,Realistic Fiction
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Grades 5-7
Upper Elementary & Junior High
12 books per Year
$195.60 per Year

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