Skinny follows Ever Davies, a fifteen year old who weighs 302 pounds and is suffering from an eating disorder. Skinny is the voice she hears in her head that is constantly insulting her. Sick of her weight, Ever decides the only way she can be happy is if she gets gastric bypass surgery that will stop her from eating so much. I’ve read quite a few books about girls facing eating disorders that I’ve really enjoyed, but I wasn’t so keen on Skinny. Rather than focusing on Ever’s mental health problems, it turned into a cheesy high school drama.
I think the biggest problem was that the book didn’t fully commit to any theme. It tries to fit in Ever’s weight problems, depression, family issues, romance and cliché high school drama all together, which means none of the issues are actually fully explored. For example, I didn’t think we saw enough of Ever actually trying to do anything about her weight. We just hear Skinny insulting her and Ever feeling sorry for herself that she can’t lose weight. She would complain about how nothing worked for her, but we never actually see her try to eat healthily or anything. If her struggle to resist food or her attempts to diet had been explored I think it would have been way more interesting, instead she just eats massive amounts of food and then decides the only solution is to get surgery. I understand that’s the case for some people and I totally support everyone’s right to make their own decisions regarding their bodies, but it was hard to sympathise with Ever when we never saw her do anything at all to help herself. It also seemed to me that she only wants to lose the weight so the boy she’s in love with will notice her, which I think is a terrible message in a book targeting young girls
I really didn’t connect with Ever. She doesn’t have much personality, all we really know about her is that she struggles with her weight and enjoys musical theatre. Obviously a book about a girl suffering with an eating disorder is going to constantly refer to her weight issues, but when I’m reading a book I want to read about an interesting, well rounded character. Ever simply isn’t that, all she does is insult and compare herself to every girl she sees. She hates her stepsisters because they are beautiful and thin, but when one of them tries to talk to her, she’s horrible to them. I found it hard to sympathise with her when she has such an entitled attitude. Why would anyone be nice to her when she goes around judging everyone constantly?
I did like the characters Briella and Rat though. Briella is Ever’s beautiful and popular stepsister and Rat is Ever’s best friend. I liked that the author didn’t make Briella the stereotypical mean girl cheerleader (even though that’s what Ever treated her like) or Rat the standard cheesy nice guy. To be honest, I was rooting for those two far more than Ever.
Overall, Skinny wasn’t a bad book, it just didn’t meet my expectations. I do think this would be more appropriate for younger teenagers than myself. I’m sorry that this review isn’t more detailed, I was just really underwhelmed by it and couldn’t really muster the energy to go into loads of detail about it.
Have any of you guys read this, or can you recommend a book that deals with eating disorders well?