From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this debut novel, Cooner fictionalizes her experiences with extreme-weight-loss surgery. Ever Davies, 15, thinks she would be perfect for the part of Cinderella in her high school musical. She can sing, she knows what it's like to have a stepmother and stepsisters at home, and most people tend to ignore her since she weighs more than 300 pounds. Even Jackson, a childhood friend and now a hunk, looks right through her. Food has been a comfort since her mother died; however, her weight is becoming a serious health issue. And Skinny, the little voice in her head, keeps up a running commentary about Ever's weight and total incompetence. Despite her concerns about the risks of surgery, Ever finally undergoes gastric bypass. Her geeky friend, Rat, stands by her throughout the process, helping her chart her progress with pounds lost and pertinent songs. As she loses weight, Ever learns about the people around her-her stepsister Briella, who uses shopping to soothe herself when her dad ignores her; her new friend, Whitney; and even Rat, who might be Prince Charming in disguise. She forces herself to enroll in drama class to qualify for the musical and finds that she enjoys it. And as she becomes more confident, she realizes that Skinny's voice isn't as loud as it once was. The surgery is discussed in detail; readers can see this isn't a quick, easy solution, and that Ever's problems don't magically go away. This story will appeal to girls who struggle with doubts and fears, whether dealing with weight issues, loneliness, or lack of popularity.-Diana Pierce, Leander High School, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Ever is 15 years old and 302 pounds. She can’t go swimming, drive a car, or even walk up the stairs without running out of breath. Weight Watchers, fat camp, miracle diets, a hypnotherapist—she has tried it all. But after a chair snaps beneath her in front of the whole school, she decides upon the dramatic and potentially dangerous solution of gastric-bypass surgery. As the weight begins to drop, Ever becomes the pet makeover project of popular Whitney, and this exciting new relationship pulls her away from her ever-loyal best friend, Rat. Debut-novelist Cooner’s real-life experience with gastric bypass lends the story an irrefutable authenticity as Ever learns firsthand the gory details of both the surgical procedure and the aftermath of diet changes, nausea, and dumping. Cooner uses Ever’s imaginary antagonist, Skinny, to drive home the message that Ever’s self-hatred is what is holding her back more than anything else. And while Skinny’s attacks aren’t incorporated especially smoothly, this remains a crucial text for any teen considering such a life-changing surgery. Grades 7-10. --Daniel Kraus