English / USA
New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, . – 244 p.
Body image | Fat shaming | Bullying | Peer pressure | Self-confidence | Therapy | Verse novel
Reading age: 10+
White Ravens issue: 2021
Taunted for making a big splash in the pool when she was five years old (and thereafter nicknamed “Splash”), Ellie is constantly pressured by her mother to control her weight. So Ellie creates “Fat Girl Rules” to help ensure that her weight will be less conspicuous: Don’t eat in public; don’t move fast because your fat will jiggle; and more. The one place she can relax is in a pool, where she can do the opposite of making herself seem small – she can spread out like a starfish, float, and feel weightless. Her father, her therapist, and a new friend give her the support she needs to recognize and value her identity beyond her body image. Through humourous moments and amidst heartbreaking pain, readers root for a preteen girl as she resolves how she feels about her self-worth. The verse novel format hones in on the most essential way to communicate the story. Ellie comes full circle through her time in the pool, from sinking after the tight cannonball dive that starts the bullying to floating in the wide starfish pose that gives her solace. [JY]