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 … 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.
A beautiful & poignant tale! This was a fast-paced, quick read that everyone of all ages should read. With short 1-2 minute chapters, the audiobook flew by for me and I found myself wanting more of Ellie’s story. This honest view of a young girls struggle with constantly being bullied and fat-shamed hit so close to home for me. I just wanted to reach through the book and give her a huge hug.
Her home life isn’t that much better, with a mom that’s constantly pushing for her to have the same weight-loss surgery her aunt almost died from, and her best friend moved to another state. I enjoyed watching Ellie’s journey as she goes through therapy and gains a new lease on life. I wish this book was required reading, especially for middle-school students, it might give a new perspective and same some heartache.
This is a book every single middle school student should read! Ellie has been bullied her whole life for being fat. Her older sister nicknamed her Splash for making such a big splash in the pool her fifth birthday party. That name unfortunately stuck. Ellie has a list of Fat Girl Rules she wrote that she follows. The only time Ellie feels good in her own skin is when she is in the pool and she stretches all out and feels like a starfish. Ellie has her dad, her therapist and her friends Val and Catalina who love and accept Ellie just as she is. I absolutely loved this book and its wonderful characters. There are a few characters I enjoyed Ellie standing up for herself and finally speaking her mind! I received an advanced readers copy and all opinions are my own.
I really enjoyed reading Starfish. I read it in just a few hours, I didn’t want to put it down (only had to put it down to have a good cry a few times). Ellie’s story was heartbreaking and then she found her voice. As someone that has struggled my whole life with my weight, this book really hit home for me. Thank goodness I didn’t have a mother like hers but I was bullied at school very terribly. Thank goodness for her dad, think he was her rock through all this. I think a lot of people would relate to this book. The writing style wasn’t what I am normally used to but it made the book very unique. I hope the author writes more about Ellie and her family. I want to know how everything turns out for her in the next years as she grows up more. Any young person needs to read this to know that they are not alone when it comes to people bulling. Glad I stumbled upon this book and took a chance on this new to me author.
So, I just read the first few pages of the book and all I have to say is…interesting, very very very interesting. Elle seems like such a different main character and her personality is quite intriguing to be honest. I can whole-heartedly say that I am definitely very excited to see her progression to becoming more confident in herself as the book goes on. I’m especially glad to see a book like this being written because we truly need so many more amazing books like this one. We need books that advocate for ideas such as size doesn’t matter and that you should love all of yourself. I can’t wait to get my hands on a full copy of this book and read through Elle’s journey. The way the book is written is also a little different. The author’s syntax and diction is quite precise and the tone of the first few chapters seems to be leading into a huger (that’s not a word), more climactic tone.
“You don’t deserve
to be seen or heard,
to take up room,
to be noticed.
Make yourself small.”
This little novel gave me all sorts of feels. Growing up is so very hard for kids and now we are in the heavy midst of a catastrophic pandemic. Growing up is even harder and coming into the person you’re meant to be is even more confusing and painful. Ellie, knows the pain of having genes that work against you. People are cruel, even when they think that their words are helpful. Tearing others down is easy. Praising them for who they are takes effort that many aren’t willing to put forth. The only escape Ellie has, is to lie completely free and floating in a pool. When she stretches out she feels limitless like a starfish. The ocean is hers.
This is a wonderful tale of becoming who you are and the journey it takes to get there. I recommend this for youth of all ages, sizes, colors and views. It is important to help the our future learn to encourage each other to reach for the stars, rather than trying to reach them first.