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.
March 9, 2021  |  256 pages
(Read from May 17, 2021 to May 24, 2021)
Grade: C+    (switch to numeric scale)
L/E Ratio: 70% Entertainment, 30% Literature
Writing Quality:
Low High
Low High

Low High
Movie Potential:
Low High

Low High
Sequel Potential:
Low High
It's devastating to meet a protagonist who's so young yet already so overwhelmed by body issues and fat shaming. The negativity comes at her from every direction, whether at school or at home. Young readers will have an easy time knowing who to sympathize with and who to villainize. But there aren't enough characters in the gray area to make this book feel balanced. Also, the free verse style fails to add much flair to the prose and instead makes the chapters seem like outlined sketches.  (+1 vote)