When I read the blurb for Starfish I knew I had to buy it. After being a fat kid and a fat adult finding a body-positive middle grade book was honestly surprising.
Starfish is Ellie’s story. Ever since she wore Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party. Since then 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.
This book deals with fat self hate in a way I’ve never seen any other book do. It wasn’t till the writer mentioned she had gone through all the things that Ellie had gone through that it made sense to me. This had to be an #OwnVoices book. Some of the scenes with the therapists are intense especially if you’ve got some of that same fat hate left over yourself. However my favorite scenes are the therapy scenes with her mom, oh man why did I not realize I needed to do this. Ellie is very sweet and she made me love this novel in verse she I also loved that they showed Ellie having friends who didn’t care about her weight.
The world needs more books like this 5/5 I’d read it again in a heartbeat.