Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (5)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (2)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

29 / 51 states. 57% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

26 / 50 books. 52% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

13 / 26.2 miles. 50% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

68 / 104 books. 65% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

44 / 52 books. 85% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

74 / 165 books. 45% done!
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Body-Positive MG Novel Empathy-Inducing and Empowering

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ellie Montgomery-Hofstein is used to people gawking at her—and not in a good way.  She's always been bigger than her peers, which has made her the recipient of relentless bullying.  Even her mother is constantly haranguing her for being fat.  Now that Ellie's best friend has moved away, she's facing sixth grade alone, making her even more of a target than usual.  The only place she finds peace is in her backyard swimming pool where she feels weightless and free.

When bubbly Catalina Rodriguez moves in next to Ellie and welcomes her into her boisterous Mexican-American family, Ellie discovers another safe place.  With the help of her new friend and a caring therapist, she starts learning to stand up for herself.  Will these new skills help her face the biggest bully in her life?  Can Ellie help her mother understand that Ellie deserves to be loved just as she is?  Can Ellie finally free herself from the Fat Girl Rules and embrace her big, beautiful self? 

Starfish—a debut novel by Lisa Fipps—is a quick read, but one that sticks with you.  Written in free verse, it's raw and honest.  Anyone who's struggled with their weight, or been bullied for any reason, will empathize with Ellie's pain.  Hopefully, those who bully will also be moved by her story.  Starfish really is impactful as it teaches lessons about the impact that words have, for both good and ill, on other people; how bullying, whether done by children or adults, affects people; the importance of kindness and acceptance; and the empowering magic of learning to stand up for one's self.  This is an important, touching read that I hope kids will take to heart.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Wonder by R.J. Palacio)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for difficult subject matter (body shaming, bullying, and verbal and emotional abuse)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. This is a book I've been meaning to read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you read it. It's a quick read, but it has really stuck with me.

  2. This one has such a powerful message, and it sounds like it is packed in a really fun read. Great review!

    1. It definitely has a powerful message and I think the free verse format makes it especially approachable, even for kids who don't really like to read.

  3. This sounds like a great middle grade novel. I was thin when I was young and never experienced any traumatic bullying for any reason but have had weight problems since my twenties. So can understand how it undermines one's self esteem.

    1. Same here. It's hard enough being overweight without people teasing you for it! And kids are especially vulnerable since fitting in is so important to them.

  4. What a good message for a MG book.

    1. Agreed. There need to be more books like this!

  5. This sounds wonderful. Sadly, my experience tends to be that bullies don't read so would probably not see this book. Perhaps schools could do a little more by introducing this kind of fiction to English Lit. lessons.

    I wanted to thank you for mentioning Regina Scott's American Wonders series on here a couple of months ago. I just read the first one, A Distance too Grand, and absolutely 'loved' it. :-)

    1. I do think this would be a good one for teachers to read and recommend. I feel like any time we can see into someone's heart and understand where they're coming from a little more, it helps us to be more empathetic and kind.

      Isn't the Scott series fun? Lark over at Lark Writes"> recommended it to me and I've really been enjoying it. Glad you are as well.

  6. I needed a book like this when I was growing up. I was teased and bullied from fourth grade on because of my weight, among other things. It really messes with your psyche, and I still struggle with it now 30 years later.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Pam. I think we understand a little bit better now the psychological toll bullying takes on people. Schools seem to be better now at dealing with it than when I was a kid. Unfortunately, kids are still kids so it happens way too often. It's so tough on those who are bullied, even many years later. Ugh.

  7. We need more empowering books like this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Sadly, I was a bully in elementary school, and I have tried to be a better/kinder adult. Being a kid is hard.

    1. Interesting, Kami. I definitely believe that people can change, especially when they make a conscious effort to do so. Also, bullies are usually picking on others because of their own issues. Being a kid IS hard all around and sometimes, unfortunately, kids take out their difficult emotions on other people causing more problems all around. It's a sad cycle.

  8. This sounds so well done and it's such an important topic.


Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive