starfish fipps

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.---from the publisher

256 pages                          978-1984814500                                Ages 10-13

Keywords:  novel in verse, body image, fat shaming, family life, dysfunctional family, mother/daughter, being yourself, believing in yourself, acceptance, accepting others, weight, bullying, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old


Let's get down to it - what part of yourself are you hiding?  What part of yourself do you pray no one ever sees?

Ellie has just lost her best friend in the world, Viv.  Viv and her family moved away and that left Ellie alone in a world where her mother searches through the trash to find candy wrappers from Ellie's snacks.  In a world where Ellie's mother posts articles about fat people on the refrigerator.

It's hard to hide when you have rolls of fat on your stomach.  It's hard to hide when your own mother is your biggest enemy. It's hard to hide when the bullies at school found a nickname for you years ago and that nickname is Splash because they see you as a "thing" that is as a whale.

Bullying.  Pranking.  Humiliating.  Shame.  Anybody want to sign up for a life of that bunch of crap?  Didn't think so.  Anybody want to be the one to dish it out?  Why do you think you are so much better?

Ellie is living a life where her parents fight over her all the time.  Her own brother and sister call her Splash and write hate mail in their journals about her.  Everyone thinks the answer to "her problems" would be to go on a diet.

Has anybody stopped to think what it's like to treated this be seen this way... not to be respected as being a unique and wonderful individual?

Hope has a chance - it finds a way into the picture when Ellie starts going to therapy.  Ellie starts to learn how to stand up for herself.

It would be rare to find a soul on this planet - especially an 11 year old soul - who couldn't use a little therapy.  Nobody lives that perfect life. Plenty of kids are living in dysfunctional homes.  Millions of people have poor self esteem and are dealing with parents whose self esteem is no better.

What a gift this book is for so many young people.  Here is a girl who talks to a therapist.  What's that like? Is it embarrassing? Can they really help you?

A standing ovation to Lisa Fipps who stood up for so many kids, thin, fat and otherwise who are bruised all over from words and fists.  Yep, you finally have somebody on your side. Her name is Ellie.

The story of an 11-year old girl facing emotional abuse and derision every day because of her weight.  This is how she changes things - she has the courage to go to therapy and learn how to love herself.  You ready?

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

User reviews

Have you read this book? We'd love to hear what you think. Click the button below to write your own review!
Already have an account? or Create an account