Bullying due to body image is an all too common problem in schools today. In Starfish, Ellie, a plus-sized girl, is tormented relentlessly at school and at home because of her weight, and the problem is only exacerbated when her best friend moves away. Even in the darkest of times, Ellie is able to find joy with the help of a few people in her life and her trusted swimming pool.
Although many of the events in Starfish appear to be farfetched, the incidents appear to be loosely based on Lisa Fipps’s own life. The book reminds readers that even people who feel the worst about themselves can overcome anger, hatred, and cruelty because deep down they desire to be loved. Fipps equips her protagonist with the realistic thoughts of a plus-sized girl at eleven years old who wants nothing more than to be treated like any other kid. Fipps reminds readers that differences in physicalities or culture should be celebrated for their uniqueness, not deprecated.
In addition, the book demonstrates the impact of a support system. With the help of a handful of people and her trusted swimming pool, Ellie was able to grow into the person she is at the end of the book. The story proves that even in the toughest times, just like a wounded starfish, those with enough hope and resilience can recover and be better off for it.
|Penguin Random House
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