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Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creatFifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself....

Title : The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780763620912
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Reviews

  • Suzanne
    2018-11-13 18:09

    I am not sure how I feel about this one. I even slept on it before reviewing it. On one hand, it is a good teen book (Why, it's a Printz Honor!). On the other, why does every fat girl protagonist have to be so darn pathetic? There must be some sort of checklist authors use for an overweight novel:* Fat Girl's best friend has moved away over the summer leaving Fat Girl all alone (subsequently Fat Girl spends lunch eating Twinkies in some remote part of the school)* Fat Girl has a super skinny mom with issues (in fact, her whole family sucks)* Fat Girl's family is, however, rich (which explains why Fat Girl has a disposable income for junk food)* The popular girls in school are bulimic (that's probably why they are so mean--they are awful hungry!)* Fat Girl undergoes a physical transformation at the end and gets the guy!!!Check. Check. Check. Check. Aaaaand Check. All the stereotypes are aligned... Oh look! The Big Dipper.Although it is adult chick lit (and not the YA genre "The Earth..." falls into), I admired that author Jennifer Weiner keeping Cannie Shapiro (Good In Bed) heavy. However, Cannie Shapiro was still pathetic chasing that no-good-exboyfriend around like a fool. So for once, I'd like to read a novel where the heavy weight heroine is just that--a heroine. Make her confident, make her well-dressed, make her family normal, make her popular, make her someone who doesn't sleep on top of Frosted Flakes and cashews. Just stop making her a sassy loser.Disclaimer: I was not heavy teen nor am I heavy adult, so maybe I am totally full of crap and have no idea what I am talking about. But I know Lorie will concur with my review.

  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2018-12-03 18:18

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Here’s an important message to all of the people who made this selection top the Banned Books List . . . . Do you actually think that by removing stories like these from school libraries that it will also magically eliminate any nastiness from ever occurring to your speshul snowflakes???? I mean, I understand that Virginia might not be everyone’s idea of a great time, but silencing her won’t keep the superbadawful stuff from happening.The good news is, I loved Virginia enough for at least 20 or 25 naysayers. And I loved the messages contained in this little slice of awesome even more. Sure things got wrapped up in a tidier way than would happen in real life, but it’s a YA book FFS. What’s the message supposed to be? “Everything is horrible and life sucks?” That’s what the grit lit genre is for. So what kind of things are within the pages of this little gem? Well, I’ll tell you. But first, to all the helicopter parents out there . . . . The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things tells some straight up truths such as . . . . “Losing your virginity is sloppy and painful and about as fun as getting your toe amputated, so it should definitely happen with someone you care about.”Virginia learns that maybe her brother didn’t really deserve to be put up on a pedestal like she always thought when he gets kicked out of college . . . And discovers that while she feels this way . . . . “I know what it’s like to hate your body so much that you want to hurt it.”Even a person who she thought was perfect, might be hiding the truth about what they do to get there. Most importantly, Virginia eventually comes to terms with the fact that this line of thinking is disgusting . . . . Because everyone deserves friendship and love – no matter their size. I loved watching Virginia find her voice and realize that . . . .“I think people can choose to be victims or they can choose to be empowered and to carry on. That’s what I want. To be empowered.”Highly recommended.And to any youngster who might be reading this review who can relate to Virginia. Please remember . . . .

  • Shelly
    2018-12-02 21:10

    Realistic characters. Well written. Virginia could be someone you actually know. Virginia could even be you. Anyone who's ever been given a variation of the criticism, "You could be pretty if..." and anyone who was "chubby" in high school and looked down on for it will be able to greatly empathize with Virginia. One thing that struck a note of reality with me was Virginia's mother. I used to teach and had a student who transferred to my school a couple of months into the school year. She was in one of my classes. Her transfer grades were excellent, all As and Bs. Remarks and comments in her file from previous teachers indicated she was also well behaved and nice to be around. All that changed when she came to the school where I was teaching. Her mother had gone back to work as a child pyschologist, overseeing an entire hospital based clinic for troubled teens. The mother was so focused on her work and so convinced her two children were "perfect" that when her son and daughter both began acting out at school, the woman refused to believe it was her children. She kept trying to blame everyone else. She actually said in a conference with one of the vice principals and me that her daughter was NEVER a problem until she came to us and clearly we had it out for her child. Later, that vice principal told me that before I arrived for the meeting, he'd mentioned that it wasn't just big behaviors and failing grades that was getting the girl in trouble but small things as well such as gum chewing. The mother stood there hotly denying her daughter even chewed gum while the girl stood right beside her blowing huge, pink bubbles and popping them. Reading the constant denial and unwillingness to see her children's imperfections that Virginia's mother displays throughout the book reminded me so much of this woman I met years ago. Another theme that strikes a reality note is Virginia turning her anger onto herself, both physically and mentally. Anyone who's ever pinched, hit, cut, or burned themselves and had thoughts of, "If only I weren't fat/stupid/ugly/short/tall/etc" will truly grasp the torment Virginia puts herself through.An excellent book that I highly recommend!

  • emma
    2018-11-28 13:59

    i think i have to...sleep on this????either i have all the feelings in the world or none whatsoever.hard to say which. review to come

  • Abby
    2018-11-13 14:16

    The thing I hate about most realistic teen fiction, especially those attempting to tackle "issues," like self-esteem and body image, and so forth, is that the characters always experience some profound transformation within in the span of a few months, and everything gets wrapped up and tied with a nice little bow by the end of the book. This book was no exception to the rule. Our heroine, Virginia, is a misfit teen who hides from the world by immersing herself in the Internet, movies & pop culture magazines. She lives by the Fat Girl Code of Conduct, which is neatly summarized for us in one her "lists" in the first few pages (and actually is one of the better inventions of the book), and feels out of place in her seemingly perfect family. But when her older brother, who Virginia has always worshiped, gets into trouble and has to leave school, Virginia starts seeing that her family isn't as perfect as she thought -- and that she has plenty to be proud of herself. I think there are some valuable messages in here to teen girls about body image, being yourself and not putting people on pedestals -- but also think that the simplistic and heavy-handed fashion in which those messages are delivered might be off-putting to many teens, who are much more sophisticated readers than this book assumes they are. Maybe this book is more for tweens than older teens, but still I think there are plenty of other books girls could read and draw the same conclusions from that are better written and have more believable characters.

  • Tatiana
    2018-11-12 15:10

    An "issue" book which is too simplistic and life lessons-ridden to be enjoyed at my advanced age. I want something that can surprise me. And Printz Honor? And on the top of the banned books list? WHY? Is this about those second base scenes? Or there is more to come?

  • Christina
    2018-11-17 22:05

    I LOVED this book in high school. I remember reading it repetitively because I just adored the main character, Virginia Shreves. I remember relating to her so, so well and supporting her over and over, always urging her on. I was her biggest fan. More often than not, I found myself wishing for what she wished for, dreaming of what she dreamt, and hoping and believing in her, because if everything could turn out okay for Virginia, it could turn out for me, too.Mostly, I remember thinking that we were so alike, and yet so different, because whereas she overcame her insecurities, I was still waiting for my miracle. But she gave me hope that it could - and would - happen.This is definitely one of those books that can make you laugh and cry all at once. It's awkward, funny, embarrassing, depressing. Just about any teenager can relate to this at some point. To be honest, I can't believe I forgot about this book until now. This book was like my bible in high school. I'd recommend it to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider. Even if it was just for a few seconds.

  • Stephanie A.
    2018-11-26 19:21

    Ooh, I've been waiting to tear this one apart.This book is terrible on multiple levels, so many I might even have forgotten some. The ridiculous title tried to warn me away, but no, I had to get it because I really wanted to read about an eating disorder that was the opposite of anorexia. On that front, it was really stereotypical - fat girl belongs to family of thin/athletic/super-successful people, and feels like an outcast because of it. Said girl confides in one special teacher. There is an excessively gorgeous, popular, and skinny superbitch for a nemesis, who will inevitably turn out to be bulimic because that's just how high school goes. Then, the book adds a few layers of dreck with the following elements, in ascending order of terribleness:-As part of her campaign to take charge of her life and be different, she gets her eyebrow pierced and thinks this looks good. This is an admittedly petty charge to level at the book - I don't quite get why you'd want metal sticking out of your face, but hey, have at your personal preference. At least you can take it out later if you change your mind.-Her supposedly perfect older brother, whom she idolizes, is accused of date rape. Immense amounts of sympathy are heaped on the poor girl because he took advantage of her while she was drunk. No sympathy whatsoever is given to the brother, who was also drunk - so drunk that he barely even remembers sleeping with her, and can't remember her saying no (so, like, maybe there is room for interpretation as to how this event actually went down?). Nope, the irritating protagonist just keeps pounding home the fact that what he did was so unbelievably HORRIBLE and REPULSIVE and DISGUSTING that she can hardly even look at him. Meanwhile, I contemplate ways of strangling fictional characters.-Early in the book, she outlines and stubbornly clings to her rules that make up the "Fat Girl Code of Conduct" with respect to dating. Basically, it consists of being a cheap whore so boys will like you. Seriously! Apparently, you should let boys fool around with you - always in utter secrecy; no one is to know that you even know one another's names, because it would be so embarassing...for the guy - and never ever ever broach the idea of "dating" or being considered a "girlfriend." In fact, at one point she actually says that the idea is to let boys have the milk for free. (Oh my God, this is the stupidest 15 year old ever.)This is the part that drives me nuts, because I don't understand how this idea would enter your head. You don't think you're attractive? Fine: lose weight; problem solved. If you think you're too ugly to kiss but not too ugly to be seen up close and personal while naked...your thinking is backwards. If you don't think can lose weight, and also think you're so unattractive that it would repulse people to be seen with you in public, here is a novel concept: don't bother with relationships at all. Abstain from the business entirely until you feel like you're worth having geunine affection bestowed upon you. But where in the world would you come up with the idea to pursue nothing more than meaningless and frankly humiliating sex? At age 15, I hasten to repeat, meaning you are just barely old enough to start having sex at all and have literally decades ahead of you to see if maybe, just maybe, a dude will want you to be his girlfriend no matter what you weigh. Even if you don't sleep with him first. It all just makes me want to start headdesking and never stop. The stupidity burns so hard it hurts.

  • Wendy
    2018-11-21 22:03

    Mixed feelings for several different reasons, but overall I liked this very much and read it in one sitting. Just to touch on one: if the narrator really ate as much as the book claims, and exercised that little, she'd be a lot larger than the book says she is. It annoyed me that the doctor specifically mentioned her not being "obese"--I can see how being somewhat overweight would make her feel like she stood out in her thin family, but it wouldn't be enough for other people to notice her as being particularly fat, certainly not for people to glare at her when they see her eating a piece of pizza. I have a feeling that this might alienate the very teenagers the book wants most to reach. How would a teenager who's more overweight than Virginia feel reading that Virginia gets made fun of... and yet only falls into the "overweight" category? I know lots of teens who are more than twenty or thirty pounds overweight--the only figure mentioned.

  • Heather
    2018-11-30 16:28

    Virginia is a big girl, both in size and personality. As the youngest sibling of three in an accomplished, attractive and brunette family, Virginia feels out of place with her blonde hair, voluptuous figure, and unconventional likes. Convinced she must have been switched at birth, Gin has difficulty relating to anyone in her family, though she is fairly close to her older sister and idolizes her older brother, Byron. Nevertheless, Gin feels inferior to her perceived perfect family. Her mother’s vigorous exercise routines and preoccupation with weight gain in addition to her father's obvious eye for svelte women do nothing to help her self esteem. Before long, Virginia develops a go to life guide also known as "The Fat Girls Code of Conduct". It's both sad and endearing to see that Virginia's guide is astute, witty and yet self depreciating.Despite Virginia’s size, her feelings of inadequacy, longing, and unattractiveness have been felt by all, making her undeniably relatable. I felt her observations about her peers were spot on and but in spite of that, her assumptions about her family and more importantly, herself, leave something to be desired. Consequently, one event shakes Virginia’s long standing, high esteem for her family.“The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things” is the story of a girl, struggling to find her place, accept her size, and take charge of her life. While I found Virginia’s voice to be relatable and incisive, I can’t in good conscious give it more than a three star rating. Byron’s actions felt like a contrived plot device that distracted me from Virginia’s voice. It would have been more prudent for the author to allow Virginia to come into her own acceptance and revelations of the imperfections of her family on her own accord, not via a familial incident. Nevertheless, this story is an enjoyable read that I would certainly recommend to female readers.

  • Laura
    2018-11-30 16:24

    While this book had a positive message, it was kind of hard to find underneath all the sleaziness and profanity. I just don't see why people can't write uplifting, inspirational books without tossing in so much filth. And what's more is that we applaud these books and give them awards. This book is a Printz Honor and I thought that it had the potential to be good, but it chose not to. There were several questionable scenes and content that make it something I wouldn't recommend. I was disappointed that the author felt she had to put so much language in the book. The f-word was used several times. When reading this book I didn't love the main character, I really thought that she was messed up, and seeing her family I didn't have to wonder why. While she did finally work things out the end I didn't like her methods of "finding" herself and thought that they were a little extreme and sometimes down right irresponsible. I was very disappointed that this book was given the Printz Honor - sure it had a nice story line, with a girl who finally grew up. But when you had to wallow through such filth and grime to get there, it wasn't really worth it.*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...

  • Kate
    2018-11-12 15:19

    I picked up this book hoping for a funny, light summer read; however, I found that the book presented many serious issues that remained fairly unresolved by the end of the book. (WARNING: Triggers for self-harm, eating disorders, and general self-hatred below, as well as spoilers) Carolyn Mackler introduces the prevalent issues of self-hate in her book, "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" in an unabashed manner; she uses language and describes actions that are realistic and what many people actually think or do to themselves. Though the authenticity is appreciated, the self-hate is never truly addressed as being unhealthy, or even bad. The only mention of Virginia's self-harm behavior as being bad for her health is by her doctor, Dr. Love, who merely suggests she try kickboxing instead of hurting herself. Though Virginia's self-harm is limited in the book, by not showing a real response from her doctor it can create the idea that self-harm is just something that one can stop immediately and that there aren't any underlying problems, which is not always the case. In addition to not addressing issues of self-harm, Carolyn Mackler also fails to discuss eating disorders, despite the fact that Virginia goes on a crash diet where she refuses to let herself eat, and Virginia notices bulimia in another girl at her school. These incidences are largely ignored by the author, and it is extremely disconcerting; especially in the case of Brie, who clearly is suffering from bulimia. It is appalling that though Virginia notices Brie suffering, she does not do anything to help Brie, nor does she do anything except feel bad for Brie, but even that lasts only a few sentences because, after all, Brie is "so popular". It is irresponsible to assume the attitude that because someone is popular that they do not struggle with self-image or self-hatred and by not confronting that attitude and showing how it is false, this book perpetuates the idea that disliking girls for their apparent security in life is okay and watching them fail and enjoying that failure is okay. This book is playing with some dangerous material in a fairly unsafe manner, and though it is a great book to spark discussions off of, it is not a good book to read without discussion.

  • Amy
    2018-11-24 22:05

    I had to think on this one for a bit after reading. It's a coming of age book of sorts, and gives a nice message in that "perfect" is not always what it seems, so find your own perfection. I also like that the main character is a "full figured" girl, and that she doesn't win friends and admiration by suddenly becoming thin and beautiful. But at the same time, there are some points that I really was uncomfortable with (and if you don't want spoilers, cease reading now.)I understand the fall from grace Virginia's brother Byron takes, and it's place in the story, but was really astonished that the whole subject of date-rape, once included, was rather glossed over. If your target audience is teenage girls, this could have been a great teaching tool to help in the prevention of violation by someone trusted. As it is, only the family lawyer seems to get that maybe Byron taking a trip to Paris while he's out on probation might not seem like sincere remorse.The other thing that bothered me was not that Virginia went to visit her pal on the west coast, but that all concerned seemed to think it no big deal that she got her eyebrow pierced without parental permission (being underage at all). Even more annoying was the take home message that you can be big and the butt of scorn in your high school, but if you get your eyebrow pierced, suddenly you are appreciated as cool and life gets good.I know the book won awards. I guess I just remember what it's like to parent adolescents and the curmudgeon in me is responding.

  • Sara (A Gingerly Review)
    2018-11-20 17:24

    2.5 stars from me as there is NO way I would give this 3. I had issues with several unresolved topics mentioned. This wasn't downright awful but it was a little difficult to get through at times. FRTC.Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...I had never heard of this until I saw the author has a sequel coming out soon (no joke, The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I comes out May 29, 2018). I figured I would read this to see if I wanted the sequel. Normally the title would have kept me away because that is not a title that would draw my attention. I was hoping for a light and funny read but what I got was a lot of serious topics and unresolved issues.Short recap: Virginia is bigger than anyone else in her family and they have a rude way of reminding her about that. Virginia struggles daily to find how she fits in and how she could become comfortable with who she is.In the beginning, I liked Virginia’s character. I was cheering her on but that was short lived. When she started making the “Fat Girl Code of Conduct” I was floored. I was much larger when I was younger and my high school years were hands down some of my worst years ever, but I wouldn’t have made a list that listed that fat girls should allow guys to make out with them in secret. Are you kidding me? This girl had a warped view of herself in the world. She hated on every other girl in her school, saying they were all super thin. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t true as people come in all shapes & sizes. Virginia made it seem that she was the only heavy girl she has ever come into contact with and I just don’t believe that. I can’t believe that.Virginia did not get much better after that. She hates on herself constantly and has zero confidence/self-esteem. I believe 98.56% of that came from her crappy family. Her parents were absolute jerks. Her mom was the worst. The woman was supposed to be a teen psychologist yet she couldn’t see what she was doing to her own child? She couldn’t see that how she talked and acted towards her was WRONG? This woman obsessed and nitpicked over every single thing her daughter ate. Aren’t parents supposed to be encouraging? They never bothered to actually talk to Virginia, they just made rude comments about her size. I got the impression that her mother was actually ashamed of her own daughter, especially after her other daughter was “so perfect”. How screwed up is that?The one character I did love in this story is Virginia’s best friend, Shannon. I adored her! I wish she had a bigger role because she was the one positive influence in Virginia’s life. Shannon never judged or provoked, she was just a welcome breath of fresh air in this story.The sudden transformation Virginia goes through felt unbelievable. Dying hair and getting a facial piercing does not suddenly make someone accept they are a heavy person. It does not make them love their body type or make them comfortable in their own skin. I was happy that Virginia finally started speaking her mind about things that bothered her, but she was downright rude about it. She started snapping at people, biting their heads off, and walking around like she was Queen Sh!t. Calm down, princess, no need to take everyone’s heads off if they say something you don’t like. There is a rational and logical way to express your thoughts and feelings to someone that actually encourages communication. What you did was lay down your rule and say it was law.The major issues mentioned within this entire story felt unresolved in the worst way: self harm, date rape, and bulimia. Virginia makes references to killing herself (drinking bleach) after the rape allegations are made against her brother. Her best friend, Shannon, is the only one she says it to but does ask her not to do that. The friend is still so concerned about Virginia that she calls her the next morning from the other side of the US to make sure she is okay. Why couldn’t Shannon have gone one step further and tell her parents what was going on? She clearly has a good relationship with them so why not tell an adult? We’ll never know because it is never talked about again. Unless you count the time one of the three most popular girls says, “If I was Virginia, I would kill myself”. Virginia overheard that and it stayed with her. All she could think about was, “Brie would rather kill herself than be me.” But we never hear about that again either. Guess all is well… ?Date rape: Virginia’s brother, who is worshiped by their parents, is found guilty of date raping a girl at his college. No details are ever given other than that. I’m not saying details need to be given but how about Mackler take this opportunity to talk about this topic and express how wrong it is… or what girls can do to protect themselves? Just a few thoughts.Bulimia: This may be no big shocker but Virginia that the nastiest girl in school, Brie, has bulimia. This is the very same girl that was overheard saying she would rather kill herself than be Virginia. Does Virginia do anything with this information, such as alert a school official? NOPE. She turns around and walks quietly out of the bathroom. She keeps bringing attention to this when she sees Brie struggling in gym class. Stop being so quiet about this. Say something! It felt like this VERY serious topic was swept under the rug. This could have been another perfect time to explain what this condition is and how bad it is.Or better yet, how about the author try not to cram so many important and serious topics into a book that supposed to be funny and light?The big takeaway from this story is this: it is readable. It is not a light and fluffy read. It is also not very believable. The ending was too rushed and Mackler tried to force everything into a perfect box but that didn’t work. Again, dying your hair and getting a facial piercing does not fix all of your problems. In the story she suddenly became popular and everyone loved her because she colored her hair purple and got an eyebrow ring, she started losing weight, her parents became proud of her, and found her voice. It was just… too perfect. I didn’t buy it for a second. I was hoping for so much more.

  • Imani
    2018-11-22 22:14

    ~*Actual Rating: 100 Stars!*~ I just loved it so much and I finished it in one day. This book was so authentic, genuine. There was actual substance to it. The character, Virginia Shreves, grew leaps and bounds and it was believable. It was perfect in how it portrayed the very imperfectness of life. The struggles teens, families, and people face. When I first went into it, I thought this would be an enjoyable, fluffy, and funny read. It was enjoyable, it was SO funny, but it wasn't fluffy at all. I wasn't prepared for the emotional roller coaster of emotions that I went through. Elated, sympathetic, disappointed, angry, hopeful. The impact it left on me was so strong.15 year old Virginia feels like the odd one out in her family. She's fat and struggles to fit in with her seemingly perfect and thin family. Her best friend moved away, she's alone at school, and she's getting gropey with a guy named Froggy, who she's starting to like, though she doesn't feel she deserves that. Everything turns for the worse when the brother she worships is suspended from college. Her brother did the unthinkable: date rape. The diet she barely started crashes and burns, she turns away from Froggy, she feels more alone than ever, she hurts herself occasionally to prevent the hurt her whole self feels. I start sobbing again. As I lean against the filthy bathroom wall, I remind myself to be numb. It's the only way I'll be able to carry on.~~"Are you saying it's over?" Froggy's voice cracks over the word "over."Just then Mr. Moony hobbles by. He hasn't been in top form these days, colliding with lockers, tripping down stairs, sleeping in class. But his song archives are still as sharp as shattered glass. The next thing I know, Mr. Moony starts rasping, "Froggy went a-courtin', and he did ride, a-huh, a-huh." People stare at us. (lol) Virginia was a breath of fresh air. She knew what was right and wrong with her family. Instead of pretending like it never happened, she tries to cope. By coping, she realizes the truth about herself and she grows so much. *sniffling*It has those kooky teachers we all had in high school (whether it's the biased and vindictive French teacher, the old geometry teacher who can barely teach, but knows how to embarrass you with a song, or whatever.) This book's got heart. Lots of it.It made me reflect on my own high school experience. I wasn't really fat or anything, but boy was I self-conscious. I wanted to be railing thin. So many girls at my school were like poles, and I was so embarrassed trying to get through the freaking claustrophobic desk aisles. I was nervous my butt and hips would knock over papers or move a desk. (Now though, round butts are a trend so I guess the Kardashians did something good idk). :/ Point is, I could really feel for Virginia. Anywayz, A BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE (hey, that's another big round thing!! :DD) to Carolyn Mackler!!*standing ovation*

  • Sapir
    2018-11-11 15:04

    I think I only picked this book up because of the eye-catching title. I just couldn't ignore it when I saw it on the library shelf. Because of the funny name and the short length of it, I was expecting a light, funny read. Just what I needed after finishing Before I Die...Well, I have to say that this book was exactly what I expected, nothing more. It was a very quick, mindless read that I'm not sure I will remember in a month.I disliked pretty much all of the characters, including Virginia. She was really annoying most of the book. She was always thinking of herself as an extremely heavy girl, even though the doctor said that she is only slightly above the average weight. The way she saw the world was twisted - she said that ALL of the girls in her school are skinny, which I'm sure is not correct. In the real world, most girls in high school aren't thin, let alone skinny. There's no way she is the ONLY heavy girl in her school. Virginia was just way too whiny to be likable or easy-to-relate-to.I also HATED her parents, and her mother in particular. She is a teenagers therapist - she was spending her whole day giving advice and listening to so many teens and parents, but she never helped her own daughter. I also hated the way she obsessed about Virginia's weight and encouraged her to go on unhealthy crash diets. She was ashamed - yes, ashamed - of her daughter because she wasn't perfectly skinny. This behavior just disgusted me. It made me understand why Virginia felt so bad about her body.At the end of the book Virginia made a change - she pierced her eyebrow and dyed her hair purple, and like a miracle, it made her feel better about herself instantly. Sorry, I just can't buy it. Changing your hair color and piercing you brow doesn't make you comfortable about your body all of a sudden. This was SO unrealistic.Actually, the whole ending was very hard to believe. Miraculously, all of the problems in Virginia's life were solved - she became friendly and popular, her parents started to be proud of her, she lost weight AND she made up with the boy she loves. That's just a too perfect ending.This book was readable, but not much more than that. It was overall annoying and unrealistic. I am not sure if I can recommend it to anyone.

  • Brandon O'Neill
    2018-12-05 14:59

    First of all, I love the title. It is actually the title of something in the book - you'll have to read it to see. I was excited to read this for two reasons (beyond the title): One is that it has been popular with our high schoolers. Yes, a book that many have actually checked out and read on their own. The only other big one I can think of like that was the Divinci Code a few years ago. Second, I got to meet Carolyn Mackler at the ALA conference in Reno. I didn't know what she looked like, and with this book being about a chubby girl, I though she may have some heft to her, but she was as skinny as a rail. Really nice too.The book deals with a chubby NYC teen's perception of herself and those around her, and how it changes. It's about growth and seeing how some people we think are so great aren't and some we think are so bad, probably aren't all that bad either. I can't speak as to authenticity since I am neither female nor did I grow up in NYC (the chubby part - getting there) but it seemed fairly authentic to me. Highly recommended.

  • 711ashley
    2018-12-01 21:14

    Vigrina is a girl who is unsuecure about her wieght. She also feels like she is does not belong to the family. Her sister and her mom had a perfect body. Every girls thinks her brother is a hotie. Virgina was thinking aren't im suppose to be like them? Viginia feels pressured by her her family, but mostly her mom to make her lose weight. Since Vigina is unsuecure about her weight she doesn't date boys in fact she has a set of rules that fat girls shouldn't do. Virgina has always thought of her brother as a role model, but when he get kicked out of collage for a sex party. She didn't who her brother was anymore and lost touch with him. Virgina was not confindent of dating, but when Froggy Welsh the fourth apeared everything changed. In all I really liked this book and reccomend it to anyone.

  • Renny Barcelos
    2018-12-10 21:21

    I am so mad at this book I can't even be sure this review will make much sense, but let's try.*****THERE WILL BE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD, BE AWARE!*****There are so, but so many problems with this story. Problems that are dangerous, that can hurt people. First off, how the author decided to make some criminal things light and simple to overcome. Carolyn Mackler decided to use rape, parental neglect and abuse, self harm, depression and other serious issues as simple plot movers, just some bothering details the main character had to learn how to face so she could grow. NO. that's wrong, that's a disturbing message to pass. The parents in this novel are abusive on a level that could grant them jail time, at least here in my country. Specially the mother. The neglect allied to the abuse led this girl to put herself in danger and the mother never even knows! She should have been held accountable for the damage she caused, most of all for defending her son who admits the date rape he'd been accused of. And there comes the second part that made me so exasperated while reading; the brother. So this guy goes and rapes a girl, admits that he couldn't know if there was consent (which, by the way, MEANS THERE WASN'T CONSENT you scum!!), is suspended from college (another naive, for lack of a better word, point of the story; as if it were that simple for colleges to take rape accusations seriously. We could all wish things really happened that way.) and is then spoiled by his disgusting abusive parents as if he were on vacation. At no point throughout the book he has to face the abominable act he committed, has to face serious charges for it. I don't know how the law works in America this case but here the college would have to inform the police. He would have ended in jail, and I wished all through my reading he had ended up there. No such luck. It's like he was caught cheating on an exam, nothing more serious than that. Actually, if that were the case maybe the parents would at least act disappointed. Maybe.The father is just a misogynist, sexist, neglectful being put there just to seem like the good parent (in comparison with that awful mother anyone would be the good one). He learns nothing. He is called out by his daughter on one tiny aspect of his terrible habits and that's it. No one, in fact, grows in that family but the protagonist, and even her, not enough. Because she takes it as "learn how to accept her family as they are" when she should have told them all to screw themselves and never have contact to those poisoning entities anymore. They never even learn how she was self-harming BECAUSE of them. They get a huge free-pass, all because they say some small "redeeming" sentence to her here and there. No, they're toxic, they're disgusting and they should all have been held accountable by their acts. Criminal acts, I must repeat. No one faces any real trouble for that. There's more; the lesson this book passes is something like, "no matter how much shit is put on your lap, if you can't overcome it on your own, you've decided to be a victim, not a survivor, so screw you." Even the raped girl says something like that. Is that really a message we want YAs reading as true? That it's that easy and quick to overcome depression, abuse, self-harm and eating disorders? That if a traumatic event happens to you you have to shove it off and decide it won't ruin you and bam! it's all set? Dear, I keep remembering other problems...at the end, when the main character starts to magically accept herself as she is she then has to proceed to body shame other people? Why couldn't she just say something like all humans come in different shapes and forms and all are good and beautiful? Why did she have to put someone down to feel she was being put up? I'm still so absurdly mad that the rapist takes a free pass. That the mother keeps her career and still thinks she's a good mother, that the only self improvement in the whole book is rushed, unrealistic and doesn't lead to any resolution of the root of her problems. There's more, I'm sure but I can feel my blood still boiling and the beginning of a migraine from this reading so I'll stop here. So disappointed, this could have been a good novel, a good message. It absolutely wasn't.

  • Angie
    2018-11-12 17:08

    I am Virginia Shreves. She's smart, has braces, a secret hook-up buddy, and a body that's considered too large by society standards. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things is her journey from hiding herself to becoming the young woman she wants to be whether that's fat or thin, as long as she's doing what she loves. Virginia's family is perfect, so she feels like she doesn't fit. It doesn't help that her mother is constantly making snide comments about her body and weight, and her father is always pointing out the skinny women on TV as attractive. It isn't really until her older brother makes a seemingly harmless comment about her clothes, that Virginia decides to take matters into her own hands. Then her perfect brother does something despicable, and Virginia begins to question everything.The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things was adorable and real and sometimes sad, but overall very hopeful and honest. I could total relate to Virginia as she struggles with her weight and body image. Like her, I feel okay about my body and want to be accepted for how I am, but we're both constantly told our bodies are not acceptable because they're too big. Unlike Virginia, I never resulted to crash dieting and self harm. Both of these are brief periods in her life, but they're handled very respectfully. Virginia ultimately realizes that these things aren't helpful, sustainable, and leave her feeling empty. She needs new ways of coping with her situation and becoming a healthier (and maybe thinner) version of herself.The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things is quite short, so if I say much more, you won't even need to read the book! But you totally should! I loved how the author handled the issues of body image and weight. She made it very clear through the use of a physician that health is more important than weight, but also didn't demonize dieting and exercise. I also like how she handled the crime that Virginia's brother committed. It would have been easy to make it completely blow up, but it doesn't always go that way in real life, so I liked that. Overall, I just really enjoyed this portrayal of a teen girl dealing with life's problems and figuring out who she wants to be.Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.

  • Jami
    2018-12-08 20:00

    A lot of relevant teen girl issues in this book, without being overwhelming or too obvious. Protagonist Virginia deals daily with feeling like the black sheep in her perfect family because of her body issues. She is overweight in a family of naturally thin and attractive people.At school, she overhears a group of popular girls claim they'd kill themselves if they looked like Virginia. Ironically enough, these girls are, in fact, killing themselves with their own body issues and eating disorders. But Virginia feels she has to live by her imagined "Fat Girl Code of Conduct" which dictates what she can and can't do, wear or not wear, expect or not expect.For example, she can't expect any boy to actually like her or want to be seen with her in public. So when she starts having regular make-out sessions with a nice guy from school whom she really likes, she automatically assumes that's all he'll want from her. That he won't ever want to acknowledge their relationship in public.And she can't wear bright, loud colors or patterns because (as her mother tells her) that would only draw attention to her less than perfect figure.When her uber-perfect brother at college is suspended for date rape, Virginia gradually starts to change her definition of perfection and what ideals she should really be looking up to. So it's great when Virginia finally starts realizing that only she gets to decide what is right for her, how she can act, and what she can wear. And most importantly, that it's okay for her to be who she is. Whatever size that may be.As women and girls, we're so bombarded by images of what society imagines is perfection, the absolute beauty. And, of course, so few fit into that tiny mold (or really hurt themselves trying to make themselves fit). So it's refreshing to read about a girl who doesn't magically shed all her weight to become Cinderella by the end of the novel, but instead figures out how to truly make herself happy -- by living up to her own expectations and not the made-up ones of the world around her.

  • Christina Wilder
    2018-11-20 19:25

    Overall it's a great book for teens, but I really am tired of the "popular girls are bitches" trope and "guy secretly really likes you" trend. I enjoyed seeing Virginia Shreve come into her own, but it would have been nice to just see her on her own. Not all YA female protagonists need a boyfriend.Still, it's good to see a YA book with an overweight protagonist wanting to focus on her HEALTH, not necessarily her weight. Some people are built bigger and that's fine (I'm one of them - I'm a curvy Latina and that's just how it is), but that's my problem with the "fat pride" movement; it's one thing to say "I'm built a certain way and I will never be skinny, but I'm healthy and happy with how I look", but I am not okay with fitshaming (yes, it exists), or ignoring one's own health issues (there are people out there who have diabetes and don't monitor their insulin levels - no patience for that). Anyway, I digress. Overall it's a good book, with interesting plot twists and character development, and I did root for Virginia. But yes, I still ache for YA fiction that doesn't have the aforementioned cliches.

  • Penny
    2018-12-05 15:22

    Barely three stars. Look, I like the message the author is trying to convey, but I think Melina Marchetta does it better in Saving Francesca. Heck, a lot of other authors did it better. But Carolyn Mackler did an okay job. Read Saving Francesca!

  • Valerie
    2018-12-08 22:12

    I read this because of the title. It turned out to be good teen fiction, so I kept it for the schools only library, which is the back of my classroom.

  • Aurelia
    2018-11-17 17:06

    it is good

  • Merphy Napier
    2018-12-10 16:08

    3.5 stars I've realized that I really enjoy contemporaries that focus on issues. I'm not sure how to else to categorize this type of book. the ones that follow someone that's going through crap and you just live life with them, trying to figure it out. I loved our main character, I loved dealing with her life with her, I loved reading this book. Things I didn't love:1. (view spoiler)[ her graphic imaginings of her brother's date rape. what the heck?(hide spoiler)]2. (view spoiler)[ the fact that she said "date rape" every two seconds(hide spoiler)]3. (view spoiler)[ her extremely reasonable conversation with the girl who he date raped. Very mature. and very unrealistic.(hide spoiler)]4. and the fact that when she finally became comfortable in her own skin she started body shaming skinny girls. why can't people love the way they look without hating the way other people look?her life was crap but it was real. I loved it and I loved her and I loved Froggy ***trigger warnings for eating disorders, rape, and self harm****

  • Xiaojuanwu
    2018-11-27 17:20

    This book starts with a girl named Virginia Shreves. She lives just like all the girls do but what's impact her is her weight. She isn't much aliker her family members who seem always skinny and proud. Her mom persuades her to loose weight and talk to docter about her weight but she never convinced. In additon, she has her beloved one, Froggy and obey "Girl Code of Conduct." in order to stay relationship with Froggy unceasingly. Life gets difficult for Virginia when she got a phone call from her brother Byron for something terrible and the circumstance turn out to be Virgina learns something moral about herself.First time I read this book I was thininking of leave it close since the first paragraph describes about the sex. As I coutinue next couple chapters I got stick to it. I learned no matter what other people think negative or possitive thing about you, what you always need to know is believing yourslef. If you don't believe yourslef, you fail to be mortal because you don't have confidence. Life is through fighting and facing to get your achievement. You want to be strong and admire, you need to put your head up and be brave of everything in front of you.I also like how author include in the instance conversation between the protagonist and person he/she is talking to. That is better way to get the character's feeling and what he/she is thinking instead just all words describe how he/she doing, appreance, and events.My favorite part of this book is how Virginia even though she thinks she is overweighted and people around her, she still be very positive to herself. She thinks herself is important and her own opinion than other people's opinions. She begins to stand up herslef more and ignore what others said about her. Life should be always listen to others and what they think about you. You are yourslef. Your belongs to you and you have nothing to do with other people.I highly reccomend this book to people who contantly don't have enough confidence when they have to face a situation. This book has good advice and it will lead them learn a lot of mortal lesson to be human being.

  • Jenny
    2018-11-10 22:05

    Virginia is the odd-man out in her family of successful and upper-middle class Manhattanites. Overshadowed by her athletic, popular, and good-looking brother and her thin and beautiful sister, Virginia is constantly being reminded that she doesn’t fit into the image of the perfect family her mother has constructed. In fact, she only fits into sweatpants and extra-large t-shirts. Virginia has passively accepted her father’s constant comments about her weight and her mother’s attempts to dress her in frumpy old lady clothes from the plus size section at Saks in order to win their approval. She wants to someday be the favored child taken to fancy dinner parties and Yankees games. She also wants to continue having make-outs with a boy at her school but feels awful about herself because she knows they can never be public about their non-relationship. This book is a funny and painful account of the trials a teenager has to go through in order to gain acceptance. Living by her own Fat Girl Code of Conduct, Virginia attempts to find acceptance in a world that shames fat girls. After her crash diet, self-harm, and upsetting realizations about her family, Virginia’s awakening and empowerment was really refreshing. Her empowerment isn’t triggered by changing her appearance, though that certainly gives her a boost of confidence, it comes about because she is fed up and finally decides to do what she wants to do. Her parents’ denial of their family issues, especially her mother’s, is painful to witness and their characterizations as workaholic self-involved New Yorkers was a bit overdone. I learned for a hetero book that takes place in 2004 there are an awful lot of references to Ani Di Franco. Didn’t she peak in like the late 90’s?

  • Laura
    2018-12-04 15:07

    Why this book?I feel like a broken record. This is yet another book I read for my YA class. I chose this one from the banned and challenged books section. I’m pretty excited to talk about this in our next class. It should be a lot of fun. I feel like I’ve been giving horrible book talks so my friend, Jess, told me to just act like I was telling her about a book I loved because she always wants to read books I tell her about. So I’m going to try that in class this weekend. Anyway, this book is great and I can’t believe anyone would want to ban it.Witty main characterVirginia is awesome and it made me sad that she didn’t realize that in the beginning. I think there was some part of her that liked herself, but she kept shoving it down because of all the things people said about her. She wasn’t being herself completely because she was letting other people make certain decisions about her life. Her family really frustrated me. I wanted to punch her mother on several occasions. She made Virginia feel horrible about her body. Her father and brother weren’t much better. She has some great friends though, and she has to learn to stop pushing them away.Read more at Owl Tell You About It

  • Steph Su
    2018-12-01 16:18

    Virginia Shreves is certain that she was accidentally switched at birth. That’s the only way she can account for the differences between her and her parents and two older siblings. She’s sure that somewhere in the Tri-State area there’s an obese, blond-haired, pop-culture-loving family wondering why they have a slim, brown-haired, and culturally enlightened daughter. Because that’s what Virginia knows she is. Fat.Being fat is a huge handicap for Virginia. She can’t make her weekly make-out trysts with Froggy Welsh the Fourth into a serious relationship. She is fearful of imposing herself upon unfriendly classmates, and so she’s all alone this year, her best friend Shannon having gone to Walla Walla for the year.Then Virginia gets some news that shatters all of her beliefs. Her brother, Byron, whom she used to worship, was accused of date rape, and her family struggles to pretend everything is normal. But Virginia has had enough. She is tired of her parents making light of Byron’s criminal offense when they rag on her to lose weight all the time. It’s time for Virginia to begin to love herself.It’s hard to summarize up this extremely good story in a few short sentences. Virginia’s tale is a hearty cry for self-acceptance. Thoroughly believable and utterly uplifting, don’t miss this great book.