Review: Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Hey friends! It’s been a while since I posted, but I’m hoping to be more active now 🙂 But I did have a review to share today for a book I won in a giveaway!


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.


Rating: 4 out of 5.
So I won this book in a giveaway, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it. I didn’t know it was middle grade so that was a nice surprise!

Starfish follows a young girl named Ellie, who faces many bullies at school for her weight. In addition, her best friends moved away leaving her feeling lonely and friendless. Her mother also keeps making snide comments at home, and leaving hints for her to get a weight-reducing surgery that Ellie is terrified to even consider. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is.

My favorite part of Starfish was that it was written in verse. There were short half poem half vignette style snippets that were simple but also extremely profound. I could really empathize with Ellie and her self-hatred, and it was so heartwarming seeing her begin to open up to her therapist and realize her self worth. I think that this will be an amazing book for young girls to read and feel validated.

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