Butter gets good grades and plays smooth-as-butter jazz sax, but he is defined by both himself and his peers by his weight.
At 423 pounds, he sits by himself in the lunchroom, parks his Beemer (this is Scottsdale, Ariz., after all) in the handicapped space in the school parking lot and diligently keeps his diabetes in check. As SaxMan on the Internet, though, he has an intense relationship with Anna, a girl who doesn't look twice at him in school. When a school meme designates him "most likely to have a heart attack," he decides to "command the conversation online" by declaring that he will eat himself to death on a live video stream on New Year's Eve, four weeks away. Almost immediately, he finds his social stock soaring, the A crowd—which includes Anna—adopting him as a mascot of sorts. Butter's tale reads like the problem novel it is, his narration feeding itself to readers so they don't miss a thing: "Popularity was like a drug—one taste and I was hooked." But he is likable, in his wry, self-hating way, remarking that he is "a binge eater, not a bulimic. That shit is for girls." In the end, it is the vision of life in the "fat suit" that should hook readers, whatever their size.
Rubbernecking the train wreck that is Butter's last meal makes for an uncomfortably thought-provoking read. (Fiction. 13 & up)