With her father dead, her friends being yanked away, and fatphobia battering her, a teen finds affection and strength with a boy she meets online.
Fifteen-year-old Shay lost Dad a year ago, and she’s not close to her stepmother, who seems only to wish that Shay were thinner. At school, nemesis Kelly leaves oinking stuffed pigs on her chair and changes Shay’s cell ringtone to pig sounds. Best friends Dash and Boots are being stolen: Boots by brain cancer, which is killing her, and Dash by his father, who sends him to military school for being gay. Shay connects with a boy online (screen name “Godotwait4me”)—until their growing closeness infuriates Kelly so much she launches a website she calls Get the Pig Back in Its Pen, dedicated to breaking them up. StVil’s verse prose is inventive and alive, sometimes cryptic, sometimes lurching, sometimes stunning; it rhymes only rarely yet with the effect of a gut punch (“Car. Speed. Head. / Docs. Tried. Dad. Dead”). Food-based figures of speech are gorgeous; unfortunately, they underscore the stereotype of Shay as a fat comfort-eater, but refreshingly, the plot has no weight-loss arc. Shay and Godot’s text threads hum with mutual attraction, high wit, and each one’s self-defeating fragilities. Shay’s race is undesignated, although she looks white on the cover.
A dynamic story of grief, loyalty, and, finally, some cheerworthy victories. (Verse fiction. 13-16)