Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

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Age Range
14+
ISBN
0060094893
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1 review
A Story of Loyalty and Courage
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
While reading Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, I realized that I had read this novel before, when I was in the target demographic. At the time, I was in early high school and thankfully not dealing with the issues of the book's characters. Now I am a teacher and know that some of my students have the same problems. In my rereading, I see that my interest gravitates to Ms. Lemry, the controversial teacher, in addition to Eric Calhoune, the intended protagonist.

Staying Fat is a story about friendship through the most difficult times. Eric has been overweight his entire life and gained strength from his friendship with Sarah Byrnes, a tough girl who has burns all over her face and hands. The outcasts band together until Eric joins the swim team and begins to gain weight. In order to prove his friendship, he continues to eat and stay big. When Sarah's family issues and Eric's classmates' problems all come to a head, he wishes that all he'd need to do to make things better would be to eat too much.

Chris Crutcher discusses challenging topics clearly and in a clever way. By having Ms. Lemry present issues for discussion in her class, Crutcher is able to use debate to further his plot and increase the tension. Even though I had read the book before, I still didn't know how it was going to end! Any book that keeps me up late, racing through its pages, is a keeper.
Good Points
Eric and Sarah's friendship is remarkable.
Hooray for a rebel teacher!
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User reviews

4 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.3
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4.3(4)
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Touching to even the oldest of people!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Nikki

This was by far one of the best books that i have ever read in my whole entire life!!!! Wow!!!!! But i got to tell you something, it was a little inappropriate for the little kids. I recommend the book for people 13 and over. This is a very mature book about a boy named Eric who visits his friend named Sarah. Eric used to be fat until he decided to join the swim team. Sarah went crazy so they say and she was sent to the hospital. She will not say anything at all. Eric has had a crush on this girl named Jody and they eventually start a relationship. But when Jody tells Eric a secret, it shocks him. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. But let me warn you, you really need to be careful because your parents might not want you to read the book until you get older and i dont blame them. You just have to take things in a mature matter and be mature yourself. But all in all, Very moving and very realistic. Teen rated. 

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Moving Story
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Amy Ward

I just finished the book Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. The story revolves around Eric Calhoune and his long-standing friendship with Sarah Byrnes. Both are social outcasts, Eric being extremely overweight and Sarah Byrnes being horribly scarred from a childhood burn incident. They grow up together fighting the school bullies and a society that doesn't accept them. As Eric begins to lose weight from joining the swim team and gaining a normal life, Sarah's life becomes more complicated, until she winds up in a psychiatric unit, not speaking. Eric must get to the bottom of her troubles and secrets before she is silenced for good.

There were things about this book I loved and things I hated. I loved the overall story of Eric and Sarah Byrnes, their friendship. Lots of stories focus on the well-adjusted, "popular", "pretty" people. This story looks at life from the perspective of those that are shunned, those that don't fit in. Sarah Byrnes is so strong and full of life. I love the way Eric sees her in the story. He doesn't pity her, he sees her as his equal and respects her. The reader definitely feels the love these characters have for each other. I also loved the mystery and suspense. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I didn't love how Christians are potrayed in this book. They all seem to be one-sided, over-critical, mean, and shallow. Being a Christian myself, I really bristled at those parts in the book. It seemed as though Chrisitanity was being attacked. As if the other characters in the book were better for not being Christians. But that is just my opinion.

Overall, the story was good, if a bit over-dramatic. Go into it expecting a lot of language. If you can overlook those parts, the story really rings true.
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Staying EXCITED the whole time!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Randi

I literally cried for half this book. I honestly couldn't connect to what was going on because i grew up in a happy family, but the way this story is told you have to admit the book becomes part of you! To imagine how much of struggle Eric went through to remain Sarah's bestfriend after all thats happened, not even mentioning Sarah's struggle of having a father who beats her. This book struggles with law morals and friendship. Having to walk around with a completely burned face and having your last name be byrnes, that hard on a child, especially how her fac was burned. And Eric whos fatness from before making him an outcast along with Sarah and her burnt face is what made then best friends. But when Eric starts to shed weigh being an all star swimmer makes him popular he struggles to keep Sarah who is now catatonic. This is a tear shredder and a page turner i think is an good book for literally ANYONE & EVERYONE to read. It is frankly the best book I've ever read.
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A thrilling story
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Bookworm9

As kids, Eric Calhoune and Sarah Byrnes become friends by default: both are smart outsiders who are constantly the butt of jones-- Eric because he's overweight, Sarah Byrnes because of the horrible scars on her face, the result of a childhood accident. Although Eric gains acceptance on the swim team once he starts high school, his loyalty to Sarah Byrnes always remains strong. When she suddenly stops talking and is admitted to a pediatric psych ward, he knows he has to help her. When Sarah Byrnes tells Eric her chilling secrets, the two join forces with Eric's swim coach to try to do the seemingly impossible-- find safety and stability for Sarah Byrnes.

As usual, Chris Crutcher creates smart, likeable characters and a chilling, action-packed plot. Eric's dilemma of how to help his friend without putting them both in danger is a tense, thought-provoking situation. The ending, however, is completely unrealistic and comes rather suddenly. Although the happy ending is deserved, things are tied up much too neatly, and is thus dissatisfying. Still, until the last two chapters, the book is a great and worthwhile read.
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