When Sarah Byrnes was three years old, her condition became synonymous with her surname. Her face and hands were badly burned in a mysterious accident, and her father refused to allow reconstructive surgery. She developed a suit of cold, stainless steel armor to defend herself against the taunts of a world insensitive to her pain. You enter into Sarah Byrnes's world on her terms, or you don't enter.
Enter Eric Calhoune--Moby to his friends. Eric passed through his early years on a steady diet of Oreos and Twinkies and root beer floats, and he sports the girth to prove it. Because of their "terminal uglies," he and Sarah Byrnes have become true masters in the art of underhanded revenge directed at anyone who dares to offend their sensibilities.
When Eric turns out for the high school swimming team, he begins to shed layers of extra poundage. Fearing the loss of the one friendship he treasures, he gorges to "stay fat for Sarah Byrnes," who discovers his motive and threatens to beat him more senseless than she thinks he already is. Then the truth of Sarah Byrnes's horrific past finally catches up with her.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is a darkly funny, suspenseful novel about friendship, fear, and making the best of a bad situation. Once again Chris Crutcher slaps us in the face with compelling questions that demand dignified answers.
"[A] transcendent story of love, loyalty and courage...Superb plotting, extraordinary characters and crackling narrative make this novel one to be devoured in a single unforgettable sitting." --Publishers Weekly, Starred
"...strong on relationships, long on plot, and has enough humor and suspense to make it an easy booktalk with appeal across gender lines." ~Booklist
"...A story about a friendship with staying power, written with pathos and pointed humor." ~School Library Journal
"Against a swimming backdrop Crutcher places the issues of shame, narrow-mindedness, and abuse. Once the story takes hold you move along at such a rapid clip that by the end you're holding on for dear life." ~Children's Literature
"Crutcher's teen-appealing style...keeps the colorfulness quotient high, and kids will appreciate the triumph of the underdog protagonists." ~Bulletin/Center for the Children's Book
"Once again, Chris Crutcher plunges his readers into life's tough issues within a compelling story filled with human compassion...handles difficult topics such as abuse, abortion, and religious rigidity with his characteristic intelligence, humor, and empathy." ~ALAN Review
Awards & Honors
ALA Best Book for YA SLJ Best Book for YA American Booksellers Pick of the List California Young Reader Medalist 1995 Joan Fassler Memorial Book Award ALA Best of the Best Books for YA Publisher's Weekly Starred Review 1994 South Dakota YARP Best Books Nominee 1995-1996 Iowa Teen Award Nominee 1995-1996 SC YA Book Award Nominee 1996 Young Reader's Choice Award Nominee 1996-1997 ILF Rosie