Newbery Contender: “Starfish” by Lisa Fipps

Book review: Starfish by Lisa Fipps (tween fiction)

Lisa Fipps is an award-winning journalist who is now a marketing director for a public library. She loves dogs, traveling, art, and collecting rocks. Starfish is her debut novel, and it is our next contender for the upcoming Newbery Award.  

In Starfish, Ellie wore a whale swimsuit for her fifth birthday and made the biggest splash with her cannonball – earning her the nickname, Splash, from her older sister. Little did she know that nickname would be picked up by everyone in her grade and would continue for years.  

Ever since that party, Ellie lives by her own “Fat Girl Rules” to help her survive at school and at home. Her mom is constantly updating her diets, getting her into a new exercise routine, and decorating their fridge with new diet fads and tips on how to become skinnier. Ellie’s one safe space is her pool where she swims for hours, because she feels weightless. With the support of her new neighbor/friend Catalina, her therapist, and her dad, Ellie starts to realize that she is amazing exactly as she is. She starts to stand up to the bullies at school and even to her mom.   

Starfish is a wonderful story about how hard it can be to accept yourself and learn to feel comfortable in your own skin. Ellie is having trouble with people accepting her, not only at school but at home as well, which makes life exceedingly difficult for her as she struggles with accepting herself. 

I loved this book because it was about standing up for yourself, learning about who you truly are, and being your own person. This is such an important message that I have learned because it is something that my own dad, like Ellie’s, had always taught me.  

Ellie likes to take a nice swim to feel weightless and relax. What do you do to de-stress after a tiring day? 

~ Ms. Mariam

Newbery Bingo Challenge:

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