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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  21,231 Ratings  ·  1,387 Reviews
Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creat ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published July 14th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 23, 2008 Suzanne rated it liked it
I am not sure how I feel about this one. I even slept on it before reviewing it. On one hand, it is a good teen book (Why, it's a Printz Honor!). On the other, why does every fat girl protagonist have to be so darn pathetic? There must be some sort of checklist authors use for an overweight novel:

* Fat Girl's best friend has moved away over the summer leaving Fat Girl all alone (subsequently Fat Girl spends lunch eating Twinkies in some remote part of the school)
* Fat Girl has a super skinny mom
Feb 23, 2015 Shelly rated it it was amazing
Realistic characters. Well written. Virginia could be someone you actually know. Virginia could even be you. Anyone who's ever been given a variation of the criticism, "You could be pretty if..." and anyone who was "chubby" in high school and looked down on for it will be able to greatly empathize with Virginia.

One thing that struck a note of reality with me was Virginia's mother. I used to teach and had a student who transferred to my school a couple of months into the school year. She was in
Jun 06, 2008 Abby rated it it was ok
Shelves: teen
The thing I hate about most realistic teen fiction, especially those attempting to tackle "issues," like self-esteem and body image, and so forth, is that the characters always experience some profound transformation within in the span of a few months, and everything gets wrapped up and tied with a nice little bow by the end of the book. This book was no exception to the rule.

Our heroine, Virginia, is a misfit teen who hides from the world by immersing herself in the Internet, movies & pop
Sep 03, 2011 Tatiana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: banned books list
An "issue" book which is too simplistic and life lessons-ridden to be enjoyed at my advanced age. I want something that can surprise me. And Printz Honor? And on the top of the banned books list? WHY? Is this about those second base scenes? Or there is more to come?

Jul 01, 2008 Christina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I LOVED this book in high school. I remember reading it repetitively because I just adored the main character, Virginia Shreves. I remember relating to her so, so well and supporting her over and over, always urging her on. I was her biggest fan. More often than not, I found myself wishing for what she wished for, dreaming of what she dreamt, and hoping and believing in her, because if everything could turn out okay for Virginia, it could turn out for me, too.

Mostly, I remember thinking that we
Stephanie A.
Jul 20, 2012 Stephanie A. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ooh, I've been waiting to tear this one apart.

This book is terrible on multiple levels, so many I might even have forgotten some. The ridiculous title tried to warn me away, but no, I had to get it because I really wanted to read about an eating disorder that was the opposite of anorexia. On that front, it was really stereotypical - fat girl belongs to family of thin/athletic/super-successful people, and feels like an outcast because of it. Said girl confides in one special teacher. There is an
While this book had a positive message, it was kind of hard to find underneath all the sleaziness and profanity. I just don't see why people can't write uplifting, inspirational books without tossing in so much filth. And what's more is that we applaud these books and give them awards. This book is a Printz Honor and I thought that it had the potential to be good, but it chose not to. There were several questionable scenes and content that make it something I wouldn't recommend.
I was disappoint
Feb 16, 2010 Heather rated it liked it
Virginia is a big girl, both in size and personality. As the youngest sibling of three in an accomplished, attractive and brunette family, Virginia feels out of place with her blonde hair, voluptuous figure, and unconventional likes. Convinced she must have been switched at birth, Gin has difficulty relating to anyone in her family, though she is fairly close to her older sister and idolizes her older brother, Byron. Nevertheless, Gin feels inferior to her perceived perfect family. Her mother’s ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Wendy rated it liked it
Recommended to Wendy by: Melody
Mixed feelings for several different reasons, but overall I liked this very much and read it in one sitting. Just to touch on one: if the narrator really ate as much as the book claims, and exercised that little, she'd be a lot larger than the book says she is. It annoyed me that the doctor specifically mentioned her not being "obese"--I can see how being somewhat overweight would make her feel like she stood out in her thin family, but it wouldn't be enough for other people to notice her as bei ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Kate rated it did not like it
I picked up this book hoping for a funny, light summer read; however, I found that the book presented many serious issues that remained fairly unresolved by the end of the book. (WARNING: Triggers for self-harm, eating disorders, and general self-hatred below, as well as spoilers)

Carolyn Mackler introduces the prevalent issues of self-hate in her book, "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" in an unabashed manner; she uses language and describes actions that are realistic and what man
Jul 13, 2015 Imani rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
~*Actual Rating: 100 Stars!*~
I just loved it so much and I finished it in one day. This book was so authentic, genuine. There was actual substance to it. The character, Virginia Shreves, grew leaps and bounds and it was believable. It was perfect in how it portrayed the very imperfectness of life. The struggles teens, families, and people face.
 photo julie-andrews-gif-julie-andrews-practically-perfect-in-every-way-mp_zpsqifhsgij.gif
When I first went into it, I thought this would be an enjoyable, fluffy, and funny read. It was enjoyable, it was SO funny, but it wasn't fluffy at all
Nov 17, 2011 Amy rated it it was ok
I had to think on this one for a bit after reading. It's a coming of age book of sorts, and gives a nice message in that "perfect" is not always what it seems, so find your own perfection. I also like that the main character is a "full figured" girl, and that she doesn't win friends and admiration by suddenly becoming thin and beautiful. But at the same time, there are some points that I really was uncomfortable with (and if you don't want spoilers, cease reading now.)

I understand the fall from
Brandon O'Neill
Nov 08, 2007 Brandon O'Neill rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teenagers; their teachers
First of all, I love the title. It is actually the title of something in the book - you'll have to read it to see. I was excited to read this for two reasons (beyond the title): One is that it has been popular with our high schoolers. Yes, a book that many have actually checked out and read on their own. The only other big one I can think of like that was the Divinci Code a few years ago. Second, I got to meet Carolyn Mackler at the ALA conference in Reno. I didn't know what she looked like, an ...more
Dec 07, 2010 711ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 7th-grade
Vigrina is a girl who is unsuecure about her wieght. She also feels like she is does not belong to the family. Her sister and her mom had a perfect body. Every girls thinks her brother is a hotie. Virgina was thinking aren't im suppose to be like them? Viginia feels pressured by her her family, but mostly her mom to make her lose weight. Since Vigina is unsuecure about her weight she doesn't date boys in fact she has a set of rules that fat girls shouldn't do. Virgina has always thought of her b ...more
I am Virginia Shreves. She's smart, has braces, a secret hook-up buddy, and a body that's considered too large by society standards. The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things is her journey from hiding herself to becoming the young woman she wants to be whether that's fat or thin, as long as she's doing what she loves. Virginia's family is perfect, so she feels like she doesn't fit. It doesn't help that her mother is constantly making snide comments about her body and weight, and her father ...more
I think I only picked this book up because of the eye-catching title. I just couldn't ignore it when I saw it on the library shelf. Because of the funny name and the short length of it, I was expecting a light, funny read. Just what I needed after finishing Before I Die...
Well, I have to say that this book was exactly what I expected, nothing more. It was a very quick, mindless read that I'm not sure I will remember in a month.

I disliked pretty much all of the characters, including Virginia. She
Christina Wilder
Overall it's a great book for teens, but I really am tired of the "popular girls are bitches" trope and "guy secretly really likes you" trend. I enjoyed seeing Virginia Shreve come into her own, but it would have been nice to just see her on her own. Not all YA female protagonists need a boyfriend.

Still, it's good to see a YA book with an overweight protagonist wanting to focus on her HEALTH, not necessarily her weight. Some people are built bigger and that's fine (I'm one of them - I'm a curvy
May 29, 2011 Jami rated it really liked it
A lot of relevant teen girl issues in this book, without being overwhelming or too obvious. Protagonist Virginia deals daily with feeling like the black sheep in her perfect family because of her body issues. She is overweight in a family of naturally thin and attractive people.

At school, she overhears a group of popular girls claim they'd kill themselves if they looked like Virginia. Ironically enough, these girls are, in fact, killing themselves with their own body issues and eating disorders.
Sep 22, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it
Recommended to Jenny by: Printz Honor
Virginia is the odd-man out in her family of successful and upper-middle class Manhattanites. Overshadowed by her athletic, popular, and good-looking brother and her thin and beautiful sister, Virginia is constantly being reminded that she doesn’t fit into the image of the perfect family her mother has constructed. In fact, she only fits into sweatpants and extra-large t-shirts. Virginia has passively accepted her father’s constant comments about her weight and her mother’s attempts to dress her ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Shannon rated it liked it
I liked it, I didn't love it. I will say that I enjoyed it more towards the end than in the beginning because the main character, Virginia, starts to gain some confidence in herself. The book is basically about a high school girl trying to find herself & learn to love herself through challenges of life as a teen with social life, family, and personal issues. At the beginning of the book, she was so...well, pathetic. On the other hand, this may be really realistic to someone of her size in hi ...more
Renata Barcelos
Jun 01, 2016 Renata Barcelos rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am so mad at this book I can't even be sure this review will make much sense, but let's try.


There are so, but so many problems with this story. Problems that are dangerous, that can hurt people. First off, how the author decided to make some criminal things light and simple to overcome. Carolyn Mackler decided to use rape, parental neglect and abuse, self harm, depression and other serious issues as simple plot movers, just some bothering d
Aug 25, 2010 Penny rated it liked it
Barely three stars.

Look, I like the message the author is trying to convey, but I think Melina Marchetta does it better in Saving Francesca. Heck, a lot of other authors did it better. But Carolyn Mackler did an okay job.

Read Saving Francesca!
Nov 30, 2010 Valerie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Valerie by: loved the title
I read this because of the title. It turned out to be good teen fiction, so I kept it for the schools only library, which is the back of my classroom.
Jul 04, 2009 Xiaojuanwu rated it really liked it
This book starts with a girl named Virginia Shreves. She lives just like all the girls do but what's impact her is her weight. She isn't much aliker her family members who seem always skinny and proud. Her mom persuades her to loose weight and talk to docter about her weight but she never convinced. In additon, she has her beloved one, Froggy and obey "Girl Code of Conduct." in order to stay relationship with Froggy unceasingly. Life gets difficult for Virginia when she got a phone call from he ...more
Jul 22, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Why this book?

I feel like a broken record. This is yet another book I read for my YA class. I chose this one from the banned and challenged books section. I’m pretty excited to talk about this in our next class. It should be a lot of fun. I feel like I’ve been giving horrible book talks so my friend, Jess, told me to just act like I was telling her about a book I loved because she always wants to read books I tell her about. So I’m going to try that in class this weekend. Anyway, this book is gr
Steph Su
Mar 13, 2009 Steph Su rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites-2
Virginia Shreves is certain that she was accidentally switched at birth. That’s the only way she can account for the differences between her and her parents and two older siblings. She’s sure that somewhere in the Tri-State area there’s an obese, blond-haired, pop-culture-loving family wondering why they have a slim, brown-haired, and culturally enlightened daughter. Because that’s what Virginia knows she is. Fat.

Being fat is a huge handicap for Virginia. She can’t make her weekly make-out tryst
Laura (Booksforbreakfast)
Jun 28, 2010 Laura (Booksforbreakfast) rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in high school and recently decided to reread it because I love the book and the message in it so much. Virginia is one of my favorite characters in a book and I wanted to be her best friend so badly. This book was so funny and heart-warming, it really brings the sense of family back in play. I loved reading Virginia's lists and hearing about Frog Boy.

Overall this is a must-read if you're a teenager or a tween, it's such a good coming of age novel and even though Virg
Jun 05, 2015 Christian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
awalnya sih ambience-nya silly, tapi ke belakangnya terasa seriusnya. nggak heran deh menang banyak award.
Janine Bragdon
May 08, 2015 Janine Bragdon rated it it was amazing
Teenager Virginia Shreves feels out of place in her family, mainly because they are stick thin and gorgeous, and she's, well, not. This YA novel was a fun read, especially because I think Mackler did an amazing job getting into the heads of the larger teenage girls. The same things that my best friend, who is a larger female like Virginia, has told me were almost all portrayed in this book, and after asking her about some of them (to get another opinion) she agreed with me that they were accurat ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Emily rated it really liked it
"The earth my butt and other big round things" Carolyn Mackler takes place in Virginia Shreves apartment on Monday, September 23 at 3:17 pm. Virginia and Froggy are 'getting to know each other' , partly because Virginia misses her best friend after she moved to Walla Walla Washington. "I guess I'd call Shannon my spiritual twin"(Mackler 22). Virginia's main problem throughout the story is her family issues and lack of self confidence in her body. Her family is constantly judging her because of ...more
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BYU-Adolescent Li...: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things 1 7 Jun 04, 2014 02:09AM  
Reading as a YA 6 40 Feb 12, 2014 06:48PM  
????? 9 77 Jul 11, 2012 06:07AM  
can anyone relate 2 31 Dec 02, 2011 09:58PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things 2 25 Sep 09, 2010 03:13AM  
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Carolyn Mackler is the author of the popular teen novels, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things (A Michael L. Printz Honor Book), Tangled, Guyaholic, Vegan Virgin Valentine, and Love and Other Four-Letter Words. Carolyn’s novel, The Future of Us, co-written with bestselling author Jay Asher, received starred reviews and appeared on several bestseller lists. Carolyn’s novels have been publ ...more
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“Never underestimate yourself” 90 likes
“The Fat Girl Code of Conduct:

1. Any sexual activity is a secret. No public displays of affection.
2. Don’t discuss your weight with him.
3. Go further than skinny girls. If you can’t sell him on your body, you’d better overcompensate with sexual perks.
4. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever push the relationship thing. ”
More quotes…