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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  18,944 ratings  ·  1,272 reviews
"The heroine’s transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable — and worthy of applause." — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

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 ca
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Paperback, 244 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Suzanne
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
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Shelly
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
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Abby
Jun 06, 2008 Abby rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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Tatiana
Sep 03, 2011 Tatiana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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?

Christina
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
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Snorkle
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
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Heather
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
Stephanie A.
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
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Wendy
Apr 11, 2009 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Kate
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
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Brandon O'Neill
Nov 08, 2007 Brandon O'Neill rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
711ashley
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
Angie
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
bookczuk
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
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Jami
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.
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Jenny
Sep 22, 2014 Jenny rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Shannon
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
Penny
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!
Valerie
Nov 30, 2010 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
Xiaojuanwu
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
Laura Graves
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
...more
Sapir
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
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Steph Su
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
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Laura (Boundless Bindings)
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
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Janine
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
Emily
"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
Delaney
In the beginning of this novel, you meet Virginia Shreves, an insecure and over weight teenager living in New York. Based on the thoughts and feelings of her character, Virginia comes across as someone who doesn't accept herself or her body. She doesn't sit with any friends at lunch, (mostly because her best friend Shannon is in Washington), socialize with her peers, or communicate with her family when they do things she doesn't like. Virginia doesn't even socialize with her "boyfriend" Froggy i ...more
Jacqueline

New York teen Virginia Shreves wants nothing more than to be accepted by her picture-perfect family. The Shreves are attractive, smart, and fit, unlike overweight Virginia. The teenager even describes herself as "the weakest link in the Shreves clan" (Mackler 18). It's hard for Virginia to be confident in her body when always compared to her well-liked siblings and parents. To make matters worse, her best friend Shannon moved to the other side of the country, and she never sees her "boyfriend" F
...more
Katie
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
Carolyn Mackler

I really enjoyed reading this book, and am now happy to say it is one of my favorites. The humorous title and cover photo instantly drew my attention to this book and I loved it because it was filled with constant humor, but also very real situations that any teenager can relate to. I read it all within the day I got it, for I couldn't put it down!
The main character Virginia Shreves, who has an oversized body complex and a personalit
...more
Riley
Overall, I thought this was a comical, relatable, and awesomely written novel! "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" had me hooked from the very start and I couldn't put it down. One of the main themes I took from this book and something that Virginia Shreves learns was that sometimes not caring about how others perceive you and realize that people are never going to be perfect could build self confidence and change the outlook on how you see the world, others, and yourself. This is a ...more
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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
More about Carolyn Mackler...
Vegan, Virgin, Valentine (V Valentine, #1) Tangled Guyaholic (V Valentine, #2) Love and Other Four-Letter Words The Future of Us

Share This Book

“Never underestimate yourself” 88 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. ”
46 likes
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