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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,064 Ratings  ·  893 Reviews
Sarah Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years. When they were children, his fat and her terrible scars made them both outcasts. Later, although swimming slimmed Eric, she stayed his closest friend.

Now Sarah Byrnes -- the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known -- sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she's hiding, before its dark curren
...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 18th 2003 by Greenwillow Books (first published March 1st 1993)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jessika
Mar 07, 2016 Jessika rated it really liked it
UPDATE (to previous 2010 review--see below)

You know a book is a great book when it packs even more of an emotional punch the second time you read it.

The first time I read this book was for a YA Lit class I took during college. I remember really liking it, so it kind of amazes me that this time I loved it.

It still blows my mind that Chris Crutcher is not a more well-known YA author. He approaches these really tough real life issues that teenagers find themselves facing for the first time...and
...more
Angie
Jul 09, 2010 Angie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: belovedbookshelf, ya
Okay, so can you really read just the title of this book and not want to dive into the rest of it? I couldn't. This was one of our monthly Young Adult Reading Group (YARG) Readerville selections back in the day. It was also my first Chris Crutcher book and, really, what a way to start. I had no idea what his writing style would be like, how his characters would affect me, and I was floored by how deeply involved I became in their story. I can't remember exactly who suggested it, but I am so very ...more
Echo
Oct 01, 2007 Echo rated it it was ok
Shelves: youngadult
I read Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes when I was taking a young adult literature class in college. I'd just finished reading Chinese Handcuffs, also by Crutcher, and even though I'm not interested in sports at all, I really enjoyed it. Feeling in the mood for some more angst, but wary of the emphasis on sports in a lot of his books, I decided swimming would be an interesting sport to read about and picked up Staying Fat. It wasn't bad. In fact, it was very similar to other books of Crutcher's I've ...more
Shannon
Aug 11, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
This novel is a heart-wrenching, very real novel of two best friends that stayed close for so long due to their alienated qualities. Makes me think twice about how I treat people in all settings. Chris Crutcher is definitely worth while.
Erin
Jun 19, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
I believe I read this book while in high school, but picked it up at Borders again.

This Crutcher story focuses on Eric Calhoun, a high school student who was formerly "the fat kid," and his friend Sarah Byrnes. Sarah is a special person - Eric knows this immediately. To everyone else, though, she's the girl with the scars on her face - allegedly from pulling a pot of boiling water on herself at a young age.

When Eric joins the swim team and begins to slim down, he attempts to eat twice as much, j
...more
Kara Ripley
Dec 19, 2008 Kara Ripley rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassie Sonnenberg
Aug 23, 2012 Cassie Sonnenberg rated it it was ok
This book is a slow starter, and at first, I thought it was going to be a pretty typical story of high school outcasts: the fat kid and the badly scarred girl who are best friends provide each other a sanctuary from the rest of the world. Midway through, though, the book gets into some pretty heady issues: suicide, abortion, religion, child abuse. The characters' experiences and the way Crutcher tells them definitely make the reader think -- especially the in=class argument about abortion and re ...more
Heather
Feb 27, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-reads
I think I could write a one-word review of this book (obviously I've exceeded that already, but I'm making a point here). The problem is that if I drop this one word on you, you'll be like, "What?!" It's a racy word, and I think it might be okay to use it because it's not like I go throwing the sauce around on this blog all the time--I prefer to save this kind of talk for when I hang out with my sailor friends. Anyway, here's my one-word review:

FAN-_ _ _ _ _ _ _-TASTIC. Seriously. I know a lot o
...more
Alex Shippey
Jun 09, 2014 Alex Shippey rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cameron Miller
Nov 09, 2010 Cameron Miller rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed this book. While I wouldn't say it is "the best book I've ever read", it is enjoyable.

I'll start with the things I don't like. First off, the characters, while dynamic, are very predictable. I liked them, and the way they changed or showed who they really are through their actions. However, they can be very cliche and predictable at times. Also, this book pisses me off at some points. This might be simply because I'm a highly opinionated liberal, but I suppose it would be the s
...more
Darcy
Nov 13, 2011 Darcy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, ya
If anyone is looking for a new hero I think it should be Sarah Byrnes. She has had a tough life and does something drastic to avoid more horror! I loved how Eric stood by her and did what he could to help her, even when things started to get dicey. I also loved that when Eric realized he was in over his head he went to a respected adult for help and she was able to do what was right and help Sarah instead of following the rules.

The other drama in the book was interesting. At times it seemed over
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Sandra Strange
This book reinforces my objections to Chris Crutcher’s novels, since it had the same problems I saw in his earlier books. The plot concerns a fat boy who takes up swimming and his friend, whose face was badly burned in an accident when she was very young. The “villains” in the book are a stereotyped unjust and sadistic vice principal and a fundamentalist Christian swimming competitor who proves to be particularly hypocritical. My objections: spates of bad language, and the “politically correct” ...more
Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it
This is a book by Chris Crutcher, so of course, it deals with some heavy issues like child abuse, abortion and bullying. However, it a lighter and more 'fun' novel than Whale Talk. The protagonist, Eric, is a 'fat kid' who befriends a scarred girl at his school - Sarah Byrnes. Her hands and face are severely burned. They bond because they are both outcasts. However, Eric takes up swimming and slims down. After being friends for a long time, Sarah ends up in the Psychiatric Unit at the hospital - ...more
Morgan F
This book was just plain annoying. Chris Crutcher's agenda was so obvious and obnoxious, it made me mad. Only half the book was spent on the plot, the other half was spent bashing someone for their beliefs and making this one stereotypical character look like a real jerk. The plot and catchy title looked intriguing, but it was hidden too deep underneath the annoying characters. This wasn't the first time this happened with a Chris Crutcher novel. In his other book I read called The Sledding Hill ...more
Cara
This book covered a lot of ground.
- suicide
- abuse
- friendship
- abortion
- bullying
- family
- religion/beliefs

Almost all of the above issues were handled realistically and in a way that teens could relate to. Even though there were so many issues woven into the story, it never felt preachy or hokey.

The story itself is about Eric aka Moby and Sarah Byrnes. We get to see how their friendship got to where it is, and how Sarah ended up in the psych ward not saying a word to anyone. Watching Moby fig
...more
Say Lee
Aug 04, 2013 Say Lee rated it liked it
2.5 stars.
Although this book gives off a John Green Vibe, the author cramps around five social issues into one book which makes the story a bit too far-fetched.
I really only started enjoying it after I reached the mid-point. And then the author took the liberty to give it a completely abrupt ending.

Sarah Byrnes' character will have you shedding tears for her and Moby is kind of like the friend you always wished you had in school.

The characters are closer to home and easy to relate to.
Worth readi
...more
Raegan
Jun 29, 2015 Raegan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Not my cup of tea.
Matthew Conrad
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
May 18, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, 60626
Man, talk about keeping it real.

That picture of a swimmer's torso really doesn't give any indication to the bomb awaiting the reader behind the cover, ready to explode and intriguing from the very beginning. I love how an immediate tone and sense of teenage wisecracking cynicism is set from the very first sentence; you have absolutely no excuse about not knowing what you're getting into-- and even then, the book goes in a very different direction. I wish there had been a "Contemporary American T
...more
Isabelle Williams
Jun 06, 2014 Isabelle Williams rated it really liked it
The book "Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes" takes place in modern day Washington. The main character, Eric Calhoune is a chubby swimmer. He was "fat" when he was younger but he keeps it off by being on the swim team with his friend Steve Ellerby. Sarah Byrnes is Eric's best friend, has been since junior high. " Sarah Byrnes. Toughest kid I know, and she just slipped away." (Crutcher 7) Sarah makes everyone call her Sarah Byrnes because she has burns all over her face, "When we were in junior high S ...more
Deborah
Oct 13, 2014 Deborah rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally well written story, full of wit, great dialogue, and such memorable characters. Reminds us adults can be the worst bullies, but also true heroes. The author creates scenes where it really feels you're in the room with these interesting group of teens; I'll certainly look for more books by him. While the ending seemed a bit rushed and detoured a bit from the pace of the rest of the novel it is still highly recommended.
Pam
Jun 19, 2015 Pam rated it really liked it
Shelves: mommy-s-shelf
This book was very suspenseful, and the sense of danger built as I read until by the end I couldn't read it fast enough. I read most of the book today. The story was top notch, and I liked the way the author developed each character. I didn't love the writing style itself. I felt like the dialogue seemed unrealistic, but still I liked the book.

I noticed there were a lot of pay phones in this book...but that's because it was published in 1993! I have to say until the end of the book (with the men
...more
Sarah Guillory
Jul 09, 2015 Sarah Guillory rated it really liked it
Single-sitting read. No higher praise than that.
Stephanie Snell
Jul 22, 2015 Stephanie Snell rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on the pretense of scoping it out for my teenaged daughter. Loved it. I look forward to passing it on. It may not be for people who are profoundly Christian. This book is a great fit for those who are encouraging kids to be free thinkers, and families who have honest lines of communication with their kids.
It is not for those who keep their kids isolated. That being said I really thought this was a well written book that touched on so many controversial & sensitive subje
...more
Ronny
Dec 19, 2013 Ronny rated it liked it
I thought the plot was very sad and suspenseful. I thought Sarah Byrnes dad was mean at first when I thought he just wouldn't let her get reconstructive surgery to repair the burns from spilling spaghetti all over herself. It was very sad when Sarah went into the psychiatric ward in the hospital because she wouldn't talk. It was very suspenseful when she thought her dad was getting bad again and might hurt her. Then I was very surprised when I found out her dad burnt her by pushing her against a ...more
kb
Feb 26, 2012 kb rated it really liked it
Biggest surprise read into the year so far. I didn’t expect this badly covered book would take me so deep into its story and far into my mind. Wow, did I just say that profundity?? But see what I mean! I expected this book was just going to be another easy read for me - after all, that almost-naked boy in swimming trunks didn’t seem too serious for me - but sorry, self, Chris Crutcher apparently isn’t into meeting expectations. He’s into racking your brain, challenging you to think about what wo ...more
Marissa
Aug 03, 2014 Marissa rated it really liked it
First and foremost, what an incredible story! Okay so I didn't exactly know what to expect from this book when I borrowed it from the library since the blurb is pretty brief, but I am so glad I ended up picking this one up. Our main character, Eric Calhoune, has known Sarah Byrnes since they were in grade school. If theres anyone who knows Sarah Byrnes best, its Eric. Refused to be called by just her first name, Sarah Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years since her scars and his weight mar ...more
Rachel
Nov 17, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I loved this book, though I didn't think I would even be interested in it when I first read the description/review. It had a lot of complex issues in it, which is probably why it has been challenged so much. Basically the story is Eric (nicknamed Moby b/c he's fat) is best friends with Sarah Byrnes, who is ironically named as she has huge burns across her face and arms. She has completely shut down and is in the hospital and it is up to Eric to figure out what is wrong with her. All of this whil ...more
Carhyne
Aug 18, 2012 Carhyne rated it it was amazing
This book was sad and depressing but it also made me think about my beliefs as a citizen and about wether or not I am going to project my beliefs unto other’s around me. Within this book they juggled some serious topics such as religion, abortion, suicide and shame. While reading this book it sort of made me think about these everyday things that may pass us by or things we don’t really think about happening to us. Religion came up a lot within this book and it kept coming up because it seemed ...more
Stephen
Sep 17, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
Just finished this novel and highly recommend it to parents and to teens who enjoy thoughtful, well written coming of age stories.

I like the way that Crutcher presents athletics. Most athletes spend the VAST majority of their time training and only a small percentage competing and a still smaller percentage winning the big event. Crutcher's writing realistically emphasizes the time spent training. In addition, the athletics aspect is always a sub-plot to another story that the reader can tell i
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Should This Book Be Taught in High School? Yes... No... Maybe? 1 14 Dec 11, 2014 02:27PM  
Radical Readers: Chapters 16-Epilogue 1 4 Apr 17, 2014 06:34AM  
Radical Readers: Chapters 11-15 1 2 Apr 14, 2014 09:21AM  
Radical Readers: Chapters 6-10 1 2 Apr 08, 2014 06:41AM  
Radical Readers: Chapters 1-5 1 7 Apr 01, 2014 07:59AM  
Where can I read Crutcher's books? 1 10 Jul 31, 2012 08:49AM  
Chapter One 1 19 Apr 11, 2012 10:17AM  
  • Fat Kid Rules the World
  • God Went to Beauty School
  • When Dad Killed Mom
  • The Rag and Bone Shop
  • Squashed
  • America
  • Godless
  • Stoner & Spaz (Stoner & Spaz, #1)
  • Breathing Underwater (Breathing Underwater, #1)
  • The First Part Last (Heaven, #2)
  • Silent to the Bone
  • Ball Don't Lie
  • Leverage
  • Rucker Park Setup
  • Spanking Shakespeare
  • Shattering Glass
  • Alt Ed
  • Fallen Angels
28010
Chris Crutcher's writing is controversial, and has been frequently challenged and even banned by individuals who want to censor his books by removing them from libraries and classrooms. Running Loose and Athletic Shorts were on the ALA's top 100 list of most frequently challenged books for 1990-2000. His books generally feature teens coping with serious problems, including abusive parents, racial ...more
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“From a distance,' he says, 'my car looks just like every other car on the freeway, and Sarah Byrnes looks just like the rest of us. And if she's going to get help, she'll get it from herself or she'll get it from us. Let me tell you why I brought this up. Because the other day when I saw how hard it was for Mobe to go to the hospital to see her, I was embarrassed that I didn't know her better, that I ever laughed at one joke about her. I was embarrassed that I let some kid go to school with me for twelve years and turned my back on pain that must be unbearable. I was embarrassed that I haven't found a way to include her somehow the way Mobe has.'

Jesus. I feel tears welling up, and I see them running down Ellerby's cheeks. Lemry better get a handle on this class before it turns into some kind of therapy group.

So,' Lemry says quietly, 'your subject will be the juxtaposition of man and God in the universe?'

Ellerby shakes his head. 'My subject will be shame.”
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“It's a scary thing; moving on. Part of me wishes life were more predictable and part of me is excited that it's not. I think it's impossible to tell the good things from the bad things while they're happening.” 25 likes
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