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Fat Kid Rules the World
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Fat Kid Rules the World

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,516 Ratings  ·  607 Reviews
Troy Billings is seventeen, 296 pounds, friendless, utterly miserable, and about to step off a New York subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Until he meets Curt MacCrae, an emaciated, semi-homeless, high school dropout guitar genius, the stuff of which Lower East Side punk rock legends are made. Never mind that Troy's dad thinks Curt's a drug addict and Troy's br ...more
Audio, 6 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published June 23rd 2003)
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Feb 23, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Help me I'm hungry
Recommended to Mariel by: Gypsies, Tramps And Thieves
Confession #1: I found Fat Kid Rules the World from putting in "Matthew Lillard" into goodreads. Somehow, I didn't realize that Lillard read the audio book until after I picked up the printed book for me, myself and I to read (I passed it to my twin to read first. I'm not selfish. She doesn't like to read books I've read first, for some reason).

Useless backstory trivia about me: Lauren has been on a campaign to ruin my reputation for years and years (since the '90s!). She has this idea that I t
Jul 19, 2007 Brittanie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Skinny people who hate fat people
I absolutely loathed this book. It has a completely unrealistic view of fat kids based solely off of stereotypes. The kid is only 300 lbs. but can barely walk without feeling like dying? And he's described as being pretty tall, so all in all, he wouldn't be that big, fat-wise. Being a big person myself, I found this distasteful and think that K.L. Going should have done a little more field research before making the easily lovable main character one big fat joke.
Mar 06, 2008 Nomy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i saw this on someone else's goodreads and have been meaning to read it for a while... it's a "young adult" book so it took basically one day to read. i have mixed feelings. i always love books about teenagers coming into punk rock, it's such a liberation story, and one that i relate to - finally having a space to be yourself and not give a fuck and be part of something by embracing your outcast qualities. fuck yeah. i like that this book does not end with the fat kid losing weight, or even thin ...more
Sep 17, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I loved this book (Fat Kid Rules the World). Six-foot-one, 296-pound Troy is just looking for something that we're all searching for - acceptance. When he meets Curt, a mostly homeless punk prodigy who decides that Troy is going to be his drummer (even though Troy hasn't played since the seventh grade), Troy needs to weigh his own feelings of fear and inadequacy against his desire to stop giving a fuck and just go for it.

When he goes to his first punk rock show and completely loses himself in th
Amore Duzenski
Apr 01, 2010 Amore Duzenski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought originally that this was going to be a good book. I heard so many people say that they thought it made a great read and recommended it to me.

What inspired me to read about this overweight boy is that that I had seen a special Biggest Loser episode. In this episode featured a young man entering his 20's. He was funny, charming, and smart but ultimately saddened because of his loneliness. His appearance seemed to be the major contributor to his low self-esteem. I felt so much compassio

Nov 07, 2007 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit, music-reads
Wonderful story about a little Kurt Cobain like boy whose fat friend Troy tries to save him from himself. This is probably the most fat-positive fiction I've ever read for teens, as the story talks about society's reactions to Troy's weight but does not conclude with "and he gets skinny and popular". Instead, he helps a friend, sees the value of his family and finds a new community in punk rock.
Jul 18, 2010 H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly one of my all time favorite YA novels.... found my 2008 review and want to spread the word. I got a freshman who hadn't finished a book in 7 months to read this book and come back begging for more like it!

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going - Motherless Troy lives with his ex-marine father and jock brother in New York City. Self-described as 300 pounds, Troy feels friendless and alone and lives in fear of the laughter he feels whenever others look at him. One day, while contemplating
May 18, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Troy starts the book out in a suicide attempt. He's saved by Curt, a cool rocker type that Troy would love to be.
They start a band and hang out and throughout most of the book Troy is filled with intense loathing for himself.
He never realises Curt's homeless, has abusive parents and a drug addict.

One of the things I loved most about this book's message is if you get too wrapped up in hating yourself than you avoid seeing that everyone has problems. Troy had issues with his dad but they were not
Jul 20, 2010 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-contemporary
When Troy (a hugely overweight social leper) befriends Curt (a skinny homeless punk guitar genius), they both get much more than they bargained for. Troy's macho brother and ex-Marine father think Curt is just a junkie loser - but as Curt stopped Troy's suicide attempt, Troy can't just forget him. Curt recruits Troy as the new drummer in his punk band - but Troy has never played the drums in his life. When Curt's around, though, almost anything seems possible. An outstanding, heart-warming, funn ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for

Troy knows that everyone is watching him. And laughing at him. Of course they are. At seventeen years old and almost 300 pounds, wearing what appears to be the same pair of tan pants daily, every move he makes is laughable. Will he be able to get out of the car? How many burgers will he eat? Even his effort to breathe is laughable as he huffs and puffs his way along.

He worries that he smells. You don’t understand. It’s not that he’s a pig or anyth
Oct 25, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Troy is a fat kid so unhappy that he is contemplating throwing himself in front of a subway train, when someone tells him to stop. It's Kurt McCray, guitar legend / high school dropout. For some reason Kurt talks Troy into being his drummer, despite the fact that Troy hasn't played drums since 7th grade. For a while it seems like Kurt has saved Troy's life in more ways than one. But Kurt has some problems of his own...

Partly due to Matthew Lillard's perfect voice for Troy, this was a really enjo
Morgan F
I've attempted to read this novel several times, and I finally finished it. I just don't know what it was about the reading that didn't appeal to me. The plot seemed slow to me, and the writing wasn't anything exciting. I also expected this novel to be about a fat kid and was looking forward to that, since there are so few novels about fat teens that doesn't involve them losing the weight and getting the guy. Unfortunatley, the character Curt stole the show, and I believe this book was more abou ...more
Christian  Wilson
Jan 31, 2014 Christian Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fat Kid Rules the World
By K.L. Going

In Fat kid rules the world by K.L. Going is a book about a boy who is in self-loathing, from every day average problems such as family, bullies, and bodily problems. Troy Billings goes through life as though he is on auto-pilot, only looking to the day when he will end his own life. But a mysterious boy comes and changes Troy’s life; will it be for better or worse?

This book is great for teens and adolescent adults, the problems perceived in the novel is comp
Oct 14, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book is definitely one of my favorites because I think it is cool to see the underdog helping a guitar legend. Also when Kurt helped Troy become a cool drummer and got to show Troy's brother that he is more than what he thought was a fat looser. To add on it is nice that in the book the legend helped a fat kid that looked like a loser show what he is capable of. This book I think is pretty realistic which I like about it also because it showed that the fat kid who did not want to ta ...more
Heydi Smith
Aug 22, 2014 Heydi Smith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heydi by: Becky
Shelves: 1-ya, weight
Okay first, language people. I know I'm not the only person that thinks that the amount of language in this book is excessive.

That being said, I really did love this book. I've felt like this kid most of my life and it didn't have anything to do with my weight. Just insecurities.

I thought the story line was genius, the plot was totally original, and I loved the truth of the characters; that they were flawed and didn't really get fixed but learned how to manage and accept their flaws. Also, that
Richie Partington
FAT KID RULES THE WORLD by K. L. Going, Penguin Putnam, June 2003, ISBN: 0-399-23990-1

"I'm a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I'm seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I'm six foot one. I have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth that puckers when I breathe. I'm wearing a shirt that reads MIAMI BEACH--SPRING BREAK 1997, and huge, bland tan pants--the only kind of pants I own. Eight pairs, all tan."

As this head-bash
Apr 21, 2009 Marfita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
There was a brief article about the author in School Library Journal and we had two of her books in. I chose the one that seemed the least depressing. Our library copy had all the "cuss words" underlined in the beginning by some enthusiast - until there were just too many to bother with, I guess - heh! But this book is about kids in New York City and leaving that out wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of these kids. The NYer in me laughs when Troy takes taxis everywhere. NYC is the walkin'est, pu ...more
Oct 08, 2010 Deanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Realistic fiction, young adult, family and friendship, drums/band, eating disorders (fatness).

This is probably the best book I have read all year. I absolutely loved the descriptive language and writing. For example, "Curt pops out the other side like a watermelon emerging from the birth canal" (p. 42). On p. 135 Troy describes what he has eaten in 72 hours. Amazing yet I can see myself doing the same thing after his first stage experience with the band.

What was most interesting was learning how
May 25, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book and while I was reading it I couldn’t help thinking of students who I thought would too. It is not just a tale of friendship and music; it also tackles other tough issues like homelessness, body image, bullying, drug addiction, dysfunctional families, and abuse. There is some strong language and drug abuse, but this book should be appropriate for older teen readers. Loved it!

My Booktalk:

Troy Billings is a 300 pound screw-up who has had enough. He is tired of being l
Badz (Abandoned Marionette)
I am a fat kid. Everywhere I go, people’s eyes would turn my way, their gaze following my lumpy shape. I am used to their disgusted stares. I have no friends. Who would ever want to befriend a 300-pound loser? Even my family looks down on me because of my excessive weight. So I guess no one would even bother when I die.

Generally, that was what goes inside Troy Billing’s head most of the time. Being laughed at all the time for being overweight has become too much of a torment. The only thing peop
Mar 08, 2008 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 7th-12th graders
Shelves: own
The main character, seventeen year old Troy Billings, is extremely unhappy with his weight (296 pounds) and his friendless life until he meets Curt MacCrae. Curt, a semi-homeless teenager who plays guitar in a band, provides Troy with the friendship that he needs to get his life back on track. Although their relationship is strange at times and not popular with his family, Curt leads Troy on a journey through the street of New York where he finally finds some self-confidence. When Troy joins Cur ...more
Being 300 pounds makes high school life miserable for 17 year old, Troy Billings. He has no friends and even his own brother and father seem to loathe him. But just as he's contemplating stepping in front of a subway train, he meets Curt MacCrae, a local legend and guitar phenom. Curt is patterned after a young Kurt Cobain. He is a skinny, sickly high school dropout with stringy blond hair who can entrance everybody with his music.

Troy can hardly believe that he has actually made a friend. But h
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
Right from the first page of Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going, I was already emotionally invested in Troy. It's really heart-breaking to see through his eyes. The observations he makes really makes me feel like crying. This idea that people will laugh at a fat kid doing almost anything just upsets me - everything from how much food he eats to the way he breathes. From Troy's perspective, everyone's watching him and if not openly laughing, secretly laughing and/or making judgements about him. ...more
Feb 21, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saying that K.L. Going deserved to win the Printz honor for the book is like saying Troy Billings carries a little extra weight and Curt MacCrae could use a sandwich. These two unlikely heroes come together when Curt, homeless in a subway station, prevents Troy from committing suicide. Despite his outward appearances, Curt is something of a legend in the local punk scene, and be instantly decides that Troy will be his new drummer, completely disregarding Troy's assertions that he can't play. The ...more
Oct 12, 2011 Kiara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fat Kid Rules the World is mainly about Troy Billings and Curt MacCrae. The story takes place in New York.Troy is 296 pounds and according to all the kids in his school, W.T. Watson High School, he is a loser. On the contrary, Curt is an insanely skinny person who is considered the most popular kid in school for being the first kid from W. T. Watson that played at The Dump, a popular place for bands to play in. After a long time of debating wether or not to kill himself in the subway, Troy is sa ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Fat Kid Rules the World” is a contemporary realistic fiction book by K.L. Going that is intended for teens ages 14-18 or Advanced readers (A). The book received Printz Honor Award in 2004 as well as the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award for Senior in 2006. I read eBook version and gave the book a 5 star rating for many reasons. The book is a coming of age tale about a overweight and suicidal kid, his drug addict guitar playing friend and the possibility of startin ...more
May 27, 2011 Margo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Troy Billings is seventeen years old, lives in NYC, and Fat Kid Rules the World is just one of the hilarious headlines he makes up through the story.

Troy also weighs nearly 300 pounds, and everyone stares. Or at least he thinks they do.

He also thinks it might be a good idea to splat himself in the NY subway after seventeen unremarkable years, but he's not even sure if he'll get that right. That's when Curt MacCrae, the only semi-homeless semi-student punk rock artist legend from school cons Tr
Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 29, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teen guys 14 and up
High school sucks, but it sucks even more if you weigh almost 300 pounds. Troy is sick of feeling like a loser, to the point of thinking about jumping onto the subway tracks in front of a train.
But that's the moment that, Curt, punk-rock guitarist, school stoner and coolness personified in Troy's mind, abruptly barges into Troy's life. He says he wants Troy to play drums in his band, for some reason. Troy is flattered but reluctant, not having played since 7th grade.
But, what's up with Curt? W
Jun 11, 2010 Yolanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one. don't bother.
I get it. The main character, Troy, is a big boy. Fat even. At 300lbs. Check. Is it really necessary to keep telling me this. It's one thing when it is the character thinking about it but it is something completely else when the author has to use it to describe something that Troy is doing. Or trying to do. I would think that most people who read this book aren't complete morons and I think that the author wouldn't treat us as such.

I have to say that at 6'1" 300lbs will always be big, but not bi
Michael Bailey
Fat Kid Rules the World is a realistic fiction by K. L. Going. I thought that it was an okay book that didn’t get my attention in the beginning. It’s about a 296-pound kid named Troy in high school. After he tries to kill himself he meets a guitar legend, Curt, a dropout in his school. Troy is not necessarily the coolest kid in town, and when he meets Curt, his life changes forever. Curt recruits Troy as his drummer, even though Troy doesn’t know how to play the drums. “There’s only one problem, ...more
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K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild sele ...more
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“Whats ironic,” he adds, shaking his head, “is that everyone’s so busy trying not to look like they’re looking at you that they’re really not looking at you.”

Wait. So what you’re saying…” I pause. “What you’re saying is…people aren’t really looking at me?”
“I see it out of the corner of my eye as the man moves his fork toward his mouth. He's talking to the woman and he looks like the same pompous asshole I've been watching for the last hour. Truly. The he moves the fork and a piece of pasta falls off. It hits his lip and smears cheese down his perfect, clefted chin. He tries to act cool, but for a split second, like a flash of light, I see what he's hiding.

Curt looks up with his chin still on the table. He's watching me watch them. "You saw it, didn't you?" he breathes.

I shake my head. "No, I didn't see anything really...." I squint.

the woman puts a small amount of egg on her fork, then lifts it tentatively. She's trying to act beautiful, in control. She moves her body sideways, then opens her mouth....

"See?" curt asks drowsy. "You see it?"

I stare, fascinated. Maybe, after all, I do.

Curt nods in answer to the question I haven't asked.

"Finally," he says. "Do you get it now?"

I nod very slowly. The woman takes another bite, and I don't think about her legs anymore. I just watch for the flash. I don't think I will, but I see it again. One minute she looks confident , perfect, the next I see something else. I cringe.

I try watching the man instead, but that's worse. I realize for the first time that he's trying really hard.”
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