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The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

(Virginia Shreves #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  26,716 ratings  ·  1,826 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, 256 pages
Published June 14th 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published July 14th 2003)
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Angel I have been hoping for one---I'd be really excited if they do. …moreI have been hoping for one---I'd be really excited if they do. (less)
Niffty i don't know for sure but my guess is that this book brings up some serous topics like rape and eating disorder. it doesn't go deep into the issues bu…morei don't know for sure but my guess is that this book brings up some serous topics like rape and eating disorder. it doesn't go deep into the issues but if you look up banned books there are many books that get banned for stupid reasons(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  26,716 ratings  ·  1,826 reviews

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Apr 18, 2008 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
This book is a TIME CAPSULE.

I read this exclusively because I got an ARC of the sequel, which is inexplicably coming out this year. Yes. A sequel. To this 2003 contemporary. Which couldn’t do a better job of capturing a bygone, offensive, outdated way of looking at weight if that were its goddamn purpose.

For the most part, this is just a strange reading experience. When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with reading contemporaries well above the age I was supposed to be reading. (“Mom,
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Here’s an important message to all of the people who made this selection top the Banned Books List . . . .

Do you actually think that by removing stories like these from school libraries that it will also magically eliminate any nastiness from ever occurring to your speshul snowflakes???? I mean, I understand that Virginia might not be everyone’s idea of a great time, but silencing her won’t keep the superbadawful stuff from ha
C.G. Drews
This one was a strange mix of empowering and kinda problematic for me?? I'm a bit at a loss of what to think tbh. I got sent this review-copy from the publishers and it's actually been rewritten/updated by the author to fit into being a modern-2018 book. (The original was set in 2003 which, we ALL KNOW Is when dinosaurs were still around.)

The underline of the whole story is: nobody is perfect. Which is a good message! And honestly I love how Virginia learned to accept and love herself for who sh
Dec 03, 2007 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
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I'm wavering between a 3.5 and a 4 on this one. Very quick read. The book is about Virginia a girl trying to live in a "picture perfect family" when she herself does not feel quite so picture perfect. Dealing with being overweight, critiqued and facing a family crisis, Virginia deals with teenage issues.

On paper, Virginia has it all. A super slim beautiful Mother, and caring family. She is wealthy and can basically do whatever she likes. Her best friend goes away for the summer and Virginia is l
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-stars, contemporary, ya
This book has trigger warnings for depression, rape, self-harm and bulimia! So keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book.

I did enjoy it but there were some things that I did not like.

The first thing is that it took to long to get anywhere. The first 100 pages were the same story, and for a book that is 250 pages long, it shouldn't have taken that long to get into it. I felt there wasn't much of a plot.

Another thing is that the ending happened quickly. The book rounded itself off too
Jun 06, 2008 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 cult
Jul 01, 2008 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
mindful.librarian ☀️
Okay, this book is 15 years old and I just read it now since I have an ARC of book 2 which comes out at the end of May. I adored all of the body positive and sexual awareness stuff in this story, although I do have a few minor issues about how food is discussed - I think if this book had been written in 2018 it would have been addressed a bit differently, but I respect that I'm reading this 15 years late!

I'm VERY interested in how book 2 is going to address the massive technology differences bet
May 28, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: banned books list
Shelves: dnf, ya, printz
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?

Stephanie A.
Jul 20, 2012 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
Merphy Napier
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemperary
3 stars

I've realized that I really enjoy contemporaries that focus on issues. I'm not sure how to else to categorize this type of book. the ones that follow someone that's going through crap and you just live life with them, trying to figure it out.

I loved our main character, I loved dealing with her life with her, I loved reading this book.

Things I didn't love:
1. (view spoiler)
2. (view spoiler)
Sep 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
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
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
Apr 11, 2009 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
Kathy - Books & Munches
The author rewrote this novel to fit the current world - adding technology and whatnot to make this story more accessible for young adults of today. That being said, the writing itself is definitely fluent as well. It's a quick read, but not a light one in the slightest.

A whole array of heavy topics are touched upon, most of them anything but easy to swallow. There's mention of a side character having committed date rape, there's self harm, there's fat-phobia in abundance, with bullying and eati
Aug 23, 2014 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
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, 2018
3/5 STARS. This review is also available on my blog HERE.
If it doesn't make sense in certain parts it's because I reviewed it in the same blog post as its sequel. Click the link for full comprehension and to read the double review there :)

I'll be very honest here, I was extremely right to be hesitant about this book. It, unfortunately, contained all of them trigger warnings and more and for the first half, I seriously considered putting it down. It was so uncomfortable and so obviously unhealthy
Nov 17, 2011 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
A little too neatly packaged

This was a fast read with lots of witty banter. It dealt with some serious issues but ultimately they were glossed over.
Jul 05, 2015 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
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
Feb 18, 2010 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.
Samantha (WLABB)
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, ya
I heard this book had been updated in anticipation for the sequel release, but I borrowed it from the library, and am pretty sure I read the original version, since they talked about the colored iMacs (which I loved!).

That said, I found it really incredible and sad, that the events and issues explored in this book are still in the forefront today. The book focuses largely on body image, but there was also a date rape subplot, which had a huge impact on Virginia.

I was a fat kid, thin teen and t
Brandon O'Neill
Nov 06, 2007 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
Oct 26, 2010 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
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of the book for review!

CW: eating disorders, self-harm, rape, emotional abuse

"But what happened the next morning, what will happen every morning for the rest of my life, that's up to me. I think people can choose to be victims or they can choose to be empowered and to carry on. That's what i want. To be empowered."

Although I had a few issues with this book, it's a story that needs to be told. It's honest and the author holds nothing back, it's tho
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
2.5 stars from me as there is NO way I would give this 3. I had issues with several unresolved topics mentioned. This wasn't downright awful but it was a little difficult to get through at times.


Full review can be found here:

I had never heard of this until I saw the author has a sequel coming out soon (no joke, The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I comes out May 29, 2018). I figured I would read this to see if I wanted the sequel. Normally the title
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BYU-Adolescent Li...: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things 1 8 Jun 03, 2014 05:09PM  
Reading as a YA 5 40 Jan 22, 2014 09:35PM  
????? 9 78 Jul 10, 2012 09:07PM  
can anyone relate 2 34 Dec 02, 2011 12:58PM  
Wild Things: YA G...: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things 2 28 Sep 08, 2010 06:13PM  

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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), Infinite in Between, 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 ha ...more

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Virginia Shreves (2 books)
  • The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (Virginia Shreves, #2)

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“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. ”
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