Author: Erin Jade Lange
Publish Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death—live on the Internet—and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference.What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn’t go through with his plans?
Butter isn't your average teenage boy. He's not good-looking, he certainly doesn't get the girls and acne is the least of his teenage woes. Instead, Butter tops the scale at over 400 pounds - being a morbidly obese teen in high school, where only the most perfect rule. His weight clouds everything. He's lonely, he's depressed and he can longer see that he has anything going for him when, in fact, he's funny and extremely musically gifted. Butter sees no way out though. He thinks that the only thing to do is end it all, and why not go out the way he got to this place? He'll eat himself to death. What happens when the world rallies around him in encouragement though? Will pseudo-popularity save him?
You guys know me. I love issue books. I've read a whole bunch regarding eating disorders, though they mainly focus on anorexia or bulimia. Butter is my first encounter with an overeating disorder. Needless to say, with a synopsis like that, I was hooked. Erin Jade Lange has crafted a slightly off-kilter novel that challenges you to feel for both the bully and the bullied, making certain that there is no semblance of black or white in this book. Butter is crafted entirely in shades of grey that force you to make your own opinions and assumptions. With haunting and desperate prose that sometimes stings with a leering lilt, Butter is truly one of a kind.
In a genre where the YA golden boy is king, Butter is pretty much the most unlikely "hero" or MC you might meet. There was a part of me that loved him. He was really funny. He was also really talented. However, there was this dark side of him that made him oddly creepy, as he stalks the people online that he could never approach in person. Butter challenged me to put aside my own personal opinions though and fully immerse myself in the story. Parts of the novel are sickening (absolutely revolting), and made me want to hate every teenage bully out there. However, the beauty is that the novel portrays these moments accurately, and it doesn't mince on the details. Rather, it sheds light on the true, dark nature of bullying. As Butter's final countdown to his deathday approached, I couldn't help but be riveted. It was fast-paced, and the newfound popularity Butter faced was intriguing. I had no idea what was going to happen. In the end, I am glad we got a resolution, but there's a part of me that felt the ending was too neat and too tidy. Not every story needs to be wrapped in ribbons and bows. I do believe Butter could have been better if it had less of a delicate hand in the end.
Overall, a large part of me enjoyed the story and the fantastic writing style, while there's a part of me that's totally on the fence. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary fiction and issue books.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.