Monday’s Muse–Recent Reads Review style

I know it’s Monday and this really should be a Monday’s Muse post, but I just finished reading this book and feel compelled to take today to post my review. And, really, this read was so inspirational to me that it’s perfect for a Monday’s Muse post anyway.

As a reminder of my scoring system, I’m using emoticons. Here’s what they mean:

Open-mouthed smile–WOW—I loved this book and will talk/have talked about/shared it with others.

Smile–Not totally in love, but this was a great book and I may talk about/share it with others.

Thinking smile–This was okay. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not my favorite.

Sad smile–This wasn’t for me. I stopped reading and couldn’t bring myself to finish.

Steaming mad–How did this get published?

If you happen to be the author of one of the books I review, please remember this is my honest opinion. Don’t hate me if I don’t give your book a great big happy grin. I am only one reader in the whole wide readership and I’m sure there are those who’ll love your work—it just wasn’t me.

On the menu for today:

BUTTER by Erin Jade Lange

RatingOpen-mouthed smile

I’ve been living in a dark cave or something, so I hadn’t heard about this book until I attended the SCBWI AZ conference earlier this month. I picked a break-out session at the conference where Erin Jade Lange and her agent, Jennifer Laughran, talked and answered questions.

When I heard the premise of BUTTER, my first reaction was something like, are you kidding me? Why on earth would someone want to read a book like that? Followed instantly by I wonder if he really does it. Hmm. Maybe I want to read it.

Lucky for me, there was a bookstore at the conference. I bought a copy—and finally found time to read it. Good thing I waited until I had “time” because I couldn’t put it down.

The Story—From the title, you’d think this was about food. And, in a way, it is. Butter is the story of an obese teen boy who decides to eat himself to death over a live internet feed. He sets a date of New Year’s Eve. He isn’t sure what he expects to happen—maybe sympathy, pity, insults. Instead, Butter gets morbid encouragement—and fame. His schoolmates are cheering him on.

Now he’s sitting at the popular table and going to parties. But the down side is that his new “friends” expect him to go through with the plan. However, now that Butter has what he thinks he’s been missing—a life—he isn’t so sure he wants to die anymore. He’s faced with a tough choice. Go through with the plan to eat himself to death, or give it up and lose his new popularity.

There’s also another side to this story—a romance. Butter likes a girl from school. And she likes him—well, the online persona he creates anyway. But will she be able to like the real him?

And who is the real Butter anyway?

My thoughts—First of all, for those who, like myself, don’t like the “F” word in their literature, be aware that BUTTER does have a few “F-bombs” in it.

Now that that’s out of the way, I have to say, I’m blown away by this book. Butter’s story is so compelling and so gut wrenching (yes, I cried—okay, bawled) that I had to give it a big fat smiley face.

Every teen should read this book. Every parent should read this book. Every grandparent. Every teacher. Every. One.

Erin Jade Lange took the topics of cyber-bullying, bullying in general, and teen suicide and poured them into a character and story so achingly real that I found myself wanting to call the authorities to save him. I’m telling you, this book is one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever read. It resonated so deeply with the teen inside me that I’m going to be thinking about it and talking about it for a long, long time.


Read on.

About Joan Stradling, Author

Joan Stradling is a middle grade and YA author of stories with magical elements. She loves painting, baking, crafting, pet wrangling, and anything else she can fit into her schedule. A passionate believer in the power of books, she still hopes to one day ride a dragon, meet a Hobbit, or discover new worlds by walking through a wardrobe. In the meantime, she imagines and writes about her own incredible worlds and characters–and continues to live vicariously through the adventures in other’s books. You can find her on Instagram (@JoanStradlingAuthor) or Twitter (@justJoanS) or FB (Joan Stradling aka Joan Stewart) Join me on Patreon:
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