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Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

Review

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes

STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES, currently in preproduction as a major Hollywood motion picture, is the perfect example of why the term "young adult novel" is often misleading. Although key protagonist Eric Calhoune and his best friend Sarah Byrnes are teenagers, this is not a for-teens-only read.

"Crutcher has created not only a topnotch thriller, but a tender story of friendship and loyalty that transcends the 'young adult' genre. He has written a book that defies the limits of age."

Since childhood, Eric Calhoune and Sarah Byrnes have found solace and support with one another as best friends. Eric grew up the fat kid --- "Moby" to all of his peers. Sarah struggled with her physical disfigurement --- a face and hands mysteriously burned to monstrous proportions before she even started school. Although their perceived weaknesses made them unnatural allies, it was their hearts that made them genuine friends.
 
As Eric's place on the high school swim team begins to melt away his unwanted pounds, he feverishly eats to help maintain the balance --- thus the title, STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES. Secure in his devotion, Sarah lets Eric off the calorie conscious hook. But they soon discover it will be the unyielding brutality of Sarah's father Virgil, not Eric's new physique, that truly tests their friendship's resolve.
 
Why has Sarah Byrnes suddenly gone catatonic in a Spokane mental ward? How can Eric help if he's not really sure why she's there? Are Sarah's secrets striking her dumb? Would her father kill to keep the secrets from being revealed?
 
In answering these and other heart pounding questions, Crutcher has created not only a topnotch thriller, but a tender story of friendship and loyalty that transcends the "young adult" genre. He has written a book that defies the limits of age. It is a book that covers all the bases and speaks to strength of the human spirit, the heroics of the human heart.

Reviewed by Kelly Milner Halls on February 1, 1995

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
by Chris Crutcher