Sixteen writers share candid, earnest stories about body diversity that celebrate people who are fat, who may also be queer, straight, cis or nonbinary, not to mention anxious, proud, rebellious, uncertain or joyous. In short: young human beings. Well, mostly. There's also a murderous mermaid in the mix.
Fat characters are placed front and center in Every Body Shines. They do things any human does: walk on the beach ("Letting Go" by Renée Watson); play softball ("Outside Pitch" by Kelly deVos); eat food ("Dupatta Diaries" by Nafiza Azad); and ride a school bus ("Unpleasant Surprises" by Linda Camacho). They also travel in space ("Weightless" by Sheena Boekweg) and rescue people from burning buildings ("Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire" by Rebecca Sky). Because that's the point of the anthology: people of any size, like people of any gender, ethnicity, personality or sexual orientation, can do and be whatever they want. Every author in this compilation has lived some version of their character's experiences, and their voices come through loud and proud, determined to make readers feel, as Your Fat Friend essayist Aubrey Gordon writes in the introduction, "understood, validated, seen, and celebrated.... My fat friends understood that fat people do everything thin people do--we're just not always given the space to do it." Here, in Every Body Shines, everybody is given the space to glow. After all, as editor Cassandra Newbould writes, "Readers, we get the happy endings, too. Don't forget it!" --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor