Tuesday, March 9, 2021


Lisa Fipps is a graduate of Ball State University, award-winning former journalist, current director of marketing for a public library (where she won the Sara Laughlin marketing award), and an author of middle-grade books. Starfish is her debut novel. She’s working on her next novel and several others. She currently lives in Indiana and lived in Texas.

Fipps applied the Page 69 Test to Starfish and reported the following:
Starfish is a middle-grade novel in verse. Page 69 of Starfish is the poem “Big Ol’ Fat Thing.” The protagonist, Ellie, has just told her therapist, Dr. Wood, about something deeply hurtful that Ellie’s mother had said.

A reader opening Starfish and flipping through to page 69 would get a very good idea of the magnitude of the bullying that Ellie endures for being fat, especially by her mother, who’s her biggest bully. Starfish isn’t just about the bullying, though; it’s about Ellie’s journey from letting others’ words and actions make her feel small to boldly taking up her space in the world. So, a reader wouldn’t get that part of the story from reading page 69.

The poems involving “big ol’ fat thing” are the most powerful examples of how one word can form the basis of a child’s self-image and self-worth and have a far-reaching, lasting, negative impact. These poems are some of the most painful for readers to read. They were also some of the most painful for me to write.
Visit Lisa Fipps's website.

My Book, The Movie: Starfish by Lisa Fipps.

--Marshal Zeringue