Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons,
embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some
surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!
Best Bits: So, this review is going to delve a bit more into the person than I typically go, but there's a good reason for it. I knew that I was going to relate to this book because I've struggled with weight and body image for a large portion of my life. So, I laughed with Ann, was excited for her successes, and got a bit teary-eyed when things in her life were so out of control that she turned to food. Barson's writing felt really authentic, which was amazing. Not only did I think "I've been there", but I think that all teens can relate to the feeling of not being good enough, and failing. Plus, it didn't portray her as a slob, just because she struggled with weight and eating. The book touches on some great topics, too. We see how Ann's younger siblings are impacted by the food-related behavior of her mother, and Ann resorting to potentially unhealthy food choices in an effort to reduce calories. This is, of course, thrown off track by occasionally binging.
Barson does a great job incorporating the idea of positive body image, without being preachy. Sure, Ann doesn't finish the book at the same weight she started at, but that's because she's feeling better about herself, and when she's experiencing uncomfortable feelings she doesn't turn to food (i.e. boredom, anger, etc).
Nit Picks: SPOILERY NITPICK AHEAD! The one thing I wish had been expanded on was the shift in Ann's thinking and behaviors from negative to positive. Some of the changes were extremely believable due to her conversations and understanding of supporting characters in the book. Still, I think that eating disorders usually require some sort of professional intervention and aren't always things people can fix by pulling up their bootstraps.
Last Thoughts: I wish that all YA reads had as big of an emotional impact on me as this one did. I think that all readers will find Ann to be a relatable, engaging character who they can laugh, cry, and cheer for.
By K. A. Barson
Published by Viking Juvenile
Gifted by the fabulous Nereyda of Mostly YA Book Obsessed