Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.
Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom,
a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty
days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's
financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds
start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist
the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that
things have changed. But is it for the better?
Best Bits: I was a bit worried at the start of this one, because it starts off by throwing the sassy, snarky attitude of the main character, and the references right at you. We learn that Emery feels like an outsider in her fit and perky family. Of course, I always end up being connected to these kinds of characters, and Emery proved to be an interesting one. Her snark is really there to cover up the vulnerability of not feeling accepted at home, or at school. Her boyfriend is also overweight, and she really appreciates that for once someone seems to notice who she is, not what she looks like. The show presented a unique way for Baker to address societies expectations about how people look, and what they should do if they go against what is socially acceptable. Regardless of what any of the other characters think, it was great to see Emery work on self-acceptance. The super awesome part, this reality show included individual counseling. On real-world shows like The Biggest Loser, I'd love to know (but not see, because that's private stuff) that they were involved in some therapy...but now we're getting off topic.
Emery is still a teen, however. There were moments where she had unexpected outbursts, and where she lashed out at others. Over the last couple months I've learned to accept this, because it's realistic to a teenager's life. Zeus knows how many times I had crazy mood swings and freaked out on people.
Nit Picks: There are a lot of pop culture references. This is to be expected in a book about a reality show. At some points, though, I felt that they weren't necessary. Despite how business-savvy the Kardashians are, I don't need them being discussed in my fiction (although I can see the comparison between the mothers).
How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love
By Ken Baker
Published by Running Press Kids
Received for Review