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I’m Not Fat, I’m Fluffy

In Veronica Chambers' Plus, the main character gains a bit of weight, a sassy best friend, a modelling career, and a Hotty McHotterson. (If only real life worked like that.)

I’m Not Fat, I’m Fluffy

BOOK REPORT for Plus by Veronica Chambers

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: E! After-School Special
Bonus Factors: Modeling, Diversity, Sassy Best Friend
Relationship Status: Crush

The Deal:

Bee (short for Beatrice) gets swept up in a first-semester-freshman-year relationship, and if she isn't picking out baby names yet, she's definitely eyeing china patterns at Bloomingdales and wondering how early to reserve the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace and Reconciliation for the wedding to socially conscious Brian when Brian dumps her. Coldly. She quickly packs on 25 pity pounds and scores an unlikely bff in Brian's ex Chela, AND gets discovered as a plus-size model in Dean and DeLuca (where Javier worked! In Felicity!).

BFF Charm: Yay

Poor Bee. the girl totally needs a bff just to teach her how true bffs treat their friends. Luckily, she has that in Chela (who's awesome and actually the sneaky secret reason I want to be Bee's bff -- so I can hang with Chela!) and doesn't really need me, but I'd help her out anyway. She's a smartypants who kicks ass at science and math, and she knows how to have fun, both out at clubs and in her jimjams at a girls'-night-in slumber party. She's actually super annoying in that way bffs can be when they're hung up on a loser guy and won't listen to a word you say about him, and in that insecure-17-yr-old way, but once you get past that she's a lot of fun. Plus, I'd get to be around Chela, who really deserves my bff charm more than Bee.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

-2 points actually go to Brian, who's a major loser and totally dissed Bee when she was all ready to humiliate herself by buying brand new Victoria's Secret lingerie and lose her virginity to him (probably because the undies are made with sweatshop labor, and Brian's one of those super-annoying self-righteous do-gooders like that). But 8 points go to Kevin, the hotty hottypants soon-to-be-supastar rapper Columbia student she tutors. The boy knows how to dress, is sweet and funny and hot, AND is going to college because it's important to be educated, not to have something to fall back on (cos he doesn't need it). The actual action is fairly Amanda Bynes movie, but Kevin smolders off the page whenever he's around Bee -- I can't believe she doesn't catch on fire from it. Stupid Brian.

Talky Talk: E! After-School Special

Does E! even do after-school specials? (If anyone from E! is reading this, it'd be awesome if you did!) The book is light and gossipy (but easy on the "LOLs" and "Like, totallys"), but it's also a definite message book -- be happy in your own skin, everyone's beautiful in their own way, etc. It is slightly unbelievable that with a trainer and nutritionist Bee wouldn't lose the 25 lbs she gained from pity eating, but I guess there wouldn't be a story, huh?

Bonus Factor: Modeling

There's no Tyra Banks (sorry), but there IS a wicked crazy plus-size supermodel with a hate on for Bee. Also lots of fun hair and makeup people who look out for inexperienced Bee, so a lot of the book is like the scenes with Katniss and Cinna, only without the "Prepare to die" stuff. Oh, and international photo shoots with hot male models who say things like, "I'm gay, but I think you're beautiful. Feel free to touch me anywhere you want." And the other models are pretty cool, not vapid and brainless (one's a Wall Street master of the universe, but with, like, morals. Hey, you can do what you want in fiction).

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Oh, didn't I tell you Chela is Latina and Kevin is black? I didn't? Oops, I guess it's because Chambers doesn't make a big deal out of it, either -- BUT she doesn't make them act "white" with a different hairstyle or penchant for salsa dancing. They're comfortable being who they are, and race is a big part of it, but not a big deal. My favorite kind of diversity.

*Note to publisher: WHY ARE THE BOYS ON THE COVER BOTH WHITE?? Sheesh, I'm so tired of whitewashing.

[Ed. note: Meghan is referring to the ARC cover below.]

Bonus Factor: Sassy Best Friend

We've been talking about good bffs a lot lately, so it's time there's a bonus factor for sassy best friend. Chela definitely steps in with, "Girl! What are you doing? WHAT are you DOING?" when it's needed.

Casting Call:

Selena Gomez as Bee

Selena's in no way plus-size, but she's all I could imagine as Bee. Also, poor America Ferrerra has to be tired of being cast as the chubby girl.

Columbus Short as Kevin

Ok, so he's probably a bit too old at 28, but the book never says Kevin is only 21. He could be an older college student, right?

Melonie Diaz as Chela

She totally has what it takes to play the sassy best friend.

Eddie Redmayne as Brian

Redmayne's one of those actors who can be kind of cute if he's done up just right, but most of the time he's rather ... homely. I think he could play sleazoid full-of-himself Brian perfectly.

Relationship Status: Crush

This is totally that book you look forward to flirting with in calculus class, but never take seriously enough to ask on a date, much less to homecoming. It gives you giggly butterfly feelings when you see it, but as soon as you're around your boyfriend or more serious crush, it's gone right out of your head. Lots of fun, and makes a great friend, but not date material.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free ARC I received from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Plus is available now.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.