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Size Does Matter (Particularly When You’re A Teenage Girl)

Mandy C. connects, commiserates and changes with K.A. Barson’s debut YA novel 45 Pounds (More or Less).

Size Does Matter (Particularly When You’re A Teenage Girl)

BOOK REPORT for 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

Cover Story: It’s Not About Hoarding
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: After-School Special
Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram
Anti-Bonus Factor: Snapz!
Relationship Status: Best of Luck in the Future

Cover Story: It’s Not About Hoarding

At first glance, this book, with its cover imager of young woman obscured by a pile of clothing, might be about someone with a clothes hoarding problem. However, it could also be about a savvy British thrifter who knows how to score a good deal.

The Deal:

Ann Galardi has struggled with her weight her entire life. At age 16, she’s a size 17, and no diet, exercise or magic potion has ever helped her lose weight and keep it off. The stress of living with her mother, a perfect size 6 who is constantly going on about how fat she is, certainly doesn’t help either.

When Ann is asked to be a bridesmaid in her aunt’s wedding, which is taking place in a little more than two months, Ann decides that the time has finally come to make some permanent changes in her life, with both her physical and mental health.

BFF Charm: Yay

Ann is a sweet, funny girl who, unfortunately, uses her weight as an excuse to hide from the world. There were so many points in the book at which I wanted to hug her and tell her everything would be OK. There were other points at which I realized that I have felt the same feelings Ann was feeling (both in high school and to this day). The progress she makes over the course of the book is inspiring, and I’d be honored to be friends with someone like her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

This book isn’t about Ann’s relationships with boys; it’s about her relationship with herself and her family. However, there is the hint of something to come in Ann’s future in a little bit of adorable high school crush-style flirting.

Talky Talk: After-School Special

K.A. Barson, according to the author’s bio at the end of the book, is a grandmother. So I’ve got to give her major props for being able to write such a believable 16-year-old girl. Ann’s voice is a great mix of teenage angst, naivety and heartfelt truth. That said, this didn’t quite turn out to be the issues book I expected it (wanted it?) to be, and that’s in part due the lack of depth behind the issues delved into in the story.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Ann’s Gram, while not a main character in the book, is a safe haven for Ann when things go awry at home. She’s a chain smoker who calls everyone she dislikes “fat ass,” and a complete original. The first time we’re introduced to her, she’s wearing a bright floral scoop-neck blouse, navy blue gauchos, a strand of hot pink beads that match her lipstick, yellow and white striped knee socks and a white beret, with her hair in braids. She’s also a no-nonsense type of lady; she’d do nearly anything to protect Ann, but will also tell her when she’s being unfair or ridiculous.

Anti-bonus Factor: Snapz!

Snapz! is a store in Ann’s local mall that caters to the “average” teenage girl. Not only does the store have a ridiculous (although well-meaning, I suppose) size scale—negative three through three instead of zero through 13—but also I just can’t get behind any naming conventions that involve putting a Z in place of an S.

Casting Call:

Nikki Blonsky as Ann Galardi

Relationship Status: Best of Luck in the Future

You weren’t quite what I expected, 45 Pounds, but I enjoyed our time together. You both made me feel better about myself and kicked me in the butt to make some changes. I think you need to spend a little more time delving into the issues behind your issues, but I also hope you’re able to continue down the positive path you were on when we parted ways.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Viking. I received neither Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate nor money for this review (dammit!). 45 Pounds will be available July 11.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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