45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson
Penguin Young Readers Group
July 11, 2013
After yet another humiliating shopping trip with her perfect mother, sixteen-year-old Ann is determined to lose weight. For real this time. Especially since she is going to be a bridesmaid in her aunt’s wedding. Despite that fact that she has tried most of the gimmicks and fad diets, with no lasting success, Ann turns to yet another diet plan she sees on television. Ann has a long list of struggles to deal with. Her family is life is chaotic, her so-called best friend has a new group of friends, and as the wedding date approaches, the pressure to lose weight becomes unbearable. Ann eventually reaches a breaking point, which actually leads to a turning point. Family secrets are revealed, the perfect dress is found, and a family begins to heal.
I admit I was worried that this was going to be a fat-girl-is-shunned-but-loses-weight-and-everything-is-perfect kind of story. It was not. Ann is a complex and well-developed character who is surrounded by a delightful and slightly dysfunctional cast of supporting characters. Ann’s struggles are heartbreaking and unfortunately many readers will easily relate to her. She often loses her way, her focus, and her temper, but in the end she learns the importance of balance. The messages in this book are so simple and gently told. This book is a must-read for anyone who has ever felt out of balance, left out or uncomfortable in their own skin. A lovely debut from an author to watch.
This one will pair nicely with Revenge of the Girl With a Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg.