ARC BOOK REVIEW: Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

ARC BOOK REVIEW: Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

Fat shaming, extreme dieting, poor body image, shitty parents, sexual content.

*Thank you to Claude’s Bookzone for the comprehensive CW list.

Fat rep

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, and Harlequin Teen for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

Although this book came out a while ago, I still wanted to make sure that I read it and reviewed it so that I could work on my Netgalley ratio. I was finally able to find the audiobook at my local library, and it was enjoyable to listen to. So here it goes!

Not gonna lie, I was really intrigued when I first heard about this novel. For one, it was pretty rare to see a novel about a fat main character. And then to think about a fat girl on a plane was also really interesting because I think about how that is so much of an issue for people that are considered obese and have to purchase two seats in order to travel on a plane like everyone else. It’s not fair, especially because seats are so expensive lately, and people are so quick to judge.

I didn’t really read the synopsis because I try not to get much of an impression before I read something. I just got a simple idea from the cover.

life doesn’t become perfect just because you lose weight.

This is definitely something that Cookie Vonn needed to learn the hard way, and although I do feel like she was proud of her progress and dedication to keep to her diet and stay at the “skinny” weight that she ended up getting to, I wonder if it really was the right move for her. Yes, it opened up a lot of doors for her in the fashion industry because people didn’t end up blowing her off as just another “fat girl”, – which I can totally talk about that later on a totally different post because that already irritates me so much – and then she thought that things were finally going well for her, but then…. maybe they weren’t. Because maybe Cookie was able to see that people treated her differently solely because of the weight loss, not because of the person that she was. Not because of the work that she put in to her work, and her passion for fashion and her designs. Nope, that wasn’t enough when she was fat, and even though her friends really, really, really wanted her to see otherwise, and hoped that Cookie would end up seeing it that way, she needed time to see that on her own.

never forget the people that supported you when you were fat; especially if they still support and love you when you’re skinny

Preach it, Ashley Graham. I feel the exact freaking same way.

Okay honestly, I’m spacing out on Cookie’s Australian best friend from fat camp right now, but I am so glad that they were able to maintain their friendship despite Cookie’s major transformation, and that Cookie didn’t allow everything that happened to her to make her drop her friendship with her friend. And I’m also glad that Cookie’s friend was actually her friend, and never liked her just for the fame and/or fortune. She had money on her own, and really didn’t need Cookie’s notoriety to make waves, so really there wouldn’t have been a need for that. But honestly, there was really so much that could have happened with that friendship with the way that Cookie could flip back and forth with a lot of stuff, and yeah.

I’m still super upset with a lot of things that happened in this novel because it just felt like there was so much betrayal on both ends of Cookie’s life: from her family, her friends, the people she works with, etc. All of these people are supposed to be people that she could trust, and yet they all of them have betrayed her in some shape or form. When you read it, you’ll see what I mean. And it’s just so upsetting because how is she supposed to trust anyone these days? She’s making a name for herself and she is trying to use her platform to make designers make clothes that look good for all types of bodies, not just ultra-thin ones, but people still aren’t truly listening to her because she was once fat.

Okay I feel like I may have gone way off topic on that theme, but basically get yourself a best friend like Cookie’s Australian best friend, and I truly hope someone can remind me of what her name is because I’m so disappointed that I forgot her name right now.

Thank you Cookie Vonn for trying to use your privilege to get these fatphobic fashion execs and designers to realize that fat people want to look good too. It’s like they forget that we like to spend our money on good clothes.

I mean, why do you think we like to buy stuff from Fashion Nova? *Shameless plug, lemme stop shopping there for a second while I try to write this review…

But seriously, yes I understand that Cookie did not have a… “cookie-cutter” perfect life. Yes, I had to use that, I’m sorry. Even her mom being some sort of big deal model when she wanted to be didn’t make Cookie have a good like. I mean, her mom really didn’t a crap about her, let’s be real. Which sucked because, geez. First her mom doesn’t care and also her dad wasn’t even there for her anyway so really it was just her grandma that seemed to care about what actually happened to Cookie and even then some of the things that Grandma said was kind of questionable… I don’t know. This whole family was pretty dysfunctional, but there’s no such thing as a perfect family anyway. We aren’t even going to get started on Cookie’s best friend dude, because what the heck was that mess right? Ughhhhhh I’m so angry at him. He is NOT the best guy friend that is the typical best guy friend that all of the Disney original series characters have… I mean what?

Where have I heard that line before?

I legit hated Cookie’s mom, her “step-dad” legit EFF THAT GUY, her freaking bully during her internship, her so-called best guy friend during that whole mess…

Wow, did I not like anyone in this book? No, no that’s not true. I did love Cookie’s Australian friend. Darn it, please someone help me remember her name, I’m so ashamed that I clearly can’t remember.

Anyway.

Clearly I had a lot of anger for the things that Cookie went through that she really didn’t have to. I felt so hurt for her when that stupid airline company first made her buy an extra seat because she was “too fat” to fit into one seat (spoiler alert: no the hell she wasn’t) and then proceeded to kick her off the plane because they oversold the flight.

Like, the hell is wrong with that airline? I know overselling flights is like… a regular thing apparently? But that’s just so freaking horrible. And then even after she had to purchase a whole other seat? And she had to get that money from her best friend at the time? AND the employees of the airline made her feel like utter shit because of it? Like, oh my god. I was angry for her. I wanted to beat up everyone. I don’t care that she could have done that herself but still, I would have done it.

I did enjoy the novel though, and even though I was so irritated with the shitty things that were happening, it was in a good way. I got emotional thinking about it and it just made me pretty happy with how much Cookie did end up overcoming and how she used her platform, and by the end of her story, how she grew as a character. I was proud of her growth by the story’s conclusion.

This was another novel that I got to listen to, and now this is making me wonder if I should switch out this section for an audiobook style analysis portion when I listen to books instead…. but anyway. I could feel Cookie’s voice completely when I was listening to this, and not just because it was an audiobook. I feel like deVos has a clear writing style, and it works out well for a contemporary novel like this. Before I read this novel, I actually read her dystopian novel Day Zero, which I really loved, so I figured I should go back and remember to read this one. I find that I like her writing despite the different genres, and I’m glad for it.

I believe this was deVos’ debut novel – yes it was, I just checked Goodreads – and I believe she did a great job with it. I also had a great time reading it, well listening to it. I’m glad that an audiobook was finally available for me to listen to, because I was looking forever for a copy and just had the worst time finding one. I think I could have reviewed this way sooner if I had, but alas. There is another review that I saw on Goodreads that made a good point: this is not a weight loss journey. I think that is important to say because while Cookie does end up losing a lot of weight with this extreme diet treatment that she goes through, that is not the overall plot of the story, nor is it the magic pill that makes everything happy and beautiful all the time when she achieves the weight that she wants to be. So I didn’t feel compelled to try to lose a tremendous amount of weight like she did, although if I did that would be cool, and this book didn’t make me feel like I was inadequate for being fat.

So that was really important to me because I wouldn’t want anyone reading this to feel like they couldn’t be happy or worth anything because they aren’t at a certain weight, or a certain body type.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good novel, and I plan on reading more deVos novels in the future.

I know that I didn’t really talk about what I felt about this book from a fat perspective, at least not completely and fully like I could have, but I think that I didn’t really need to. Or I just didn’t have the capacity to remember much about what I needed to. Maybe one of these days I’ll read it again and take a look at it again from that perspective. I feel like this time around I was more reading it to enjoy it since it was already way after the book’s debut date – again I’m sorry! – and also I don’t know how much worth my words would be from a “fat rep” reviewer since I don’t always review as an #ownvoices fat rep. I don’t really know if I do it correctly or not, but there were things in the novel that I could relate to because Cookie was fat. I may not have been as fat as her, but we were both still fat, and there were both feelings that we had about our weight and image. So, maybe one of these days. Maybe next year? Maybe later one? I have a copy though so at least I’ll have some time to do so no matter what.

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