Anxiety, Depression, fatphobia (challenged)
Puerto Rican MC, Fat MC, Black side character, Korean side character, Pansexual rep, WLW rep
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Crystal Maldonado, Edelweiss, and Holiday House for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
I don’t understand why it’s been taking me forever to sit down and write this review! As I was reading this novel, I would take a lot of breaks to really reflect on how much Charlie’s experiences mirror my own. It was actually pretty emotional for the majority of reading it.
For one, the fatphobia that Charlie experienced was freaking terrible. I feel like when it came from her mother – her mother constantly making comments about how certain outfits don’t look good on her body, or trying to make her drink weight-loss drinks and all that – it was a worse experience because it came from the only person in her family at the time that she needs to support her. Yes, she does have her father’s side of the family, but since her father has been dead for a while – that isn’t a spoiler, it’s established early in the book – Charlie and her mother haven’t been reaching out to family. That isn’t to say that the fatphobia experience she had in school was not as bad… trust me I was freaking shocked that someone would even say that to her, let alone in such a public setting.
Then we have Charlie feeling like she can’t compare to her best friend Amelia because she thinks that Amelia is perfect. She’s skinny, Black, athletic, beautiful… and to Charlie it seems like her own mother prefers Amelia over her. That was heartbreaking to think that Charlie believed her own mother didn’t love her, but with the behavior she’s been exhibiting, I could understand why Charlie thought that… And I don’t know how many times I have felt inferior to best friends, or even just other people in general. It hurt me but it also was something that Charlie needed to work through, just like any of us.
I truly felt like I could hear Charlie speaking to me, telling me about her day and her experiencing life. It felt like I was a friend to her, wanting to be with her and help her get through all the times where she just felt so depressed and sad. It also made me happy when she did something that she loved and was happy about. The writing really hooked me into the story and I think it helped me enjoy this book more.
I recommend this book for those who want to see a fat, Brown girl learn how to love herself as she is, fat and all. I recommend this book for those that feel like one aspect of themselves eclipses everything that is great about them to other people. I hope that you enjoy it, and I hope that you can appreciate a coming of age story that resonated with me.