HUGE deals with a topic that is apparently in the media more and more these days (though I myself haven’t seen it much): fat camp. Wellness Canyon is a high-end fat camp where two very different girls, April and Wil, are paired as roommates. April has saved all year for this, despite a lack of support from her mom. She wants to lose some weight and gain the popularity she’s always wanted. Wil wants to be anywhere but Wellness Canyon. Her wealthy parents have sent her as she’s a public relations nightmare: they own the high-profile chain of Excalibur Gyms. Wil’s revenge on them is to enter Wellness Canyon with a huge stash of sweets and be the first kid in camp history to actually gain weight while there.
Of course, as it’s full of teenagers with raging hormones, there’s more than weight loss going on at Wellness Canyon. When April and Wil start crushing on the same guy, football playing hottie Colin, their relationship gets even more tense. Can they make it through the summer together and maybe even become friends?
A lot of HUGE is your typical summer camp story. Sasha Paley does a great job of creating at least two fleshed-out, interesting characters (although their development as the story goes on is lacking), though some secondary characters sometimes seem a little flat. Paley is a talented writer, but the popular-kids-are-mean message is maybe a little heavy, and, despite what the back cover says about learning to accept yourself, I felt like she was saying more that being skinny is better than being fat, even if she never came out and said it. Despite this, HUGE is a fairly satisfying read, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Sasha Paley writes next!
**Also posted on TeensReadToo.com**