This is a fat girl book (not an ice skating book, as I for some reason thought upon reading the title). I’ve got to say that right off. We’ve all read them; the main character is a fat girl who is usually also a loser and often becomes happier after she loses weight.

GO FIGURE isn’t that cliche. Yeah, Ryan is a fat girl, and, yeah, that’s part of who she is that she isn’t entirely comfortable with. Her therapist tells her to embrace her fat, which she and I both think sounds kind of gross, but whatever.

Ryan wants to lose weight, but the fat girl isn’t all she is. Another thing that, to the people in her town, defines her is her ex-boyfriend, former high school nerd and current rock star on the cover of Rolling Stone. Ryan’s also a talented photographer. And she sits at the popular table at lunch. So right there, Ryan breaks that fat girl cliche.

I love how Ryan, while insecure about her weight, is seen as more than the fat girl here. The book that kept coming to mind as this book’s complete opposite was HUGE by Sasha Paley, which had flat and fat characters who were suddenly happier after they lost weight at fat camp. So ridiculoulsly and stupidly cliche! Jo Edwards avoids that, and does it beautifully. The lesson Ryan learns isn’t that it’s better to be skinny; she learns more about accepting herself than anything, but this still didn’t feel like a “lesson” book to me.

Ryan is a fantastic character. She’s totally three-dimensional, and easy to relate to (for anyone who is insecure about her body in some way, which is, well, all of us). I love her voice, that elusive quality that only some authors are able to make real, but Edwards does it. Jo Edwards is a wonderful writer! I was seriously impressed by this book.

Five Stars