Nina Beck’s novel and I had a rocky start to our relationship. Riley, the main character, is described on the back of the book as “plus-sized.” And the main plot point is, she goes to fat camp. However, she is also a size 10-12. That is in no way fat. This upset me, but as the book went on, I came to see that it didn’t look like anyone actually thought of Riley as fat except maybe her stepmother. I don’t like where the word plus-sized was used, but Riley, her friends, her family, and the guys she hooked up with all seemed to think she was pretty attractive. So I’m pretty glad I continued past that point.
Note: this post is slightly spoiler-y, so if you’re really uptight about spoilers, don’t read any further. But I don’t think it’s spoiler-y in a bad way. It just shows that this book is made of awesome.
This Book Isn’t Fat, It’s Fabulous is about a rather shallow girl in Manhattan who is sent away to a fat camp called New Horizons in upstate New York. She leaves all sorts of unresolved issues with her friends (including her best friend, a guy who she thinks she’s in love with and kissed before she left) and family, goes away to fat camp, finds a great guy and some great friends, and some new perspective (ie she becomes less shallow). This is all pretty predictable. But you know what the curve ball is? She never loses weight, and she has remarkably few body issues for a teenage girl of any size! That is why this book is so absolutely fantastic. That is the best message ever! I love that message! But it’s not preachy, and this book isn’t really about fat. This book is about a pretty typical girl (though she spends way too much of daddy’s money) who has relatively normal issues and confused feelings about her guy best friend.
This is a happy book that totally made me smile. I loved the romance, I loved her friends at fat camp (I totally want to know more about Samantha), I was intrigued by her confused feelings about her best friend, and I liked the (admittedly predictable) way her thinking changed while she was at New Horizons. Okay, so the book itself isn’t exactly remarkably deep, but you know what, I’m on vacation and I don’t care. There’s bunches of shallower things in the world, countless terrible books out there that I’m glad I wasn’t reading instead. Nina Beck’s writing style is unremarkable, but in a good way–it doesn’t interfere with the totally fabulous story being told. I love Riley’s attitude. This book has serious attitude. It’s fabulous and empowering and fun and entertaining and an easy summer read. You probably know that I like good body image message books, and this is one of the best I’ve read. Riley’s attitude about her body is wonderful, and by the end she had really grown on me as a character. I only wish this book was longer! My biggest complaint here is that all of this remarkable character development and awesome romance happened in a very short period of time. It would have been a tad bit more realistic, I think, to stretch out the timeline a bit. In conclusion: this book is fabulous, Riley is fabulous, everything is just fabulous. Go, read it!