Future Perfect

Jen Larsen. HarperTeen, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-232123-7
Larsen’s 2013 adult memoir, Stranger Here, detailed her own experience with having weight-loss surgery; in her first book for teens, a high school student must decide whether she will do the same. Ashley is beautiful and popular, has a loving boyfriend, and is valedictorian of the best high school around. But Ashley is also fat—something that doesn’t bother her at all, but that her grandmother believes stands in the way of a successful future. Each birthday, Ashley is wracked with anxiety as she awaits her grandmother’s inevitable present: a homemade coupon for something Ashley desperately wants (a shopping spree, a trip to Paris) in exchange for losing weight. On Ashley’s 17th birthday, her grandmother offers to pay for Ashley’s Harvard education if she will undergo weight-loss surgery. A drawn-out lead-up to Ashley’s grandmother’s yearly wager and digressions about Ashley’s friends cause the plot to drag, but when Larsen focuses on Ashley’s struggle to make her decision regarding surgery, as well as her pride in her natural shape, the novel is a moving, empowering read. Ages 13–up. Agent: Cheryl Pientka, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 10/01/2015
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-06-232125-1
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