Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have

Allen Zadoff, Author
Allen Zadoff, Author . Egmont USA $16.99 (311p) ISBN 978-1-60684-004-7
Reviewed on: 09/14/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Library Binding - 320 pages - 978-1-60684-051-1
Open Ebook - 200 pages - 978-1-60684-194-5
Paperback - 311 pages - 978-1-60684-151-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-57044-3
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Readers who wade through a series of painful scenes early on in Zadoff's debut YA novel are in for a treat. Andy Zansky is the (second) fattest kid in school and pays dearly for it on a daily basis (on the first day of sophomore year, he discovers he may not fit into the new desks). Then, out of nowhere, popular football star O. Douglas takes a liking to Andy, who goes out for football and makes the varsity team. Out goes self-deprecating Andy (for the most part), making room for a more confident, funny and likable Andy. Becoming popular, albeit gradually, doesn't cure all of Andy's woes—both football and popularity come with quite a few complications—nor does it magically empower him to lose the weight. But watching Andy's transformation, his three steps forward and one step back rhythm, is both entertaining and moving (“That's the thing about being fat,” he reflects. “People can't see the real you, so you have to work really hard to show them”). Boy makeover books are rare, and this one is a gem. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)

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