45 Pounds (More or Less)

K.A. Barson. Viking, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-78482-0
When 16-year-old Ann's aunt and longtime partner announce they are getting married in two months, the size 17 teenager decides, "I'll need to lose forty-five pounds. By the middle of August." First, she turns to a line of expensive (and gross-tasting) products she saw in an infomercial. But when her impressionable little sister, Libby, develops dangerous eating habits, Ann opts to be a more positive role model—after all, "eating shouldn't be a punishment." Characters are often overly scripted, such as Ann's small-minded step-grandmother and Libby, who tells her teddy bear, "No more cake for you. You are too fat already." However, Ann's frank tone and levelheaded attitude should evoke compassion and understanding. First-time novelist Barson urges readers to think critically about women's obsession with food, diets, and weight, as well as societal prejudice directed at large people. When Ann's mother makes a snide comment about an overweight couple at a fast food restaurant, Ann thinks, "So what if they eat here everyday?.... Are they hurting anyone?" Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (July)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Release date: 07/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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