Carolyn Mackler, Author . Candlewick $15.99 (246p) ISBN 978-0-7636-1958-9

"Chubby" New York City teenager Virginia Shreves is having a hard time: not only is her best friend, Shannon, spending the school year out west, but Virginia's being pressured about her weight by her family—especially her formerly fat mother, a prominent adolescent psychologist. Lonely and insecure, Virginia has even started to hurt herself. When the brother she worships is suspended from college for date rape, the news shocks Virginia into realizing that her "stellar" family isn't as perfect as her mother says it is, and that she doesn't have to conform to her mother's expectations. Mackler (Love and Other Four-Letter Words) occasionally uses a heavy hand when it comes to making her points ("Recently, I've been finding it harder to pretend that everything is A-OK"), and some of the plot elements, such as the overweight teacher who looks out for Virginia, or Virginia's discovery that a popular girl has an eating disorder, seem scripted. The date rape story line, on the other hand, is gutsy; her brother wasn't just accused of date rape, he actually committed the crime. Ultimately, readers will find it easy to relate to Virginia; she loves junk food, gets nervous about finding someone to sit with in the cafeteria and can't believe that Froggy, the boy she has secretly made out with after school, could be interested in her, not just using her. The e-mails she exchanges with Shannon, and the lists she makes (e.g., "The Fat Girl Code of Conduct") add both realism and insight to her character. The heroine's transformation into someone who finds her own style and speaks her own mind is believable—and worthy of applause. Ages 14-up. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/21/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-6575-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-7636-5432-0
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-7636-5979-0
Prebound-Other - 244 pages - 978-0-606-34393-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4193-0306-7
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-84428-293-7
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-1-68119-799-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-68119-798-2
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