cover image Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Crystal Maldonado. Holiday House, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4717-6

In this winsome, body-affirmative YA novel set in New England, a self-described fat Puerto Rican American teen wrestles with insecurity and familial pressure to lose weight as she journeys toward love and self-acceptance. Sixteen-year-old high schooler Charlotte “Charlie” Vega has never dated anyone but yearns for the real-life version of the swoonworthy romances she writes online. In her day-to-day life, Charlie contents herself with daydreaming (“I imagine being kissed about a hundred times a day”) and hanging out with her supportive best friend Amelia, who is Black. That all changes, however, when her handsome Korean classmate and coworker, Brian, expresses an interest in dating her. But as Charlie’s insecurities about her worthiness as a romantic interest begin to surface, she must work through her doubts before she sabotages the relationships closest to her heart. In a book containing themes reminiscent of Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’, debut author Mal- donado melds sunny prose with incisive commentary on society’s fatphobia, complex mother-daughter relationships, and the struggle to fully love oneself. Though the story’s narrative beats tread familiar territory, Charlie’s emotional arc hits all the right notes, resulting in a warm and insightful coming-of-age tale. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Tamar Rydzinski, Context Literary. (Feb.) [/em]