45 Pounds (More or Less) by K. A. Barson
When Ann’s parents divorced and then her parents remarried and started new families, Ann turned to food to soothe herself. Now she is 16 years old and wears a size 17. Her mother on the other hand is a perfect size 6. When they shop together, it is torture for Ann. Her mother tries to motivate her, but picking out a tiny bikini as motivation is not the right way! Then Ann is asked to be a maid of honor in her aunt’s wedding and she decides to lose 45 pounds by the wedding in 10 weeks. Ann starts out by ordering a kit from an infomercial and eating according their diet. To do that, she has to get a job to pay for the food. Her summer suddenly becomes about a lot more than watching TV and eating. Now she is attending dance lessons for the wedding, gets invited to the party of the year, and has a boy flirting with her! It’s a summer of change, and it’s not all about losing weight.
Thank goodness for the lightness of this title. This subject can be heavy handed at times, but not here. Happily, the book deals with weighty topics (pun intended) but manages to remain positive and not didactic at all. Instead it is a voyage of self-discovery for Ann and the reader. One notes quickly that she catches the attention of the cute boy before losing lots of weight. The book does address fad diets and infomercials as well as the way that parental pressure can backfire.
Yet the book is not all about weight loss. It also explores divorce and its impact on children, the way siblings can drift away, the loss of friendships, and the way that all of that impacts self esteem. It is this depth that makes the book so rich. One understands Ann’s pain and why she was eating to cover it all up. Beautifully, readers are also shown that thin people may not be quite as comfortable or healthy as they may seem either.
A great pick for teen readers, this book is about being comfortable at any size. Appropriate for ages 13-16.
Reviewed from copy received from Viking.