Review: 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K. A. Barson

45 pounds

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.

2013 Wheatley Awards Finalists

The Harlem Book Fair is celebrating its 15th anniversary and is also debuting a new award, the QBR Wheatley Book Awards.  The awards span different ages and genres with two awards for youth books.

Here are the finalists in those categories:


Ellen's Broom Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!: A Sonic Adventure

Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter

Squeak! Rumble! Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis, illustrated by Paul Rogers

Tea Cakes for Tosh Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview, the Only Golf Course Designed, Built, and Owned by an African American What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors

Tea Cakes for Tosh by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Eric Velazquez

What Color Is My World? by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld, illustred by Been Boos and A.G. Ford


The Diary of B. B. Bright, Possible Princess  Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons - A Dialogue with America's Young Leaders

The Diary of BB Bright: Possible Princess by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams, Illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Like a Tree Without Roots by Teresa Ann Willis

Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons – A Dialogue With America’s Young Leaders by Gregory Reed

Pinned Ship of Souls

Pinned by Sharon G. Flake

Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott

Thanks to Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 for the link.

This Week’s Tweets and Pins

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts this week that you might find interesting:



21 Books That Terrified You As A Kid #kidlit

Beyond boundaries: Reading children’s lit #kidlit

‘The Boy Who Loved Math’ and ‘On a Beam of Light’ #kidlit

Children’s Corner: ‘Stick Dog’ and other fine new hybrid books for kids – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette #kidlit

Disability in Kidlit Blog: Add this to your “must read” pile: Disability in Kidlit. I should have blogged abou… RT from @LizB

Gender stereotypes plague children’s picture books #kidlit

How Scholastic Sells Literacy To Generations Of New Readers | KRWG #kidlit #publishers

Ringo Starr song Octopus’s Garden to be turned into children’s book | Books | The Guardian #kidlit

‘Tails Chasing Tails,’ by Matthew Porter, and More #kidlit

Trans* Titles for Young Adults (Summer 2013) | Young Adult Library Services #yalit

Viz Media Debuts Children’s Imprint at Comic-Con 2013 #kidlit


‘Here Be Fiction’ Site Launches with 500+ Ebooks – The Digital Shift

The ‘Other’ E-Book Pricing Problem | Art Brodsky #ebooks #libraries



Anniston Star – Shelved Who decides which books are available in the state s school libraries #libraries

Books, Smaller – or the reason that public libraries are vital shown in one library for one family –

DC Public Library Opens Digital Commons, “Dream Lab” – The Digital Shift #libraries


The Rights of the Reader

The austerity story: How Spain fell in love with books again as locals flood back to libraries – The Independent

How to Create a Successful Reading Experience for Your Child | Dr. Gail Gross #reading


Amazon’s Cloud Crash Disaster Permanently Destroyed Many Customers’ Data – Business Insider

How and Why Chrome Is Overtaking Firefox Among Power Users

Watch Out, Facebook: Why Google And Pinterest Are Gaining As Social Rivals – ReadWrite

Yahoo’s Fight for its Users in Secret Court Earns the Company Special Recognition in Who Has Your Back Survey | EFF


From ‘The Giver’ to ‘Twilight,’ Young Adult Fiction Helps Teens Grow Up – Alyssa Rosenberg – The Atlantic #yalit

Marvel Comics reveal new Spider Man is black and could be gay in the future | Mail Online

‘Megatokyo’ Raises Over $258K on Kickstarter #manga

What Are Grown-Ups Afraid of in YA Books? #yalit