Barson, K.A. 45 Pounds (More or Less)
11 July 2013, Viking Juvenile
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Ann struggles with her weight, but also with her family situation. Her parents are long divorced, and her brother lives with her father and his "perfect" new family. She lives with her busy mother, stepfather, and preschool aged twin half siblings. Her grandmother is a great comfort, but when her aunt Jackie announces that she and her girlfriend, Chris, are getting married, Ann goes in to complete panic mode. She decides she HAS to lose 45 pounds before she must be a bridesmaid, and signs up for delivery of expensive, preplanned meals, thinking this is the magic bullet. In order to fund this, she needs to get a job. Snapz, a trendy clothing store in the mall, doesn't hire her, but the Twisty Pretzel does. A couple of the popular girls at Ann's school work there; the "knees". RayNEE is nice, but Courtney is awful. Courtney's cousin, however, is really cute, and Ann is glad to be included in their plans so she can get to know him. The diet goes more slowly than Ann would hope, but she does try, even if her supercritical mother doesn't think so. Ann has an "ah ha!" moment when she sees her sister Libby telling her teddy bears that if they don't eat very much, they won't get fat, and decides she is setting a poor example with her prepackaged meals. She tries to focus on just being healthier, especially after she learns more about the reasons for her mother's behavior.
Strengths: This was an excellent book about a teen's struggle with her weight. Very realistic, balanced, and thought out. I could relate to the mother's obsessiveness (I was put on a diet at the age of 8 and told to lose ten pounds; my mother rewarded me with Avon perfume pins), and I liked that Ann eventually came upon a well reasoned approach that included running. The family dynamics were realistic, as were the actions of her new friends. Enjoyed reading this, and weight loss is one of those problems that 7th grade students like to read about in the dark of winter.
Weaknesses: The grandmothers were both over-the-top kind of characters, which seemed out of place in such a realistic book.