March 20, 2014

45 Pounds by K.A. Barson

Title: 45 Pounds
Author: K.A. Barson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publish Date: July 11, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life: 
She is 16.And a size 17.Her perfect mother is a size 6.Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months. 
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.  
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

There are many reasons why I love this book, but there is one that is the most important, and that is the fact that the main character isn't your typical seventeen-year-old girl with a perfect life. Diversity (or any uniqueness at all) isn't common in YA, which I see as a problem. It's not realistic if there aren't different kinds of people - whether we're talking gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, etc. We mainly do have books about seventeen-year-old girls with perfect lives, and it just doesn't make any sense. 

This book isn't that. Which is why I love it.

Ann doesn't simply have conflict thrown her way. Her entire life (at least in her opinion) is a conflict in and of itself. She is sixteen and a size seventeen. And she is not comfortable in her own skin.

I've never read or even heard of a book like this, but it occurred to me that there isn't a good reason for that. Why don't we talk about weight? I've probably only read about one book involving weight, and it was a side plot sort of deal (Eleanor & Park). But I think it should be both talked and written about more often, because it can be an issue.

The way the issue was presented in this book was great. Ann's weight wasn't shown as positive or negative, but rather centered around whether or not she was comfortable with herself. In other words, we were more focused on her self-esteem than the number on the scale. This book does not say that to be happy with yourself you must be skinny and look like a model - yet another reason to love the way the topic is presented. Ann's struggle with self-esteem and navigating life was written so well, and we really get to see her grow as a person throughout the story. She learns to push herself to meet certain goals and in turn not care what others think of her.

The characters were a little too on-the-surface for my liking, but I've seen much more shallow protagonists than Ann. Pacing was a bit of an issue, too - there wasn't much variety in the story, and it was more of a flat line if you were to draw it out. Still, this was minor compared to the other issues the book tackled.

Overall, this book is great if you're looking for something that touches on real issues and is much less mainstream than the usual books you find on the shelves. It's also a fairly short, quick read. I'm excited to see what K.A. Barson comes out with next!

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to give this one a go! I agree with you, but, there doesn't seem to be much diversity in books. I mean, there IS, but there isn't...all at once, which is hugely confusing. :/ I loved Eleanor & Park for it's diversity. I'm reading Lola and the Boy Next Door right now and it's shaping up to be hugely diverse too. :)