Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 939
beautiful and heartfelt coming-of-age story
Overall rating
Writing Style
FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA is a powerful, genuine, and heartfelt YA contemporary read about the ways we define ourselves, friendship, and forging our own paths. Charlie is a brown, fat girl who always feels like she comes in second to her stunning BFF - even to her mother. Since her father's death, her mother has become intense about weight loss and looking thin, allowing it to define her life and trying to change Charlie's. Charlie is happy with herself and appreciates the body positive movement that help her to begin to love her body for what it is.

After a guy uses her to get to her best friend in the cruelest way, Charlie begins to take stock of her life and try to figure out who she wants to be and with whom she will surround herself. When this cute guy on whom she has a crush begins to show he likes her back, Charlie has a hard time believing it. However, once the begin dating, Charlie begins to find her confidence - only to have it crash when her BFF reveals something critical in the midst of a fight.

Now, Charlie must define herself on her own terms and decide how she will live her life and love herself for who she is.

What I loved: The themes of this book are really powerful. Charlie is an incredibly lovable and understandable character - she wants to be fully on board with the body positive movement, but it's tough when her mother leaves her weight loss shakes and makes passive-aggressive comments about her weight - and when the popular guys at school make cruel comments ("jokes") about it. Like so many teenagers, Charlie is trying to become her own person - a feat made tougher by the pressures of high school and the people around her.

Friendship is a major theme her, and I loved the relationships she has with the people around her, and especially Amelia. Their relationship isn't perfect, but for the most part, they are genuine, supportive, and there for each other. This was a definite highlight (amongst so many fantastic things). In terms of the romance, it was totally swoony, and I loved watching it come together. Love, in all its forms (friendship, romantic, cousins), is so beautifully portrayed here - complexities and all.

Charlie learns a lot throughout the book, and the process was quite thought-provoking and powerful. Her character growth throughout the story is really moving. She really blossoms, and I love that the romance she has does not define these changes, but that they ultimately come from within. Charlie feels so real, and she is someone I loved getting to know.

Final verdict: Authentic, profound, and full of great themes, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA is a fantastic YA contemporary about finding yourself and embracing and celebrating all of who you are. Highly recommend for fans of FRANKLY IN LOVE, MISS METEOR, I'LL BE THE ONE, and MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE.
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