Monday, February 22, 2021

FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA by Crystal Maldonado for #IMWAYR (It's Monday! What are you reading?)



(My attempt at a #bookstagram on Instagram! Find me there, @joannerossfritz)


Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado (February 2021, Holiday House, for ages 12 and up)

What a warm and delightful read! 

An empowering novel for fat girls everywhere and brown girls everywhere, but also for all of us, because we're all human. And we all need to learn to cut ourselves some slack. 

Charlie (short for Charlotte) Vega, is a high school student, and a Latina in a mostly-white Connecticut town. She's smart and funny, loves fashion, and loves to write. 

She's also fat. 

Her best friend, Amelia, is thin and popular and could date anyone she wants. But Charlie has never dated anyone. The opening line drew me right in: "I imagine being kissed about a hundred times a day." 

Can Charlie learn not to compare herself to Amelia? Can she learn to get along with her mom, who used to be fat and then lost a lot of weight, and is always lecturing Charlie? 

Will Charlie ever have a boyfriend?

After a disastrous high school dance that Charlie was sort-of but not really invited to by handsome Cal (who really wanted Charlie to bring Amelia along!), Charlie is depressed about ever finding love. And then Brian, a nice guy in her Art class, starts talking to her. Could there be something there? 

First-person, present-tense narration gives this novel immediacy and warmth and liveliness. The diverse cast is refreshing. The voice is perfect -- Charlie's desires and worries come across as highly authentic. Reading this book is a lot like being back in high school. 

I got so caught up in Charlie's world I didn't want it to end. The last chapter brought tears to my eyes. (And the last line is gorgeous!) You will love this novel!


(Of course, I may not be totally impartial. Crystal is not only one of my fellow 21ders, but also a fellow Holiday House debut author, along with Kate Albus, author of A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON!)





#IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop hosted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts. Visit their blogs to see all the participants. You can also follow the hashtag on Twitter!




15 comments:

  1. This sounds really nice, Joanne & I put it on my list. I am sharing A Place to Hang the Moon today, a lovely book! Happy Reading this week!

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    1. Thanks, Linda. And so happy to hear you're featuring A Place to Hang the Moon! Love that book! I'll go check out your post.

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  2. This sounds like a great story. I'm really interested in reading books about Latino kids since my late husband was Hispanic.

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    1. I figured you would be interested in this book, Natalie. Hope you get a chance to read it.

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  3. I've heard a lot about this book... I should look to see if it's at the library!

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  4. This sounds like a book a lot of teens around here would appreciate.

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    1. I think teens will love this book, Liz! Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Oh wow. I agree that this is a book for everyone. I tired of the comparison game, but it's so easy to fall into. Thanks for sharing, Joanne!

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    1. Thank you, Shaye! And I agree that it's easy to fall into comparing yourself to others.

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  6. I've heard about this book, and you make it sound so excellent! It's awesome to see so many body-positive books getting published lately. Also, I didn't realize this book and A Place to Hang the Moon were both Holiday House as well—between their covers and yours, the cover designers/artists at Holiday House deserve props! Thanks so much for the great review!

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    1. Thank you, Completely! I'll pass that on to the people at Holiday House! They have some excellent covers this year.

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  7. What do you think about this book for 6th graders? I keep meaning to look at this one, but it looks like it might be too YA for my school. Any thoughts? (Language, situations?)

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    1. It's a sweet book, Karen, with absolutely no violence, and I can't even recall any mature language. There's some brief talk about sex, but the only "situations" involve kissing, nothing more. It is a YA novel, not MG (which I usually review), but I think 6th graders could handle it. And the body positivity issues are extremely relevant today.

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  8. I had already added this to my list. I only wish my library had it. I have a cousin who has been large sized her whole life. Physically, she is one of the healthiest people I know. The cruelty of people who should love and accept her drives me crazy.

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