How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love
by Ken Baker
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Page Count: 272
Source: ARC copy via publisher (THANK YOU!)
"Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.
Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?
GOODREADS . AMAZON . B&N
Review: Yay contemporary! I was so excited when I received the email about this book. I intended to be a part of the blog tour, but things did not work out in time. Despite that, Running Press Kids was great enough to still send a print ARC for me to read and review. Let me state that this is my first EVER print ARC, and I may have squealed a bit (or a lot) when it came in the mail. So, thank you again, RP! I really, really appreciate it.
This book was so much more than I could have expected. I feel like it could have been far less detailed and exciting if Baker had simply wrote a book about a girl who went on a reality show to lose weight and get money for it. While that was a part of the plot, it certainly was not the whole thing at all. Instead, we have the character of Emery Jackson, who is one of the best female YA contemp characters I have read in awhile. She is an individual, spunky and sarcastic, and she is also a very real person with very real problems.
The whole set up for the book was incredible. You have the former athlete father who now does motivational things and travels all of the time, so he is rarely around. You have the mom who spends too much time focusing on her appearance, and the appearance of her daughters (getting your daughter a book job at age seventeen? WOW!). You have the older, perfect sister who seems to only care about herself and how she looks. Then you have Emery. The black sheep in the family, though we find out more and more about why this is throughout the book.
Ultimately, this book hit hard at a topic that is becoming a pretty big problem. I love how in the book, the f-word and f-bomb stand for something very different, and even more hurtful - FAT. Baker does not just focus on people being cruel because of weight, though. Based on vlogs that Emery does as part of the reality show, Baker writes parts of how awful we can be to each other about anything or everything. Someone is too skinny, too fat, too pretty, too ugly...too anything and suddenly that makes them worthy of ridicule. I love how Emery opens the readers eyes to this, and shows how it is definitely NOT okay.
This book was everything I want in a contemporary novel; a strong female character who is going through difficult, relate able things. A realistic romance that goes through its ups-and-downs. I absolutely loved Ben and how much he loved Emery, not caring at all how she looked, and always having complete faith in her ability to be successful. Teenage girls need to know that they don't have to settle, that there ARE good guys out there, ones who will love them for who they are without needing to change. We have family problems, and huge secrets. Ultimately, this was a book I did not want to put down. I read it in one sitting, and I laughed and cried, and felt and thought so many things as I read it. I would certainly recommend it to everything, and I do believe that it is a book that every teenage girl needs to read.