45 Pounds (More or Less)
45 Pounds (More or Less)
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K.A. Barson
ISBN 9780670784820
Viking/Penguin, 2013.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: 45-pounds-or barson body-image family friendship humor romance weight-issues

45 Pounds (More or Less)
by K.A. Barson

First novelist K.A. Barson channels the voice of a real girl grappling with real issues.

Narrator Ann Galardi, age 16, is a size 17. She feels like she doesn't belong either with her svelte mother, her mother's husband, Mike, and their four-year-old twins, or with her absent father and his family. Ann hasn't spoken with her older brother in more than a year, and her best friend moved to a new high school. So she takes comfort in food. But now her beloved Aunt Jackie is getting married, and Ann has two months to lose 45 pounds to get to her ideal weight. Luckily, she has an ally in her chain-smoking, funny and supportive grandmother.

Barson chronicles one teen's realistic struggle with weight and body image issues. Ann believes the joke is always on her, even when it's not. Her awakening to the truth--that people value her for who she is--happens gradually and credibly, over the book's span from June to August. And it takes an innocent pretend tea party hosted by Ann's four-year-old sister for the teen to see how her attitude toward food and herself have affected those she loves.

Teens who struggle with their weight will find a funny, smart companion in Barson's charming heroine, and those who overlook or judge a classmate like Ann may find themselves taking a moment to get to know him or her. All readers will cheer for this winning character.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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