45 Pounds (more or less) by K.A Barson
16 year-old Ann Galardi doesn’t exactly have a perfect life. Her parents got divorced and her mother remarried and had a set of twins. Her brother doesn’t talk to any of the family. Her best (and pretty much only) friend changed schools. Her perfect size 6 mother is making her go shopping for a swimming suit. But if Ann admits to her mother that she is a size 17, she knows it will only cause her mother to guilt her into yet another diet. And Ann has tried them all. Several times.
But when Ann’s aunt Jackie announces that she’s getting married and that she wants both of the Galardi ladies to be in the wedding, Ann thinks she may have some new motivation. Ann vows to lose 45 pounds in the next several months in order to fit into a normal dress. The first step in her new weight-loss plan is to buy the Secrets 2 Success diet plan that she saw on an infomercial. It comes with all of her daily meals prepackaged and a workout DVD. This is going to be a challenge. Ann loves food. LOVES it. How is she going to survive on lasagna that tastes like a sponge and salads with “low fat” dressing that looks like it’s made out of plastic? More importantly: how is she supposed to pay for all of this? When Ann finally finds a job at the mall she has a new challenge: how is she supposed to work at the Twisted Pretzel in the food court and not eat those tasty pretzels with the nacho cheese?
Though Ann may be hungry, life during her new diet isn’t all bad. There was that really cute guy who stopped by to flirt with her. And it turns out that Raynee, member of one of school’s most popular cliques, works at the Twisted Pretzel. And it turns out she’s pretty nice. And she invites Ann to the hottest party of the summer.
Life post-party isn’t all that great. Ann gets totally embarrassed at the party. Then Raynee’s best friend accuses Ann of being rude to customers and eating tons of pretzels at work. Then Ann notices her younger half-sister having a tea party with her stuffed animals and telling them that they can’t have any cake because it will make them fat. Suddenly, Ann’s weight issues take on a whole different dimension. Between her past habits of gorging herself and her mother’s habit of never eating Ann realizes that the real problem in with all of this food stuff isn’t about her fitting into a bridesmaid dress; it’s about the message that is being sent to a four-year-old.
Ann is a very lovable, realistic character. She goes through lots of ups and downs and can be really hard on herself at times. She has family troubles, guy troubles and friend troubles. Ann has her own personal battles but finally looks beyond herself to help others. I would recommend 45 Pounds (more or less) to readers who loved Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee or anyone who just wants a realistic story. Enjoy!
Currently Reading: As Dead As It Gets: A Bad Girls Don't Die Novel by Katie Alender