Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Author: Erin Dionne
Publisher: Dial Books (February 2009)
ISBN: 0803732961, EAN: 9780803732964
Page Count: 243 pages
Target Age Group: 9-11
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars enjoyable, but relatively average
Twelve-year-old Celeste Harris was comfortable with her weight. She stuck with sweats and other baggy clothes and enjoyed all of the wonderful food around her. Junior high wasn’t kind to girls in her situation, but she had her best-friend-since-third-grade Sandra by her side and life was going okay. Then her cousin got engaged and asked her to be a bridesmaid. Celeste’s life would never be the same. While trying on the peach monstrosity, otherwise known as her bridesmaid dress, Celeste realized that her shape was, well, round. Her other cousin looked like a living Barbie doll in her gown, but there was no amount of tucking and pinning and tailoring that was going to make Celeste look her best. To make matters even worse, Celeste’s Aunt Doreen found a flyer announcing the Miss HuskyPeach contest – and she entered Celeste without telling her.
Celeste has a hard enough time at school without everyone knowing she’s competing to be the next chubby teen queen. So Celeste hatches a plan – she’ll lose enough weight before the competition so that she doesn’t qualify for the contest anymore. But losing weight is a lot easier in theory than it is in practice. She tries homemade diet shakes, exercise and willpower, but nothing seems to work. In fact, losing weight seems to create even more opportunities for humiliation at school and at the competition. Then Sandra starts sucking up to the most popular girl in school so that she can meet her crush and is too cool to be seen hanging out with Celeste any more. Can Celeste learn to love the girl that she is and rise about the competition?
This is a cute, funny book about a junior high student struggling to find out who she is. Celeste’s thoughts are hilarious and she is a really fun person to get to know. The book is written in 1st person and so Celeste is the most fully developed character. She is brutally honest about the people around her and the fascination that food holds for her. I loved hearing her thoughts on the world and really felt like I could identify with her even thought I am quite a bit older and did not struggle with my weight in junior high. You will definitely find yourself cheering Celeste on as she tackles life’s daily challenges one by one.
There is nothing unique or special about this book and the plot has been done before, but this book is still worth reading if you like these types of stories. It is well written and has relatively big type so that it is a quick, easy read for preteens, but adults will enjoy it too. I recommend it for preteens and teens, especially those who are struggling with self esteem and/or weight issues.
Appropriate for precocious young readers and up. Projectile vomiting, wardrobe issues, fat kid jokes and Oreo overdoses contained within. May cause you to loose abdominal weight through excessive laughter.