I’m back with a new book review. I recently finished reading Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado, a YA Coming of age fiction. Our July book for our Teachergram book club was this book and I must say, I was really excited to read this because it centered around a fat brown young woman. I pride myself on reading diverse books and making diverse books available to my students so I was really excited about reading about Charlie. And if we’re being honest, I needed something light to read after the previous book I was reading.
When I grew up, I didn’t really think that fat people were discriminated against. I honestly thought that not only were they accepted by society but that they were more desired for black and brown men. There are guys out there who like a woman with “meat on her bones”. Or at least thats the type of woman one of my uncles desired. It wasn’t until my good friend Ja opened my eyes to the struggles of fat people and for that I apologize for my ignorance.
People sometimes have a problem with that last one [Fat]-especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight-loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing-he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it’s time people did. A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chime, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
I actually enjoyed this book. I read it pretty quickly so it was a nice quick pace to the story. Where should I begin? I loved this book! I can picture a lot of my students in Charlie. Hell I can see myself in Charlie. Like Charlie, I can be hard on myself and I understood a lot of her insecurities. I’ve always felt like the ugly friend. The one that people tolerate because I’m friends with their friend. I loved that she was a writer and an introvert and whenever I read books with characters like that, I don’t know it makes me so comfy. I always root for the underdog. It just made me sad the way she was with Cal. I have been there before and have been made a fool because I thought a guy liked me because he was giving me attention. When she finally realized the trash that Cal was, I was so happy and rooted for her.
Her mom was so annoying! I see believe it was a lot of projecting going on. Since her mom used to be fat, maybe she was projecting all of the feelings that she had about herself onto her daughter. Again, I can identify with her because growing up, no one told me I was beautiful, they just focused on how smart I was and then proceeded to compare me with other people so for Charlie to experience this type of treatment from her mom? I totally understood. Instead of verbally accepting who her daughter was, her mom was honestly a bitch and I’m glad she was able to open up to her.
I was waiting for that convo she needed to have with Amelia. It was gut wrenching but everything that needed to be said was said and I won’t lie, I was scared for them. I won’t spoil the ending but I’m just so proud of Charlie by the end of the book. She low key inspired me or gave me hope that maybe I’ll find some romance in my life and I won’t have to only read about it or write about it. When her and Amelia had that come to Jesus moment, I felt that. We can’t allow ourselves to sit on the sidelines and miss life happening before us.
And the romance…I’m a sucker for romance and I loved her and Brian’s relationship. They were freaking cute. The only thing I hate is just how easy it is for people to fall in love in books or for the girl to get the guy when other people overlooked them. I don’t maybe I’m jaded and being a negative Nancy. Anyway, they were cute and I loved that they were super corny with each other. Plus! They went on a date to a book store like wow (it sounds fun actually).
I give the book 4/5 stars. I thought this book was wonderful. What book do you want me to review next?