Title: 45 Pounds (More or Less)
Author: K.A. Barson
Publisher: July 11th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Source: Book Divas
She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.
Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.
And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!
Ann has been overweight for a long time. She’s tried various diets and exercise programs, but none stick. When her aunt asks her to stand up at her wedding, Ann decides now is the time to get serious about losing weight. She sees an informercial for the Next Big Thing and decides that’s the key. As she’s trying to lose the weight, she’s also dealing with new friends, jealous friends, a new crush, her absentee dad, a new job and a very critical mother.
In the beginning, Ann was a bit of a non-character. Thanks to her mother’s constant nagging, and her own self-image, Ann was afraid to be herself, or to have much of a personality. She wanted to blend in and be unnoticed. As the story goes on and she learns to open up and make friends and talk to people, she really blossoms into a person whom I would totally be friends with.
One of her new friends, Raynee, was a great person for Ann to get to know and I liked her character. I also liked Ann’s crush, who was a cutie patootie and so nice (and forgiving!). Ann’s family was your average blended family and they were all believable, though the mom was a bit… off. Her issues weren’t the kind that would go on unnoticed in real life as long as they did in the story.
The plot was entirely (and unfortunately) believable. Who among us hasn’t, at one time or another, decided we needed to lose some weight? Thought that everything would get better if we could drop a few pounds? Imagined that this new diet is the one that will solve our weight problem once and for all? We know better, but Anne still believes, and it was painful to read as she learned the truth.
You know going in what the final lesson will be, but it was never got preachy. There was a lot of humor in the story; I loved Ann’s snarkiness, and her grandmother’s bad attitude. I laughed out loud several times. K.A. Barson not only writes the funny scenes, but she can bring the sad, too, without it being overwhelming. Ann’s inner dialogue was one I think everyone can relate to.
I found this to be honest and fun; a perfect story for girls, both the young and the not-so young.
K.A. Barson graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.