How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker
Expected Publication on April 22, 2014 by Running Press Kids
"Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.NOTE: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?
To be truthful, I wasn't completely sure about this book at first. I was about thirty percent in and the characters seemed too unrealistic and too shallow. I thought about how maybe by the end of the book characters' behaviors would be explained in one way or another and that they would grow. Well, I was right. They did.
My favorite aspect of this book was either the characters or simply just Emery's, the main girl's, sarcasm. I'm one to root for the sarcastic, hilarious girl, and Emery's that girl in How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love. Oh, and let's talk about that monster of a title. It's hilarious and it's intriguing; it's what brought my attention to the book in the first place! I usually don't like long titles, but this one I actually like.
Along with the characters' shallowness, I really just didn't like Emery's family. At first (I make a lot of assumptions about books that usually end up being wrong by the end, but oh well) I thought that they were all carbon copies of each other. Angel and their mother are extremely uptight about their weight and are exceptionally superficial. Like I said, originally I thought they were carbon copies of cliches but then I came to realize that Angel was the way she was because of their mother and not because she was simply shallow on her own. There's a scene in the book where Angel and Emery have a sister heart-to-heart, and I loved that particular scene to bits.
This book shows a lot about the structure of a dysfunctional family as well as loyalty and trust, which is something that I also really enjoyed about this book. Although I'm partial to action and adventure, I still do quite like the books that focus around family. Along with family, this book sends a strong message to girls. Despite the fact that losing fifty pounds in fifty days is not healthy, Emery represents somethings that every teenage girl must face in society--rejection. I think by the end of the book that Emery handles the rejection (and approval since she's famous in the book by the end) in such a way that creates a strong female figure for young girls. She's tough and she learns that although the media makes it seem like being skinny is everything, it really isn't.
On a random side note, Emery's menu from when she was fat made me want to hurl. I pride myself on being a semi-healthy human being, and Emery's eating habits did not agree with me whatsoever.
In conclusion, I think this book is well worth the read if you're looking for a fast and fun book. It sends me a good message in my opinion and although I didn't give it five stars or even four, I did enjoy it. It just wasn't a favorite and there were parts about it that I didn't like, particularly the characters. Characters are a big deal to me. They always will be.