Jesobel “Jess” Jones is fat and (most days) she doesn’t hate her body. She loves food, and she’s never asked, “Do I look fat in this?”
Then her mega-crush invites her to a party. Jess’ mother has just given her the perfect dress, but there’s a problem: It’s a size too small. However, if Jess wants to impress Matt, she’ll have to lose a little weight—something she’s always scoffed at other girls for doing (both Manchester, England, teens are white). Jess makes a few changes to her diet and exercise, and after three weeks of hunger and all-around grumpiness, she loses an unspecified amount of weight and fits into the dress just in time to be rebuffed by Matt for one of the thin bullies from their all-girls’ school. Sadly, this is where the plot falls into the maturity-through-weight-loss hole. After Jess sheds some pounds, she realizes that a boy who would choose a skinny mean girl over a nice fat girl is a loser. But will the sadder-but-wiser Jess find a boy who appreciates her as she is? Jess is lovably snarky and astute: Each chapter is preceded by one of her observations about being a girl which highlight and question the ironies, contradictions, and double standards affecting young women in Western society.
Hilarious and heartfelt. (Fiction. 14-18)