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by Cyn Balog

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: July 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-385-73850-7
Publisher: Delacorte

It takes dark magic to make attractive people love fat girls. 

Gwendolyn ("Dough") is fat —and lest readers think she might have other characteristics, Gwen speaks of nothing else. Her "cheeks look like two fat red balloons" or "two giant pimples on the verge of popping." For four years, Gwen's been carrying on an e-mail relationship with her childhood best friend, Wish, who moved to California at 12. Now Wish—whose Facebook photos all depict a tanned surfer god— is returning home, horrifying Gwen. Yet inexplicably, the boy who's been her BFF since first grade still likes her, despite being rich, popular and attractive! There must be something creepy afoot, and indeed there is. Through defeating the devastating magic that would destroy her home, Gwen learns to love her body (more or less), but not before regaling readers with overwhelming self-loathing: "I cringe as I force away the mental image of him ... Touching the folds of flesh that weren't there all those years ago." Final messages about inner beauty are drowned in waves of fat hate and eating-as-disorder.

Skip this one, and try Charles Butler's The Fetch of Mardy Watt (2004) instead, a far superior fantasy about a self-loathing fat heroine and her male best friend. Readers who are looking for high-school pettiness should go for Nico Medina’s Fat Hoochie Prom Queen (2008). (Paranormal romance. 12-16)