Sixteen-year-old Amy has never had a date, and neither her smothering mother nor her only friend Cara disguises the conviction that she never will unless she loses weight. Then she meets Ansel, who sculpts obese nudes and likes Amy the way she is. But then, as Cara and her mother remind her, Ansel is weird. Just how weird he is becomes clear when Ansel disappears and his father tells Amy that he's in a mental hospital; what's more, the reclusive mother Ansel had been so evasive about has been dead six months, a suicide. Yet Ansel's interest has given Amy the confidence to stand up to her mother, even to the point of journeying to the mental hospital every night in the vain hope that Ansel will see her. And though his recovery and affectionate letter only signal a move to Paris to live with his aunt, Amy by then has developed interests, established new relationships with her parents, and begun to lose weight. Throughout the story she's likable in a general way, and you can accept the patly demonstrated outcomes because her earlier relationships with parents, friends, and boyfriend are believable and natural.