A plus-size Aussie teen learns to love herself when she enters a beauty pageant.
For 16-year-old Maisie Martin, summer vacation is not getting off to a great start. Her English teacher, Ms. Singh, demands she keep a journal during the holidays while Maisie and her family—including her wine-swilling mother, her beautiful older sister, Eva, and Eva’s new girlfriend, Bess—spend Christmas in a beach town (Maisie’s dad stays at home due to work commitments). Thankfully Maisie’s best friend, Anna, comes along for the ride and soon hooks up with Maisie’s childhood pal and longtime crush Sebastian, leaving Maisie to face off with Sebastian’s obnoxious best friend, Beamer, who has all the wrong opinions about action movie stars. After connecting with fashion-forward townie Leila, Maisie decides to enter the local beauty pageant that Eva won years before, but Maisie must soon contend with an unexpected romantic entanglement, unwanted press attention for being a larger-than-average contestant, and her own issues with family, friends, and fat. Debut author Guillaume’s novel features funny dialogue and fresh takes on body image and personal relationships as well as a plucky heroine who slowly but surely comes into her own. Most major characters are white; Sebastian is Malaysian and Australian (ethnicities not specified); Leila is Lebanese Australian; and Bess is fat, queer, and proud—all positive representations.
Perfect for fans of Dumplin’, a hilariously sweet yet complex romance. (Fiction. 12-16)