A fat teen employs patently unsafe weight-loss techniques on reality television and gets skinny.
Emery’s face-lifted, Botoxing mother named her after a manicure tool, yet somehow Emery doesn’t fit in with her swimsuit-model, boob-enhanced sister or fitness-freak father. What if she weren’t fat? She acquiesces to the filming of a weight-loss reality show in her home, wanting the prize—if Emery loses 50 pounds in 50 days, she’ll win $1,000,000—but author Baker, chief news correspondent of E! Entertainment Television, makes skinniness itself the golden goal, snarkily bashing fatness from the start. The show’s producers require intense exercise and severe calorie restriction; behind their backs, Emery adds laxative tea and Adderall. Attempts to satirize the extremity—the nutritionist who takes Emery down to 790 calories per day authored How to Eat without Actually Eating—have the impact of Post-it notes on a billboard. Baker wants it both ways: Laxatives, speed and “insanely low” calories give Emery both “an eating disorder” and “good habits,” a cognitive disconnect if ever there was one; moreover, the eating disorder vanishes after its single mention, ending the story on a bizarrely upbeat note. Continuity inconsistencies may well drive readers crazy; that 790-calorie diet could well be a 395-calorie diet, for instance, but it’s just not clear. Family secrets and reality TV twists aside, this is a cheap instruction guide for dangerous dieting.
A biggest loser. (Fiction. 14-16)