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PLUS by Veronica Chambers


by Veronica Chambers

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59514-165-1
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

This frothy fashion fancy keeps the pages turning despite much implausibility. Seventeen-year-old premed Columbia freshman Bee becomes a plus-size supermodel overnight when an agent spots her in a trendy café. Despite international travel and glamorous modeling shoots, Bee pines for her heartless ex-boyfriend. Sensible readers will roll their eyes at her clueless desire for the obvious cad, while activism-inclined readers may chafe at Chambers’s use of environmentalism and Amnesty International for character mockery. Racial stereotypes (“angry Latina mode”; “gypsies” with crystal balls) and a distinction between plus-size models and truly fat people whose “sweat smells bad” make the text almost as unpleasant as Bee is self-centered. Passé diction (“” rather than simply “youtube”) and sloppy copyediting distract. By attempting both wish-fulfillment (instant modeling success for this supposed everygirl) and realism (hard interpersonal lessons and ever-more-necessary dieting tips), the narrative tries to have its cake and eat it too. Still, Bee’s rollicking, name-brand–laden story is fizzy and funny, dissolving like cotton candy but enjoyable along the way. (Fiction. YA)