I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by HearOurVoicesBookTours . Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here.
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.
By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra.
She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
You can find Crystal Maldonado at:
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
You Can Find this Book at:
Thoughts and Themes: I normally write my reviews as I read the book so that I don’t forget anything about them. I did this one differently though because I didn’t want to put it down even to take notes. I just highlighted all the important things in my kindle and most of my notes are exclamation marks or emojis.
There are so many themes that are explored throughout this book, weight issues, anxiety, self-esteem, jealousy, and friendship. I really enjoyed the way that each of these themes are tackled and how we get each of these themes through multiple characters.
I liked that this book focuses on weight issues and we have a fat main character who isn’t trying to change herself. I like that rather than lose weight through the course of this story or give in to what society and her mother wants, Charlie learns to love herself and immerse herself in the body positivity community online.
I also like the conversations that Charlie has with Amelia, and with Brian. I think we get to see a lot of her in those conversations and this is where we see her insecurities. I liked how we see those insecurities and we see both Amelia and Brian try to lift her but also struggle with the way she talks about herself.
I just want and need more happy ending for Latinxs, and stories that are just full of joy for us.
Characters: Throughout this story you are introduced to a wide range of characters who I really enjoyed. There is just one character that is really hard to love but in the end I like what they did with the character.
I really liked the complexity of Charlie and Amelia’s friendship and how Charlie waited so long to tell Amelia how she felt. I also like the way Charlie just assumed that Amelia had no problems because everyone thinks she’s beautiful. Their relationship reminded me of the relationship that I have with my best friend but thankfully we were never into the same people.
I had a hard time with Charlie’s mother because of how she treated Charlie due to the way she saw herself and the internalized fatphobia. It was hard to like her even at the closing of the story but what I did enjoy is that things didn’t magically get fixed between them. I liked that the mother and daughter relationship was complicated from start to finish because it felt real.
I really enjoyed the relationship between Charlie and Brian, with my favorite part being that the whole story wasn’t revolving around this. I loved that the book points out how important it is to find ways to love yourself and not only because someone else loves you. I thought it was nice to see the progression of their relationship and see the difficulties that they face due to Charlie’s insecurities.
Writing Style: This story is told in the first person through Charlie’s perspective which I love. I liked that through this whole story we are in Charlie’s mind and seeing what she thinks about everything happening around her and to her. I thought it was great that we didn’t get to know how Brian felt about Charlie’s actions or even how Amelia felt unless they shared with Charlie. I think because you are only getting her perspective it allows you to feel for her each time something goes wrong.