Skip to main content

Spotlight Review: Fat Girl On a Plane


Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos (June 5)
Overview: Cookie Vonne loves fashion. She wants a spot at Parsons School of Design and a clothing line to make plus sized girls, like her, feel included in fashion. Told both during her senior year of high school and her freshman year of college, we watch Cookie come into her own and confront the realities of adulthood simultaneously. We also get to see Cookie's life before and after the dramatic weight loss that made her identical to her super model mother. Throughout the novel, deVos proves that sometimes what we think will fix our lives is just one step on a journey. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 I love Cookie and her grandmother, who has cared for Cookie since she was little. They both come off as genuinely good people even when stuck in situations that aren't ideal. The family dynamics came to life for me as deVos juggled Cookie's absent, missionary-doctor father, thoughtless mega-star mother, and ruthless ex-football player stepfather.
I thought that the other female characters also presented interesting challenges for Cookie. With ultra thin, rich Kennes, Cookie is forced to confront her own feelings on self image in order to manage Kennes better, and her best friend Piper adds a fun voice of support that Cookie desperately needs throughout the book.
It's the male characters that I take issue with. Both her childhood best friend and major designer, Gareth Miller, seem to be cast in grey zones for the story. Honestly, it seemed like the author just couldn't make up her mind about how she felt about them, and they just came off as confused.

Plot: 4 Most of the story made me a major fan. I think that the balanced message she gives about weight is really good. Cookie has an ever evolving relationship with food that I think is important to show. After a traumatizing experience trying to board a plane, Cookie decides she's going to lose weight. Over the course of the book we see her use food to cope, see food as the enemy, begin to strike balance, and then, ultimately, find an acceptance where thinking about food is not a major part of her life. It's a struggle I think that almost everyone can relate to.
My issue with the plot came with Cookie's relationship to Tommy and Gareth Miller. With Tommy, I didn't really understand why he needed to be a character in the story. He didn't add anything proprietary. With Gareth, older Cookie begins working with him and starts a relationship, but deVos never makes clear how mutual or consensual it is. When I thought about it, the reader doesn't know because Cookie herself doesn't know. The story would have been stronger with more direction to this major point.

Writing: 4 I like the story that deVos set out to tell, and I think that this book is worth reading simply for the main story about Cookie's journey, fashion, and body image. It's a story I haven't seen anywhere before, and, though it could have been stronger with some refinement of subplots, the message is very clear.

End Note: deVos also opens the conversation about inclusivity in fashion. It's one that is often left without solution and forgotten, but every woman knows how true the concern is. I've been lighter and heavier, and, while I've never been medically considered overweight, there were times when going shopping was a traumatizing experience that left me feeling terrible about myself. I refused to go shopping for about a year after, and, after losing twenty pounds making new clothes necessary, I was drug to the store kicking and screaming. But just that twenty pounds made a whole world of difference in how these clothes fit my body and made me feel. Though I was relieved to find clothes that made me feel comfortable with myself after years of searching, I was mostly struck by how exclusive the fashion world is to thin people and how much power that can hold over someone's self image.

Links Of Interest:
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik: Review Here
Story of a Girl: Review Here
Calling My Name: Review Here
Always Forever Maybe: Review Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Into YA with Lindsay Sproul

Hi, everyone! I know I've been gone for a minute, but I'm excited to come back with my interview with Lindsay Sproul. Lindsay and I have been working on this interview for a while, ever since I first read We Were Promised Spotlights. I'm so excited to have a more in-depth discussion about the book and get to look at it through this new prospective. It was a super eye opening read for me and probably most other teens my age who weren't alive when the story takes place. If you haven't had the chance to read Lindsay's book, you can check out my review here to get up to speed.


1. The most notable part of the book right from the start is that it doesn’t take place in 2020. It’s set in 1999-2000 in a small beach town. Why did you decide to set it in the near past? How do you approach writing a book for teens who mostly hadn’t been born when the story takes place? 

Aside from the fact that I was a teen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, I think it’s important for teens to b…

Bi Book Love

I'm so excited about this list and the upcoming list on Aro/Ace/Demi rep because I feel like these areas of representation have grown so much recently. I also feel like it's harder to find these identities on specific lists or super easily, so I wanted to share some of my favorites for those of you who are seeking them out. I've made book rainbows for Pride Month and made general lists (which you can find here), but I wanted to do something different this year. I didn't want to repeat the same list, and I also realized I don't have a complete rainbow of LGBTQIA spines anymore after getting rid of most of my books. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I picked a couple of my favorites that I wanted to spotlight. To learn more about each book, click the title to read my full review.

Verona Comics  by Jennifer Dugan This is one of my new all time favorite books (which I'm extra pleased about because my expectations were sky high from waiting well over a year). …

YA Book Review: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver 
Overview: Ben is nonbinary. The book opens with them working up the courage to finally come out to their parents. Even though his parents are religious and conservative, Ben feels like it might be okay. Mostly, they feel like they can't keep living with a secret that big. They want their parents to know them fully. Instead of love and support, they get thrown out of the house. Ben calls their older sister who they haven't seen in ten years, but she shows up right away. As Ben transitions to living with their sister and her husband, they have to navigate a brand new school, a new family situation, and a new therapist all at once. While it's a lot to process, Ben comes out stronger, healthier, and happier on the other side. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Ben and I have honestly nothing in common yet I found them so incredibly relatable on a minute detail level. We have a ton of similar thoughts and reactions and just life philosophies, which…

Ace/Aro/Demi Book Love

Last week, I shared all my favorite recent releases with bi main characters. A lot of you commented and shared your favorites as well, and it was so fun to learn about some new books! As Pride Month comes to an end, I wanted to make one my post to celebrate. Today I'm talking about my favorite books with Aro, Ace, or Demi representation. Again, I've found it tricky sometimes to find books with this specific representation, so I wanted to share in case some of you are looking for new books! This is a quick, little post, so if you want to add more books to it, just leave a comment!
Tash Hearts Tolstoy By Kathryn Ormsbee I've been a huge fan of this book since I first read it a couple years ago. It was the first book I ever read with ace rep. Tash is such an intelligent, lovable character, and the friendship story is also strong too. Even as she achieves career success with her scripted YouTube series, she's still navigating what her identity means to her, and being open ab…

Books I'm Looking Forward To: July

Can you believe it's almost July? I'm shocked that June is coming to a close. Just like last month, June is packed with an amazing set of books that I can't wait to start reading. We're also starting to see some of the spring books that got pushed because of COVID come out, and I'm so glad that these authors are getting that chance, even though conditions are still less than ideal. I've been waiting for most of these books since I seriously started blogging again back in March, and I'm so excited to finally start reading them. I wanted to share a quick list of some of the books I'm most excited to read over the course of the month. I have ARCs for all of these, so expect reviews coming soon. I just started I Killed Zoe Spanos, and I'm already sucked into its atmospheric, mysterious world. 
As always, preorders, especially now, are so important for supporting authors. Many of them are offering fun preorder incentives if you send in your receipts. I&#…

My Eyes Are Up Here- YA Book Review

My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann
Overview: Greer's life has been governed by body insecurity. She hides in XXL sweatshirts to try to take her chest out of the conversation. It doesn't stop the cruel jokes, the pain, the logistical nightmare with sports, and the impossibility of finding a dress that feels made for her. Over the course of her sophomore year, she starts to test the self-imposed limitations as she gets closer to the new guy, tries out for the volleyball team, and takes her voice back from society and her body image constraints. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Greer is such a fun main character to follow. She is sarcastic and has a worldview that really matches my own, so we clicked quickly. She's a realist with a streak of idealism. A lot of identity comes from her braininess as she leads all her classes, and she uses it as a way to compensate for trying to pretend her physicality doesn't exist. This emerges for a wide variety of societal pressures that is u…

YA Book Review Parachutes by Kelly Yang

Parachutes by Kelly Yang 
TW: Sexual Assault
Overview: Claire and Dani start out feeling like they live on two different planets. Claire has lived a glamorous life in China, cared for by live-in help and constantly picked up after. Every argument with her dad ends in a new purse or pair of shoes, and she's never had to seriously want for anything. Dani and her mom work for a housecleaning service to stay afloat. She attends American Prep on scholarship and works hard to fund her debate travel. Eventually, her mom signs up to host an international student to make a little extra money. While Claire and Dani originally clash, their experiences over the course of the school year make them realize they have more in common than they originally thought. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Every single character in this books was so well drawn and thoroughly paid attention to. Through subtle nuances, even the most minor characters were stunningly clear and realistic. Every character had their fair mix…

I'll Be the One Review

I'll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Overview: Skye loves K-Pop, singing, and dancing. She's studied for countless hours and has gotten really, really good. When the first LA based K-Pop competition starts holding auditions, Skye knows it's her time to shine. While her dad and her friends are supportive, her mom hates the idea. She doesn't believe fat girls can dance. This only pushes Skye more as she's determined to prove to her mom and to all the fat-phobic haters that she can do whatever she wants and be proud of it. Even though the competition isn't an easy road, it's full of fun new friends, self discovery, glitzy performances, and a possible love interest. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Skye is a character that's easy to like. She radiates light and determination without ever crossing into annoying territory. She has a clear view of what she wants, and she's not afraid to work for it. Despite years and years of hurtful, self esteem wrecking comments from her m…

You Should See Me In A Crown YA Book Review

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Overview: Liz never thought she'd run for prom queen. It's a deeply entrenched tradition on the suburb of Campbell, Indiana. Though it's mostly a show of popularity, there is a scholarship for the king and queen. When Liz doesn't get as much financial aid as she needs to go to her dream school, she signs herself up to compete. After many weeks of community service and competitions, prom season manages to change the course of Liz's senior year. Overall: 5

Character: 5 I loved Liz! She was such a great main character to follow because she has the right amount of optimism and reality. She has a lot happening in her life that she has to juggle and keep up with, and I could definitely identify with her feelings of never having done enough. Over the course of the prom season, she forces herself to come out of her shell a little more and get comfortable with throwing herself in the middle of the mix. It also causes an identity st…

Into YA with Jennifer Dugan

I'm so excited to introduce my first repeat author for Into YA! Jennifer Dugan is back on the blog to chat about Verona Comics, one of my favorite books of the year (and probably all time). If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know about Verona Comics by now, but if you want a refresher or some context for our conversation, check out my review of it here.
Also, if you're curious about my first interview with Jennifer about Hot Dog Girl, you can find it here.  And if you want to get a copy of Verona Comics or learn more, here's a link to her author website with all the links.

1.I absolutely love that Verona Comics is such a clear nod to Romeo and Juliet. Did you set out to write a modern retelling? You explore and contextualize a lot of the more toxic elements of the original story. Were there any major changes that you had to make to Shakespeare’s outline to make it fit YA today?   
I actually didn’t go into Verona Comic’s with the idea of mak…