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Saturday, January 05, 2019

Funny, Authentic YA Debut Preaches Loving Yourself and Your Body, No Matter What Size You Are

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ever since a bitter divorce propelled her mother to audition for a weight loss reality show, things at Savannah Alverson's home have been a little rough.  Her mom is still obsessed with the extreme diet/exercise methods she learned on the show and she won't stop harping on Savannah about her own extra weight.  Savannah could ignore the jabs more easily when Ashley, her sister and best friend, was by her side; now that Ashley has gone away for college, Savannah has to deal with it on her own.  She's never felt more alone.  

Savannah's senior year of high school is supposed to be magical, and it does start perking up when she meets "dorky-hot" George Smith.  She feels instantly comfortable with the kind band nerd, who seems to reciprocate her growing feelings.  Except sometimes, he runs a bit hot and cold.  What's up with that?  While Savannah tries to sort her George problem, she also has to deal with her mom's increasingly dangerous behavior, her sister's gaping absence, her boiling anger toward her dad, and a shocking news story that just might lead her to the college path that's meant to be hers.  Dealing with it all won't be easy.  In fact, this just might be the toughest year of Savannah's life ...

To Be Honest, a debut novel by Maggie Ann Martin, is a quick YA read that's entertaining and authentic.  Savannah is an admirable heroine—she's smart, funny, and confident but she also has some flaws and issues to keep her real.  The story she tells isn't anything fresh or original.  However, the tale definitely promotes having a positive body image.  Unlike her mom, Savannah isn't trying to lose weight; she's not even that concerned about being chubby.  She knows she's a little overweight, but that doesn't stop her from dating, being involved at school, getting top marks, or putting body-shamers in their places.  I love that about this book and hope that teen girls will get the message loud and clear.  Overall, then, I enjoyed this read that stays funny and positive even when Savannah's dealing with hard things.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Plus by Veronica Chambers, What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard, and Purge by Sarah Darer Littman)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (1 F-bomb, plus occasional, milder expletives), depictions of underage drinking, and mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I don't read much YA, but I applaud this positive story for girls/young women.

    I still to this day remember the verbal jabs at me in 8th grade because I put on a lot of weight over that summer (stress, hormones, insecurity).

    This MC seems to have her life in order, so good for her! Good book to recommend.

  2. Oh, I love this! YA is so much more alive these days than it was when I was a teenager, and I'm beyond thrilled that there are so many books that feature characters who have the confidence to love themselves for who they are. It's a message teenagers definitely need, and as someone who turned to books for answers when I was that age, something like this would have spoken to my heart. :)


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