45 Pounds (More or Less)

( 7 )


Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 2 months, and wants Ann to be a bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more...

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Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi's life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 2 months, and wants Ann to be a bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less).

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, endless run-ins with the cutest guy Ann's ever seen—and some surprises about her not-so-perfect mother.

And there's one more thing—it's all about feeling comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you add it up!

K.A. Barson's sparkling debut is "deliciously relatable, with a lot of laughter on the side." — Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times best-selling author

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When 16-year-old Ann's aunt and longtime partner announce they are getting married in two months, the size 17 teenager decides, "I'll need to lose forty-five pounds. By the middle of August." First, she turns to a line of expensive (and gross-tasting) products she saw in an infomercial. But when her impressionable little sister, Libby, develops dangerous eating habits, Ann opts to be a more positive role model—after all, "eating shouldn't be a punishment." Characters are often overly scripted, such as Ann's small-minded step-grandmother and Libby, who tells her teddy bear, "No more cake for you. You are too fat already." However, Ann's frank tone and levelheaded attitude should evoke compassion and understanding. First-time novelist Barson urges readers to think critically about women's obsession with food, diets, and weight, as well as societal prejudice directed at large people. When Ann's mother makes a snide comment about an overweight couple at a fast food restaurant, Ann thinks, "So what if they eat here everyday?.... Are they hurting anyone?" Ages 12–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (July)
VOYA - Mirta Espinola
45 Pounds (More Or Less) is a powerful story of the societal pressures to be thin in a culture where beauty is viewed as skinny. Barson's first novel is a look at women of several generations and how they deal with the pressures of body image and food. The underlying themes of relationships and family, the importance of outward appearance, and self-confidence are the focus in this novel. Ann, the main character, undergoes a powerful transformation internally—as well as externally—as she discovers her mother's secret, and realizations about her loved ones help her understand the complications of life. Barson offers up a powerful and poignant novel about hope and love in the midst of common and controversial issues about weight gain, weight loss, and the ability to persevere despite our flaws and predispositions to "eating," or not eating, our emotions. Barson presents a balance throughout the novel demonstrating the reasonable way to deal with issues women face every day. Readers will relate to any of the characters in this story. It is a book readers will not want to wait to finish, and when it is done, they will pick it up again. Reviewer: Mirta Espinola
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Sixteen-year-old Ann has a big problem. She has just two months to get into a bridesmaid dress for her Aunt Jackie's wedding. She needs to lose 45 pounds, which would be hard enough without the complications of a new job, a cute boy, a mean group of girls, and blended families that leave her caught in the middle-and left out. Her mother is obsessive about her own weight and as the summer wears on, Ann begins to see just how troubled her families are. Telling the story in Ann's wry, realistic voice, this debut author effectively captures society's preoccupation with size and the resulting alienation of an overweight teen. With a chain-smoking grandmother whose language is peppered with "fat-ass," relatives and friends who are slyly disparaging about her weight, and a mother who constantly prods her about dieting, the message could be heavy-handed. But Barson lightens the tone with almost cinematic humor, ensuring that even the most painful scenes have a slapstick edge. The ticking clock behind the wedding deadline gives the story real momentum, and while the ending is all nuptial jubilation, it is also a realistic summer's end for Ann.—Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Ann has a weight problem and a mother problem--and the two issues are likely connected. A rising high school junior, Ann has fought (and lost) the weight battle since early childhood. Getting hilariously stuck in a too-small dress she tries on at the mall surely proves it. She clearly has a dysfunctional relationship with food, eating way too much whenever she's troubled--which is to say quite often--and blithely rationalizing her behavior. Unwisely determined to lose 45 pounds in two months in order to look good in a bridesmaid's dress when her aunt marries her girlfriend, Ann buys a diet program from an infomercial. Her account of suffering horrendous exercise videos and bad food is both funny and sad, and she falls off the wagon several times. She and her thin, driven mother don't, at first glance, seem to have much in common. But when Ann sees her 4-year-old stepsister telling her teddy bear he's too fat, she realizes both she and her mom have serious food issues that threaten her sister's well-being. That recognition, presented in an authentic first-person voice, gradually paves the way for believable changes as Ann re-evaluates failed friendships, her own role in consuming secretly spiked drinks at a party, and the potential for a relationship with a nice--and attractive--guy. While lessons are offered, they are deliciously coated in readable prose and a compelling plot. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670784820
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 7/11/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 257,695
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

K.A. Barson earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes. This is her first novel.

Visit her website at www.kabarson.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    A heartwarming story. We all have to grow into ourselves, which

    A heartwarming story. We all have to grow into ourselves, which includes an awareness of the people around us and their needs. I suppose that's what won me over. I loved seeing Ann come to a point where she saw her family and friends through a wider filter.

    For those concerned about content, there is some "mean girl" action, real world language, and a gay wedding. (That wasn't an aspect I was prepared for based on the blurb.) 

    Definitely a sweet read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 12, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    45 Pounds (More or Less) pretty much had me from the snarky exce

    45 Pounds (More or Less) pretty much had me from the snarky excerpt on the back of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed Ann's voice and character. Her journey was realistic and the lessons she learned were beautiful.

    Enter sixteen-year-old Ann. She's a size seventeen. Her mother doesn't seem to understand why she can't stop eating. Her father is a complete and utter jerk. She hasn't heard from her brother in months. Her only friend has drifted away and barely talks to her anymore. When things go wrong, Ann eats whatever food she can get her hands on. Now Aunt Jackie is getting married and Ann is a bridesmaid. Enter stage: a new diet plan.

    While I did find Ann humorous at times, it didn't take long for me to feel sorry for her. She hates the fact that she's over weight so much that she imagines no one could like her because of it. She believes that random people are disgusted by her. Honestly though, all of these thoughts were mostly hurtful for her because it was how she thought of herself. It was sad. Some times I just wanted to tell her to stop. Stop thinking those things. Stop demeaning herself. And to speak up! Half of Ann's problem was that she swallowed everything. Someone would say something insensitive or cruel and she'd swallow it. Then later, she'd sit down and comfort herself with food. The thing about Ann though is that you can't keep her down for long. She will get up. And she will try again. Even if she doesn't think it'll work. She'll try because she refuses to give up on herself.

    I instantly liked Rayne. She was genuine and kind from the very second Ann met her. Rayne was the type of friend Ann needed. Jon had a very small role but he was just adorable and sweet. Courtney. *shudders* Courtney was evil. Ugh. How I hated her. When Courtney went on to lie about Ann at one point, I was sitting there just thinking, "Don't let her do that!" She was a vile, vile girl. Cruel. Dishonest. Mean. Horrible. Evil. And Ann's father? What a jerk. He purposely misled her into believe he would actually be spending time with her. Instead he used her so he could get out of the house. When Ann and I realized what was happening, I wanted her to march back out to her car and leave.

    I did love Ann's brother though. He was absent for most of the book but when he came back and just hugged Ann, the little sister in me had an, "Awwww. He's a good big brother." moment. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he loved her and was still looking out for her even from a distance.

    Also, I must mention her step-dad because I really liked him. You could tell he cared about his family. But the ending there at the wedding when he was talking to Ann? That stole my heart and I loved it. I was sitting there pretty much thinking, "Yes!" I'd been waiting for Ann to realize how good he actually was to her. How lucky she was to have him in her life.

    Plot wise, I am extremely happy with how things turned out. Ann learned to love herself. She also learned a great deal about her mother that explained things. I absolutely love that Ann's initial efforts didn't work. Nothing worked until she started thinking about the effect her actions had on her little sister. She had to look outside herself. That was beautiful.

    45 Pounds (More or Less) almost made me cry quite a few times. Everything was brilliantly executed. This earns a solid two thumps up. Thank you, Miss Barson.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    After school special material

    I had high hopes for this book. As someone who has her own kids, works with kids, and also has struggled with weight issues my whole life, I was excited to find a YA novel that deals in a real way with body image, diet, etc. While I think Kelly Barson's message is spot-on, I can't say the same about the quality of the writing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2013


    I thought the book was wonderful! However, i would not recomend it to everyone. It's a good book for ages 12+ but no younger than that. Thank You for your time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    If you have been following our blog for a while, you would have

    If you have been following our blog for a while, you would have remembered this book from our previous Waiting on Wednesday pick. All over the world, teens are having problems with weight. The media puts a lot of pressure on teens, and how the "perfect" image is to have the "perfect" body and the "perfect" face. That's where a lot of girls either starve themselves or go on extreme diets, but they never really think about their health. I come from an extremely healthy family, and reading books that help teens understand the importance of health makes me happy. Ann is a size 17. Ann's mother is a perfect size 6. Ann's parents are divorced, and she lives with her mother and her stepfather. Ann also has two step siblings. Being the only one who is overweight, Ann struggles to really be able to feel comfortable. Her mother constantly talks about weight. She talks about weight in front of her, when they're eating, and even when they're shopping. Escaping her mother's drama once in a while, Ann goes to hang out at her grandmother's house. There, she watches an infomercial about weight loss, and Ann decides to buy the package that includes frozen meals and exercise CD's. I really liked that Ann really did want to lose weight not only for her mother, but for herself. What really gives Ann a push is that her Aunt's wedding is in 10 weeks, and her aunt wants her to be her bridesmaid. 
    After receiving the S2S weight loss packages, Ann really starts setting her goals. I like how determined Ann was, and I was thrilled that she was doing it without anyone knowing. I felt really happy when Ann started to actually lose the weight. She tried to change her whole lifestyle step by step. Ann got a new job, and even got new friends. I just loved how a simple change can really change you into a positive person. All that aside, there is that cute guy Ann met on her day working. I loved the romance that was included in this book, and I have to say, it was one of the cutest, most adorable romances I have read in a while. 45 Pounds really talked about all sorts of things, but there was a very important thing as well. K.A. Barson didn't just want Ann to "lose" weight, she also wanted her to change her lifestyle. Ann decided to be a role model to those around her, and start eating in a healthy way. I hope I didn't give much away, but I just had to say how much of a good message this would be to a lot of teenagers out there.
    Overall, 45 Pounds was a fantastic read. It was full of friendship, hardships, family, love, and daily struggles. It wasn't just a read you fly through, but a read that actually teaches you a thing or two about life. I really would love to see more teenagers out there picking this one up, because I know a lot of girls would be able to relate to Ann and her struggles. This book really is beautiful. I may have expected a chill, funny read, but I'm glad I was able to get more than just that. I will definitely be looking forward to future books by K.A. Barson. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 3, 2013

    I'm so happy to recommend author KA Barson's debut novel 45 Poun

    I'm so happy to recommend author KA Barson's debut novel 45 Pounds (More or Less). It's a funny contemporary novel about a root-for-her heroine and her dysfunctional family. In this case, the dysfunctionality centers (mostly) around food, since Ann is overweight and has a high-pressure, stick-thin mother.

    This book has a lot of humor, and Barson develops the complexity of all the characters in Ann's blended family and outside life very well.

    I was a little leery at first about how Ann's weight loss would be handled throughout the book, but I was happy with how the story progressed. I appreciated that, from the start, Ann KNOWS what the "right way" to lose weight is — she can quote a weight-loss book cover to cover — and she's very aware of how damaging her fad-dieting and bingeing behavior is. Sometimes she can fight it, and sometimes she gives in.

    That, along with Ann's self-esteem issues and skewed self-perception, felt very realistic to me, and I think it will ring true with a lot of readers, whether or not they've had weight/body issues. Ann isn't stupid, but she's battling an addiction and lifelong habits, and I sympathized with her struggles.

    I want to emphasize here that, despite the (no-pun-intended) weightier subject matter, this is a funny book. Ann is a wry, witty narrator who gets herself into some ridiculous situations, and I read 45 Pounds cover-to-cover with a smile on my face!

    Also, the book avoided falling into bad-cliche territory. I won't be spoilerrific about the romance/friendships, because it's so nice as a reader to watch it all develop, but I'll tell you what the book is NOT: a get thin / get pretty / get happy story. I hate those, and they send a terrible message. Thankfully, this book has none of that, and it also doesn't shove morals at you like an after-school special. (Seriously, I just want to give KA Barson a thumbs up for a job well done.)

    Overall, I recommend 45 Pounds for anyone looking for a funny but not fluffy contemporary!

    * This review posted originally at www [dot] FirstNovelsClub [dot] com.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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