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Posted December 9, 2014
I wanted to read this one because I am overweight myself and figured that I would connect with Ann. I was right, I understood her battles with self-control, letting food control my thinking and schedule, as well as wanting to be thin but not being able to stick with the dieting.
Ann's character growth, realizing she wants to be healthy rather than striving for skinny. Her relationship with her mom and her little sister, and how their body image issues and food talk was effecting her at age 4. Ann's mom is thin but feels fat and talks about how she can't eat another bite. Further family relationships including feeling left out from her father (parents are seperated), her brother going off to college and not staying in touch, to feeling like both families have started over with another spouse and smaller children. It is so realistic and easy to relate to if you have any sort of similar issues.
It is pretty gritty and Ann's internal dialogue is true to life. I am overweight and can connect with how much she waivers, and how it isn't glossed over. The issues with eating are handled well and fleshed out.
I also felt a kinship with Ann because of how close she is with her grandma. I lived with my grandmother a lot when I was a kid, when my mom was busy, moving or having her own issues. This made us so close, she shared my love of reading and always was a safe place. Ann's grandma was more hip and louder than mine, but that just added some humor and wisdom to the book.
Ann and her friendships were also a little dysfunctional. She was semi manipulated by Cassie who used to be her best friend. Not only that, but when she gets a job she is working with some of the "cool kids" from school. One of them is more different and actually liked Ann for who she was, not worried about body image, etc. Raynee was so sweet and glad that she was in the book and was accepting. But I like that she wasn't a complete outcast, and she made it worse for herself because of self-doubt. A lot of people were nice to her and talked to her, and I think that she could have been more popular if she would, because she has a funny, real personality and easy to like.
There was some romance and although it didn't take the front seat, it was sweet. I like that he didn't care about her size, he cared about her personality. He was also understanding, he pursued her, and a generally good guy.
I liked the ending and the place where Ann left off. She had a better understanding of health and although she didn't meet her goal, she made progress.
Bottom Line: Realistic look at an overweight girl dealing with self image and trying to lose weight.
Posted September 14, 2014
I usually steer very, very clear of books about weight issues, but I picked this one up, and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. This book did *none* of the things I usually hate in books about weight issues, except for be explicit on the MC's actual height and weight. (Which I guess is hard to avoid, but my big problem with "fat girl" books is the fact that that implicitly tells a reader of that height and weight "you are fat.") The MC isn't this terribly mean girl who's so bitter about her weight that she's unbearable to be around; in fact, she's quite likeable, and makes friends without thinking about her size and whether they're judging her every second of the day. No boys play awful pranks on her relating to her size, nor is she lulled into feeling like she's beautiful no matter what by a boy. There isn't a magic formula, though she does try different things, and sometimes succeeds, and sometimes fails, and just in general, feels very *real*. This is one of those books you read and say, "Yes, thank the freaking lord, this was written by someone who's been there and who gets it." Above all, the messages are all about health (physical and mental), and not about beauty, and that is a pretty freaking great thing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 13, 2014
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.
Posted February 12, 2014
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.
Posted August 30, 2013
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 NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 29, 2013
Posted July 25, 2013
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.
Posted July 3, 2013
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.
Posted August 30, 2013
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