KLIATT - Amanda MacGregor
Seventh-grader Maggie Bean has just found out that she weighs 186 pounds. She knows she gained a lot of weight in the past year, but is appalled to see exactly how much. The only way she can get through each week is by stocking up on candy at the drugstore and drowning her sorrows in chocolate all day long. Concerned about her health, Maggie's parents make her start attending Pound Patrol meetings with her Aunt Violetta. Maggie is not thrilled about being forced to sit around with people much older than her and talk about weight issues. Luckily, she meets Arnie, a boy her age who also attends the meetings. His humor and kindness win her over, giving her a new friend for the first time in quite a while. The meetings do nothing to help her problem, but Maggie has her own plan. Organization and setting goals are Maggie's strengths, so she draws up a plan for losing the weight. The strength of the story lies in the characters. Maggie is a strong, determined, and infinitely likeable girl. She is rendered with such realism that her personality practically jumps off the page. She struggles with her weight, has setbacks in her plan, and experiences a gamut of emotions as she tries to make herself over. The supporting characters of Aimee, Arnie, and Peter, Maggie's crush, are all just as well-thought-out as Maggie. They are nuanced and realistic, providing nice counterpoints to the shallow, catty girls who are peripheral characters. Even though Maggie intends to pull off her weight loss plan alone, she is surrounded by caring friends who only want her to be happy, no matter what her weight. Readers will root for Maggie in this engaging, earnest story.
School Library Journal
This thoughtful coming-of-age novel focuses on an overweight seventh grader who compensates for her lack of self-confidence with an abundance of ambition and heart. Maggie Bean has gained more than 30 pounds in the past year-a reaction to the stress caused by her father being laid off-and she is ready to drop those pounds. She attends the Pound Patrollers meetings at her parents' insistence, but her key motivation is her yearning to be a member of the Water Wings, an ultra-exclusive synchronized swim team at her school. Mastering the complicated routines is not what Maggie is stressed about, but rather looking good in the silver two-piece that serves as the team uniform. While her weight issue is crucial to the story, it is not its sole focus. Instead, the author zeroes in on Maggie's journey of self-discovery and her struggle to find her place in the world. Losing weight and seeing what her body can do when pushed is just the self-esteem booster she needs. Maggie realizes that she can do whatever she wants when she puts her mind to it and that she determines how others see her. This empowering novel is perfect for girls trying to overcome any obstacle, weight-related or not.
Robyn ZaneskiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.