Reviews for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, by Crystal Maldonado

batmads's review

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5.0

**Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss who provided me with an ARC in exchange for a review**

First of all: I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Second of all: Did I mention that I loved this book? Like, everything about it was just *chef's kiss* pure perfection.

The voice is PERFECT, and I say that because I absolutely, 100% talk like Charlie Vega, so I know what's up. The plot is authentic and real and totally dragged me in. I've had conflict like Charlie and Amelia have in this book in high school. Seriously. My friend group literally dropped a girl because someone got salty about how much time she spent with her boyfriend. But I've also had their pep talks and their love and their validation and it was just. so. well. done. It blew my mind both how much I could relate to this book and how much of it was fresh and original and unlike anything I had experienced before.

But even beyond the dynamics of voice and character and conflict in this book is the sheer skill with which deeper themes are handled. That's how I know this book is amazing, because you can have a great story (which Fat Chance, Charlie Vega does), but if the themes are lacking, I'll forget about it in a week. For this one though! AHHHHHH.

I knew fatphobia was a thing. I battle it in myself on a regular basis, because I, a skinny girl, have been told enough shit about my own body that I've internalized over the years that I know I have a load of implicit bias again fat people. I didn't realize how prevalent it was until I read Fat Chance. Suddenly, it was popping out at me everywhere. How people in my family would describe people they didn't like as being overweight. How trump supporters are depicted as being heavier than liberals in political cartoons. How everywhere, weight is linked with being wrong, somehow. And Charlie, who is fat, has seen and has been told this message so often that it colors everything in her life.

The synopsis here tries to sell the plot as Charlie working out her relationship with Brian after this bombshell that he liked skinny Amelia first for the entire book. That is not how this story goes. In reality, this story is Charlie working to dismantle her own internalized bias around her own weight and ethnic heritage after every bad message she's ever been handed by the world about her body, her beauty, and her worth are reinforced by one, super sucky guy. It's about balancing her relationship with her best friend with her relationship with her boyfriend, because once you find a new source of love and validation, it's hard to let it go. It's about working on her relationship with her mother, who's succumbed to all the subtle fatphobia she's experienced in the world. (Charlie's mother, by the way, while a massive pain in the ass who definitely goes too far on more than one occasion, is also a fascinating character

ameliareads_'s review

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emotional hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

samikoonjones's review

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emotional hopeful lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

thelost_bookmark's review

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adventurous challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

This is one of the best books of 2021!!! I finished this book, this morning but had to take a couple of hours to get over the shock and repair my blown-up mind ( I am totally not over the shock!).

This book is about a fat brown teenage girl named Charlie who is struggling to come to terms with her body and her place in the world. She lost her father a few years go which leaves her to deal with her mother. Her relationship with her mother is far from what she wanted. It doesn't help that her former fat mother has lost weight and is now hooked on the idea of being skinny which turns into Charlie being pressured to lose weight. Charlie also struggles with the feeling of being inferior to her skinny counterparts including her best friend Amelia. Charlie's best friend Amelia is everything Charlie is not, she is skinny, popular, confident and athletic. However, when the cute guy in Charlie's art class starts talking with her, Charlie is super excited that it might be the start of something special. Until she finds out he asked her best friend Amelia out first. This forces Charlie to reevaluate everything and all her deep feelings she keeps bottled up come to the surface. 

I have never come across a book where I identify with every aspect of the main character. Like Charlie, I grew up as a fat friend. My relationship with my mother to this day is still strained. Reading about Charlie and her life felt like I was reading about me. I have never seen such a great representation of fat-positive girls, especially in YA. Charlie's friendship with Amelia was the most important part of this book. Their friendship really showed the struggles and insecurities that are often not addressed. As much as her mother influenced how she saw herself, her friends did as well. 

It was refreshing to read about an interracial fat couple and how empowering it is when you find someone who also struggles with the same insecurities. This book has great representations of LGBTQ+, BIPOC characters and has important discussions about fatphobia, diet culture, and the misconception that fat equals bad.

This book was exactly what I needed. I am so happy I decided to read it. Thank you Crystal for sharing Charlie's story. She has truly left a mark on my heart and has sparked a fire in me to be unapologetically myself. 

kristinkravesbooks's review

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lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

thisblondeisbooked's review

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inspiring lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

reveriewithali's review

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hopeful inspiring fast-paced

5.0

snjglez's review

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challenging emotional hopeful inspiring reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

Definitely pulls at your heart strings 

megj23's review

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funny lighthearted fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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nyertryingtoreadeverything's review

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I really wanted to love this book, I really did. But I just couldn't get into it and found a lot of the storyline to be a bit toxic. I wanted to keep going but it wasn't in the meat of the description and I felt like it was just going to keep going in circles based on the blurb.  Maybe I am wrong and not getting something but we have so much great fat rep and this felt like a step back.