I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking this will be just one more story of the ignored, “big-boned ” girl, who sheds her glasses and a few extra pounds and finally attracts the notice of the most popular guy in school.
Except it isn’t. Because I’m not unpopular. Not all that ignored. And I love the way I look―just as I am.
Then someone puts my name in for Homecoming Court.
The bigger surprise?
People actually vote for me!
Now, I’m a “princess”―whether I like it or not―but the guy I’m paired with isn’t exactly Prince Charming.
Rhys Castle is the strong, silent type who always wears a frown―he’s certainly never smiled at me. I’m 99.9% sure he hates being on Court and being my partner, but surprisingly…he doesn’t switch when he gets the chance.
Turns out Rhys has a secret―something that makes him run hot and cold throughout the entire three weeks of Homecoming festivities. Whether he’s stepping on my feet during dance lessons or gallantly escorting me through the Homecoming parade, I can’t get a read on this guy, and for the first time, I find my confidence wavering.
But there’s more to Rhys than meets the eye. And the more the spotlight shines on me, I realize there’s more to me, too.
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
A sweet and body-positive book that just so happened to have a main character with my name.
I loved that I was able to relate to this book and the main character in so many ways. The top two things were her name, Ariel, and that she’s a curvy girl. O’Gorman did a great job of bringing up body image issues between an array of characters. It was nice to have our main character, Ariel, as a girl who was confident in her body and appearance, but that still had moments of weakness in this area. I think anyone can relate to this no matter what size they are. As well, we see a small glimpse into the body image issues other characters of other shapes and sizes have. It’s a testament to people everyone that no one is immune of this problem, no matter their size.
Expanding on the confidence and body positivity of Ariel, while there are moments of doubt and frustration discussed and brought up, much of the book is very positive. Ariel loves herself and is proud to be a curvy girl. Also, the support she receives from her mom is refreshing. I loved getting to see a character who was already happy where she was instead of building to this point.
Moving onto Rhys, our love interest. I thought he was supposed to be this broody and surly guy, but we really only see that side of him for a few chapters. Once he becomes comfortable with Ariel, he’s a completely different guy. He’s really sweet and thoughtful. There was something that was throwing me off about him (maybe his total confidence in what felt like every situation? Could have shown more of a weakness?) although I’m not entirely sure what. In the end, however, I decided that I liked him.
The story itself is not anything new or crazy exciting, but I did have fun going through high school homecoming traditions with Ariel. And I particularly loved when there was a conversation about the lack of fat Disney princesses.
Overall, this book was enjoyable and flipped a couple of traditional YA tropes on their head. I’d recommend checking out The Curvy Girls Club series if you enjoyed this book or you just need more body positivity books in your life.