Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
Title: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Author: Crystal Maldonado
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Publisher: Holiday House
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
If this story wasn’t about me…This book was sweet, honest, and oh, so relatable.
From page one, I was nodding along and laughing at how much I related to Charlie and what she felt/was going through. I remember having so many similar feelings about myself, my love life, and my body during the formidable high school years. It was so nice to see those thoughts and feelings penned on paper and worked through by a fictional character. I think the reliability and honesty of this book is what initially made me love it so much.
I also really loved how the characters weren’t perfect. Even sweet, sweet Brian, Charlie’s love interest, did things wrong. In fact, there was a scene in this book that talked about how imperfect some of the characters were and how that was totally okay! It made the characters feel real and made the story that much more vulnerable and honest.
Charlie was a great character to experience this story through. She had a lot of insecurities that she has to work through throughout the story and they’re put front and center stage throughout the book. She never felt pretty enough, skinny enough, outgoing enough, etc. She was someone who had built up a touch exterior on herself because of the things she had been told and heard growing up. But, she had so much strength through it all. The character development and growth in Charlie is truly one of the best parts of this book. The lady she becomes is still not perfect, but admirable and someone who’s trying.
I also really loved Brian. He was the sweetest guy ever and accepted Charlie for everything she was and wasn’t. He had insecurities and things he feared about the world and their relationship, but he was willing to put himself out there anyway. His relationship with Charlie is fun and exciting and I’m so glad Brian was apart of this story!
Overall, I enjoyed this candid and touching book about loving yourself and finding the courage to love others. A great debut from Maldonado!!
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you loved Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, here are some other books that you might like with fun plots and curvy characters!
- There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
- The Curvy Girl Club Series by Kelsie Stelting (5 books)
- If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
- To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
About the Author
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.
By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra.
She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.