One Size Doesn’t Fit All: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson Book Review

45 poundsBook: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson, Viking Juvenile, July 2013

Book Info: YA realistic fiction, own hardcover book, 264 pages.

About the Book: (source: book jacket)

Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

The holiday season brings food issues to the surface, and family dinners and parties can be difficult to manage when you’re watching your weight. In 45 Pounds (more or less) weight loss strategies such as fad diets, exercise, and eating philosophies are some of the issues looked at. Anyone who has tried to lose weight will relate to Ann’s struggles to find a diet that sticks. This time Ann has a goal- lose 45 pounds before her aunt’s wedding. Can her willpower withstand working at a pretzel stand, her mother’s putdowns and friendship drama?

Ann is trying to find her place in the world and takes comfort in food. She lives with her mom and her new family, while her dad also has a new family. She thinks her life would improve if only she could lose weight. She could shop off the rack from the hip stores for one thing. Some diets have been successful but the weight hasn’t stayed off for long. When she sees an infomercial for a new diet plan, complete with food and an exercise plan, she thinks this will be the diet to change her life. To pay for the monthly diet plan, she has to work and takes a job at the food court.

A lot of the diet struggles and food issues hit home, and especially regarding body image and setting a good example for your kids. Ann’s mother is very thin, exercises a lot and eats very little. She’s constantly saying she needs to lose weight, and her remarks are affecting her youngest daughter’s relationship with food. The pieces start to come together for Ann as she sees how her own food choices and behavior impact her younger sister.

With such a weighty topic (haha) I never found the book to be preachy or difficult. I think the author got the tone just right, and doesn’t sugarcoat dieting struggles, or make it look too easy. This book takes a look at some hard truths but is not a downer. Ann is funny and kind, and needs a little shot of self-confidence to see all the good she has in her. The message is positive and I hope this book gets into the right hands.

45 pounds (more or less) is a charming debut that provides food for thought. Looking forward to reading more from K.A. Barson.

45 Pounds (more or less) is a YA Fiction Cybils nominee.


5 thoughts on “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: 45 Pounds by K.A. Barson Book Review

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    This sounds like a book a lot of people can relate to.

  2. quix689 says:

    I read this book fairly recently, but I can’t remember if I ever got around to reviewing it. But I liked it a lot. I could definitely relate to her, and I just wanted her to stop freaking out about it and just eat food that was good for her. Sometimes it’s hard to watch characters struggle with the same things that you’re still struggling with. Thanks for the review! 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      Agreed that as readers / outsiders the solution seems clear, and yeah Ann frustrated me at times too. But, I definitely don’t always make the right choices either so I could also relate to Ann. Glad you liked the book too!

  3. Sunny says:

    I completely agree! She did a great job not being preachy or making the topic difficult, handling it just right. Wonderful review, Lucy!

  4. bookgoonie says:

    I think I just got this one for the school library. Hopefully, I can get to it soon. I need help working through my food issues. Glad it isn’t a downer & is well done. I’m sure it was hard to balance it all as a writer.

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