45 Pounds (more or less)
by K.A. Barson
Pub Date: 7/11/13
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!
"Deliciously relatable with a lot of laughter on the side." -- Rita Williams-Garcia, New York Times best-selling author.
I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review
Sixteen year old Ann is a size 17 and not comfortable in her own skin. Her perfect size six mother, who is not subtle about her disappointment in Ann's weight, doesn't help Ann's situation. When Ann's aunt asks her to be a bridesmaid in 10 weeks, Ann decides she'll lose 45 pounds and fit in the perfect dress. Desperate, Ann turns to an infomercial weight loss program, which doesn't turn out to be the miracle it claims to be. A new summer job, best friend issues, family drama, and the cutest boy Ann has ever seen, all collide, creating one busy summer for Ann.
45 Pounds (More or Less) was such a fun, cute summer read! This YA Contemp isn't just about Ann's weight loss struggles, it's about family, friendship, acceptance, and self-discovery, but it isn't cheesy or too after-school special over-the-top. This is a quick read, easily consumed in one sitting, and once I began reading I didn't want to put it down. Barson writes with a smart, witty voice and has created such a likable, refreshing main character.
Ann's struggle with losing weight, her relationship with her family, and her awkward interaction with the cutest boy ever, are all so relatable and written in such an authentic way, with such charming humor. Barson deftly explores important and heavy issues, like eating disorders, bullying, and dysfunctional and broken families with a seriousness such issues deserve, but in a way that keeps the story from ever getting dark. Whether or not readers have struggled with weight issues, Ann's addicting, often hilariously cringe-worthy experiences are irresistibly entertaining and easy to relate to. Ann's home-life and various family relationships are thought-provoking and written with care.
I loved Ann a lot and saw so much of myself in her. I felt like I was standing right there with her through every awkward encounter, every painful experience, and every squee-worthy accomplishment. In many ways, Ann is pretty average, not insanely smart or wickedly snarky or a total outcast, but it's this average-ness that makes her so likable and endearing. I was easily caught up in the relationships between Ann and her various family members, especially between she and her mother, and found myself moved, surprised, frustrated (and lots of other feels) by them. However, one thing that bugged me was the way Ann often treated her younger siblings with unwarranted and unfair annoyance and impatience.
I really liked how the subtle romantic elements played out in 45 Pounds (More or Less). The romance doesn't dominate the story at all and is sprinkled throughout in just the right amounts of organic doses. The “cutest boy Ann has ever seen”, aka Jon, is super likable and the perfect mix of sweet, charming, quirky, and swoon-worthy. I loved every scene and interaction between Ann and Jon!
45 Pounds (More or Less) ends on such a wonderful, refreshing note.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: 45 Pounds (More or Less), with its authentic voice and awesome main character, was such a delight to read! I walked away from this book with the biggest smile and look forward to reading more from this debut author.
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K.A. Barson graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes.