A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is pretty clean fare. Vee does kiss her boss, who later becomes her boyfriend. She also auditions with a very, er, hands-on director, who it turns out is making porn. This book could inspire some important discussions about the media and pressure women and girls feel to be thin. Parents and teachers may want to read Common Sense Media's Girls and Body Image Tips for some facts and advice.
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What's the story?
Veronica -- known as Vee to her friends -- moves to Hollywood with big acting dreams. She's also hoping to feel a connection with the dead mother she barely remembers, whom she recently learned also pursued stardom. But, once in California, Veronica finds that her plus-sized figure is all people see, not her natural ability or her pretty face. Can Vee catch a break -- or will she have to return to Arizona defeated?
Is it any good?
This is a story with a good heart. Readers will be drawn to funny, talented Vee, and they will empathize with the plus-sized actress who faces harsh scrutiny by Hollywood casting agents -- and even the owner of the coffee shop where she works. The author is to be applauded for bringing these important body image issues to the forefront -- and for creating a big girl protagonist who stands up for herself (and even though she is much bigger than her skinny friend, Big Vee still gets the guy).
What the author doesn't do as well is paint a vivid world around Vee. The other storylines -- such as her scheming best friend who throws Vee's headshots in the garbage, or her father, who is so heartbroken about her mother's death many years ago that he keeps her a mystery from his daughter -- fail to seem as real, or as captivating, as the criticism Vee faces at her casting calls. In the end, this is a book that readers will value more for the topics it tackles than for its literary merit.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Vee's experience as a plus-sized actress. What do you think about Hollywood's expectations of women actors -- and how do their skinny bodies impact the rest of us?
Celebrities have stylists, hairdressers, personal trainers, and more – all working to make them look polished. And pictures in magazines have been altered to make models look flawless – and impossibly thin. Should everyone just accept that this is the way it is -- or should they fight back? Can you think of any stars who are outside of this mold?
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