A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn a lot about healthy eating and how making your own food can be better than reaching for the processed foods. Readers will also learn the effects too much junk food has on the body and what simple things kids can do to get moving.
Overall the message is very positve with its empasis on eating healthy foods and the effects of a junk food diet on a person's body and mood, including describing the withdrawal symptoms from sugar. The initial emphasis was on the physical benefits beyond weight loss.
Positive Role Models
The main character's dedication and self-discovery makes her a great role model, while the male characters, for the most part, are great models of sensitivity, brains, and common sense -- a departure from most teen novels.
Violence & Scariness
One minor incident where two high school boys are about to fight at a party, but they are held apart by a friend.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Definite smooching, some heavy petting, and some discussion of waiting for sex.
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Some mild name calling including "jerk" and "fat" and one swear word used twice: "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Food are the main sources of branding in this novel as the main character battles with her weight and her addiction to processed foods. Brands include: Snickers, Diet Coke, and Doritos.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One brief mention of smoking in relation to breaking the habit.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there isn't much to be worried about in this novel about a teen giving up processed foods for a school project. There's some kissing, heavy petting, and a discussion of waiting to have sex, plus a few instances of name calling. Mostly the main character sets a good example by embarking on a positive mission of self-discovery that makes her a whole lot healthier in the process.
Is It Any Good?
FAT CAT took a tried and true premise -- fat chick gets skinny and popular by senior year -- and added an interesting angle to it. Author Robin Brande created a story that uses science and a commitment to research to motivate "Fat Cat" to get thin and healthy. No crash diets, no dangerous exercise, just good old-fashioned (caveman inspired) healthy eating and prehistoric transportation: her feet.
Readers will love Cat's perserverance and identify with her pain from both being called fat and giving up her junky diet of diet soda and chocolate. Hopefully teens will read this novel and realize they can take control of their own diets while learning how processed food can affect their mood and bodies. Cat's story eventually gets sidetracked by standard boy/girl drama, and it's disappointing that her experiment detoured into some Pretty Woman-style shopping experiences and boy-magnent experiements, but overall the message is positive and inspiring.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.