Fat Cat

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Fat Cat Book Poster Image
Girl-geek makeover tale with a great healthy eating message.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


One minor incident where two high school boys are about to fight at a party, but they are held apart by a friend.


Definite smooching, some heavy petting, and some discussion of waiting for sex.


Some mild name calling including "jerk" and "fat" and one swear word used twice: "bitch."


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTwinkle Toes April 19, 2020

Lots of humorous dialogue

I really liked this book! It was an easy to read page turner--read it in 2 days which is a little unusual for me! The leading character is a witty overweight gi... Continue reading
Adult Written bylolliepop918 August 30, 2011


My daughter and i really loved this book i would reccomend it to anyone! but it may be a wee bit innapropriate for some kids...
Teen, 13 years old Written byDcantwo May 13, 2018


I loved this book so much! There is a lot of lessons to learn in life with this book. There's a bit inappropriate language and talk about kissing/sex but o... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 16, 2011


It sounds like a great book.
I am going to read it soon.

What's the story?

Catherine Locke has always had a love affair with junk food, Matt, and science. When Matt betrayed her in seventh grade it ended their friendship, but not her love of food and science. Cat became \"Fat Cat\" and put all her energy into beating Matt at least once in a science fair. When a tough, make-it-or-break-it science class project looked like it would break her she got prehistoric with it. She vowed to live like early human ancestors on a basic foods diet and no modern conveniences. Giving up Snickers and Diet Coke was tough, but what she learned about food, her body, and herself was worth so much more.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the effects of processed foods. What feelings do you associate with eating junk food? How about after you eat it? Do you crave it more or less?

  • What simple changes can you make to eat healthier?Is it easy to make the change to eating unprocessed foods --why or why not? How does money affect eating habits?

  • Do changes in appearance really matter or is it how you carry yourself? How did Cat's physical transformation change her socially?

Book details

  • Author: Robin Brande
  • Genre: Body Awareness
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Publication date: October 13, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and science

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