A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
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?
For kids who love romance and science
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.