Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
Charming novel promotes body positivity and self-acceptance.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a charming and heartfelt coming-of-age tale that promotes body positivity and self-acceptance. There are many diverse representations in terms of body type, race, sexual orientation, and family structure. There are biracial characters, African American and Korean American characters, a character who identities as pansexual, and a character with two moms. The main character is bullied by her classmates and body-shamed by her mom. Couples kiss and make out in cars and bedrooms. The main character talks about making an appointment at Planned Parenthood to get on the pill. One character considers losing her virginity. Strong language includes variations of "s--t," "f--k," "ass," "bitch," "scumbag," and "goddamn." There are a couple of mentions of smoking. Adults drink, get hangovers, and there's also some underage drinking at parties.
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What's the Story?
In FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA, 16-year-old Charlotte "Charlie" Vega has never been kissed, although she can't wait to experience one of the swoon-worthy romances she writes about online and daydreams about. But it's hard to have a love life when her mom is always telling her she needs to lose weight, and she's continuously coming in second to her charming, athletic, and slim best friend Amelia. Things begin to change when Brian, a handsome boy in her art class and afterschool coworker, starts flirting with her. What happens when Charlie finds out Brian was initially interested in Amelia? Will her insecurities get in the way of her relationships with her friends, family, and, most importantly herself?
Is It Any Good?
This charming and heartfelt coming-of-age novel thoughtfully explores body image and complicated family relationships while promoting self-acceptance, making it a must-read for teens. Readers will swoon over Charlie's sweet romance with Brian and appreciate the supportive friendship she shares with Amelia. Her conversational first-person narration also makes her loveable and extremely relatable. Thankfully, she's one of many characters that readers will enjoy because of how the diverse representations -- body type, race, sexual orientation, and family structure -- are included in the story without feeling forced. Some of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega's most emotional scenes occur during Charlie's fights with her mom about her weight. As Charlie opens up about her insecurities and realizes she's beautiful as she is, teens will see how crucial communication and honesty are in healthy relationships with family, friends, romantic partners, and yourself.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how body image and acceptance handled in Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. Why can't people repect others no matter their body shape? Do you think the culture is slowly changing in a postive direction? What's it like at you school?
Does the romance in the story seem realistic and relatable? Do YA romance novels help readers sort out their feelings and learn how to communicate, or do they create false expectations about teen relationships?
Talk about the various kinds of diversity in the novel. Why are diverse representations important in children's and young adult literature?
How do the characters demonstrate communication? Why is this an important character strength?
- Author: Crystal Maldonado
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Holiday House
- Publication date: February 2, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 352
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
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