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 book features plenty of drinking and swearing in both English and Spanish. Margarita smokes marijuana and eats junk food including a whole box of Krispy Kreme donuts. There is a gay character who starts having trysts with a guy he barely knows after breaking up with his boyfriend. Also, a parent agrees to host a drunken prom party for Margarita.
What's the story?
During a drunken high school party, Margarita accepts her rival's challenge to run for prom queen. Margarita gets so obsessed with beating Bridget -- a pretty but mean overachiever who also acts on TV -- that she starts to forget all the stuff she likes about her life and her large-and-loud self. But she comes to her senses when she finds out that her former friend is struggling with much more than winning the crown.
Is it any good?
This is a fun enough addition to the prom genre for mature teens, if not a particularly deep one. Margarita Diaz is different than most prom candidates: She is unapologetically fat, wears outrageous clothes, sometimes with feathers attached -- and can swear like a sailor in both Spanish and English. Also, unlike a lot of queen bee prom wannabes, she is actually nice to everyone. Her energy certainly breathes life into this rather meandering revenge story. Readers may laugh at some of the antics -- like when Madge wakes up to find that she has passed out drunk in a college football stadium next to an empty box of Krispy Kremes -- and they will certainly cheer when she tells off her arch-rival Bridget Benson.
But by the time readers make it towards the end of the book, they may have forgotten what the whole point was. And this is exactly when the author decides to build Bridget's unfortunate -- and rather outrageous -- secret past (which includes a trashy drug-addicted mother who hits on Madge's gay best friend). All this -- of course -- leads to a very-scripted resolution between Madge and Bridget. Ultimately, it's Madge and her ebullient narration that keeps this story afloat.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about media -- books, movies, tv shows, etc. -- that feature large girls. Can you think of other examples of female protagonists who don't fit into the typical skinny-girl mold? How many examples can you come up with? Even in this book, Madge's size is definitely part of the plot. Can you think of any media with a big character where weight is not part of the storyline?