Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: Fat Hoochie Prom Queen (Medina)

AUTHOR: Nico Medina
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
GENRE: Chick lit
OVERALL RATING: Neutral opinion
GIVE IT TO: High school girls who like loud, crass female leads and flamboyantly gay male supporting characters.With lots of Central Florida geographic references, I can see it being especially popular in Florida high schools.

SUMMARY: What does it take to be the queen? Margarita "Madge" Diaz is fat, foxy, and fabulous. She loves herself, and is adored by almost everyone else...except queen bee/student-body president Bridget Benson. These two girls have a history that's uglier than a drag queen after last call. During a heated argument, they decide there's only one way to end their rivalry: be named prom queen and the other backs off — for good.Of course, everything looks different in the sober light of morning, but pride is at stake and the race is on. Madge is committed to doing whatever it takes to secure the title, but so is Bridget. And everyone's got something to hide.

WHAT I LIKED: The title rocks! It's why I picked up this book in the first place. The characters are likeable and real, to the point that Margarita reminds me of my long-lost high school friend Jessica. Margarita's confidence and positive self-image is truly refreshing. She loves herself and is honest about her weight and her brash personality. She is not perfect and does not always do the right thing, but she grows throughout the story and learns from her mistakes. She is fun and real, and many teens will relate to her. Margarita's gay best friend Lucas complements her character beautifully, and readers will like him easily. He is a little guardian angel on Margarita's shoulder, keeping her grounded and challenging her to think. He loves her and does everything he can to help ensure she lives life to the fullest. Who wouldn't want a friend like that?

I like the realistic portrayal of the gay community, which is not something included in many books for teens. Medina includes details of a drag show and the emotional side of homosexual relationships. When Margarita and Lucas get lost in the Florida boondocks, they half-joke about how homosexuals are not accepted outside the cities and could be victims of homophobic violence. Fat Hoochie Prom Queen gives teens, many of whom have never been exposed to it, a better view of  the gay community, which may increase tolerance and understanding.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Margarita drinks (a lot!) and does drugs and generally does not take care of herself at all. She eats really fatty foods and does not care a lick about her health. The story drags in parts; it took me several days to finish this relatively short book. I would like to have seen the romance between Margarita and Redneck Randy better developed.

  • LANGUAGE: high
  • SEXUALITY: medium; lots of talk of gay sex and being sexy, but nothing happens beyond an off-screen kiss.
  • VIOLENCE: none
  • DRUGS/ ALCOHOL: very high; characters party and drink excessively (to the point of passing out), smoke marijuana

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don't have it; it's really more high school than middle school.

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