Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Fat Cat by Robin Brande

AUTHOR: Robin Brande
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: October 13, 2009
PAGES: 330
SOURCE: My library
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
GIVE IT TO: MS, HS girls
OVERALL RATING: Highly recommended; 5/5 stars
SUMMARY: When she was in seventh grade, Cat experienced a betrayal that changed her life. Shocked and hurt, Cat packed on the pounds and stopped swimming for good. Now in high school, Cat is planning to take her revenge: to beat her arch-nemesis in the science fair and prove once and for all that she is the better person. In the process, Cat transforms herself physically and emotionally and finally faces her past.

WHAT I LIKED: Awww, this one is so sweet! I was sucked in immediately and had a hard time putting it down. All the characters are likeable, but I truly identify with Cat, the loveable, smart-but-clueless teen who obviously loves and misses her former best friend Matt. Cat's pain and transformation are well-paced and believable, and the romance--once it finally gets going--is just oh-so-sweet.

I wish I could have read this book as a teen. Though I am an adult reader, I really identified with Cat. Like Cat, I was a plump child, and like Cat, I was ridiculed for it. I understand how it is so much easier to eat than to confront someone who has hurt you. Like me, Cat is addicted to Diet Coke, and this book really makes me want to lick that terrible habit once and for all. With Fat Cat Brande manages to pass along positive health changes to teens without sounding preachy. The things Cat does to lose weight, clear her acne, and ultimately improve her self-image are practical and do not require pills or expensive food or crazy dieting tricks. The comparison with flowers at the end (flowers grow best with just plain water) is simple and brilliant. The whole thing really had a profound effect on me and has caused me to consider ways I can change my own eating habits.

Fat Cat is an engrossing story with a sweet romance that will encourage many teens to take steps toward a healthier, simpler lifestyle. A great choice for teen girls!

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Clearly, I loved this book. If I had to say one thing I didn't like, it would have to be that it is predictable. The predictability didn't bother me really, but it is obvious what will happen pretty early in the story. Some readers will not like that.

  • Language: none
  • Sexuality: mild-medium; several kissing scenes and ogling/touching of breasts
  • Violence: none
  • Drugs/Alcohol: none

READALIKES: Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have four copies, and since they are on the Lone Star reading list, they do stay checked out pretty steadily. Now that I have read and loved it, I'm probably going to need to order more. I can easily recommend this to my library girls.

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