From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10-Sophomore Virginia Shreves lives in Manhattan and attends a prestigious private school. She lives by her Fat Girl Code of Conduct. She has a budding romance with Froggy the Fourth, but she doesn't want his wandering hands to feel her fat. Her baggy clothing helps her to "hide." Her mother, Dr. Phyllis Shreves, is an adolescent psychologist obsessed with her imperfect daughter's weight, and her father is rarely around. Her older sister joined the Peace Corps to escape mom, and brother Byron is big man on the Columbia campus-until he's suspended for date rape. Finally, Virginia stands up to her mother and takes charge of her life. Strong points in the novel are the issue of date rape and its consequences and, however glossed over, eating disorders. Parental pressure is overdone. Mom and dad are stereotypical of adults so involved in themselves that they cannot see their child for who she is. Some passages are very well done, but the book has an uneven quality in prose style and character development. Told through first-person narrative, journal entries, and e-mail, Virginia's story will interest readers who are looking for one more book with teen angst, a bit of romance, and a kid who is a bit like them or their friends.
Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-10. Fifteen-year-old Viriginia Shreves is the blond, round, average daughter in a family of dark-haired, thin superstars. Her best friend has moved away, and she's on the fringes at her private Manhattan school. She wants a boyfriend, but she settles for Froggy Welsh, who comes over on Mondays to grope her. The story follows Virginia as she tries to lose weight, struggles with her "imperfections," and deals with the knowledge that her idealized older brother has committed date rape. There's a lot going on here, and some important elements, such as Virginia's flirtation with self-mutilation, are passed over too quickly. But Mackler writes with such insight and humor (sometimes using strong language to make her point) that many readers will immediately identify with Virginia's longings as well as her fear and loathing. Her gradually evolving ability to stand up to her family is hard won and not always believable, but it provides a hopeful ending for those trying stand on their own two feet. Ilene Cooper
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