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Huge Hardcover – May 22, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Wil is a fat girl whose wealthy parents own a chain of fitness centers. April is a fat girl who has saved money to go to Wellness Canyon Camp, where an unwilling Wil is being sent by her parents. Upbeat April and sarcastic, unhappy Wil meet as roommates, two girls with very different goals. April wants to change her life and find the popularity she has always craved. Wil is going to gain weight to stick it to her parents. As the summer progresses, both girls change in ways neither could have expected. There are a few problems here, mostly the result of sloppiness. The girls go after the same guy, and when he humiliates them both, they decide to get even. Instead of coming up with something clever, Paley relies on the old laxative-in-the-drink gambit. Some mild expletives come late in the story, and there's no real explanation of how April could have saved $7,000 for camp. However, the characters are sharply drawn, and the often-amusing story does a good job of showing how everyday concerns are often overshadowed by the issue of weight. Cooper, Ilene
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Sasha Paley grew up in Chicago, where she spent a lot of time writing in
cafés and attempting to flirt with guys from Northwestern. Sasha now
lives in New York City, where she still spends a lot of time writing in
cafés and working on her flirting skills.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416935177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416935179
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,744,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
I ordered "Huge" after falling in love with the utterly endearing ABC Family series of the same name. Screen adaptations rarely live up to their original source material, so I was expecting big things (no pun intended) from Paley's novel. But if you're like me and are interested in seeing how the book compares to the television show, you're going to be disappointed.

Beyond the title, the name of the main character, and the fact that it's set at a fat camp, the book bears few similarities to its TV counterpart. The show is everything the book is not--complex, charming, layered, sweet, funny, sad. The characters, so real and so vulnerable on screen, are nothing more than cardboard stereotypes on the page. None of the show's most interesting personalities (Alistair, Becca) are present in the book. There is no camper-counselor flirtation that parallels the George-Amber storyline, nor is there any mention of the fractured relationship between the camp director (here a bubbly redhead called "Melanie") and her father. Pretty much all of the elements that make the TV series sparkle are noticeably absent, leaving us with a straightforward "summer camp" story, and not a particularly interesting one at that.

Near the end of the book, there is a scene where Wil is caught reading "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky. It's a shame that Paley, obviously familiar with Chbosky's brilliant YA novel, didn't take a few clues from that work. Because even as general young adult fiction, "Huge" falls flat. The plot is thin, the characters one-dimensional. And although it's an easy read, there is very little incentive to keep turning the page.

Skip the book and check out the television series instead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MJPF on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
HUGE (reviewed on May 1, 2007)

A clichéd, moralistic tale of lessons learned at fat camp. Two girls spar and then bond as summer roommates. Perky April has "saved all year... all of [her] birthday money. Christmas. Everything" to pay for Wellness Canyon because she wants to be thin and popular. (How birthday and Christmas gifts could possibly total "seven grand" for a girl with a single mother on disability is distractingly inexplicable.) Wil, in contrast, has rich parents who own a sleek gym chain; her fatness is their shame, so they force her to go. Both April and Wil lose weight over the summer, while they obnoxiously insult each other, become friends, kiss the same boy, plot revenge on him, fight more and make up. Paley unequivocally touts weight loss and repeatedly uses words like "waddled" about her fat characters. She also displays ignorance of physiology, equating fitness unquestionably with thinness. Appalling and simplistic. (Fiction. 11-13)
Pub Date: May 22nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3517-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mindy on August 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think the only thing that I can really say about this book is that it came off as very unrealistic to me. I would have a hard time believing that the author really understands what it's like to be an overweight teenager. I also think that the messages in this book leave much to be desired. I basically got the message that you can't be happy unless you're thin, and that losing weight is about becoming popular and getting boys. I personally think that weight loss should be about making yourself happy and being healthy. I mean, it's an interesting story I guess, but more than a bit misguided.
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By Elizabeth on January 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I started to read Huge for I Heart Monster's Read Along a few weeks ago. I was happy to discover that Huge was a fun and easy read. The characters were interesting, and I was surprised that I ended up actually liking both April and Wil even though April is a much more likable character most of the time. It was nice to see April and Wil grow as characters as the book progressed.

Even though he is a minor character, my favorite character was Dave. He seemed like such a sweet guy, but I thought he was way too nice to April especially after the way she treated him. She was too blind by her selfish wants to see that he liked her, so I do not think that she deserved his kindness.

The main reason for the drama in the book was Colin, the jock of fat camp. Both April and Wil ended up crushing on him. Obviously, they ended up fighting with each other over him, and he turned out to be a huge jerk and player. Big surprise. Oddly enough, the experience actually caused them to become good friends in the end.

Huge is a great summer/ beach read. There are plenty of funny moments to keep you entertained. I have watched a couple episodes of the show on ABC Family, and I have discovered that the show is loosely based on the book. I did not see many similarities at all.

Side note: The chapter headings were yummy! They made me want s'mores every time I started a new chapter.
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By Kindle Customer on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Huge twice! This book was so fabulous and well written and was all about friendship! I might go read it again!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
HUGE deals with a topic that is apparently in the media more and more these days (though I myself haven't seen it much): fat camp.

Wellness Canyon is a high-end fat camp where two very different girls, April and Wil, are paired as roommates. April has saved all year for this, despite a lack of support from her mom. She wants to lose some weight and gain the popularity she's always wanted. Wil wants to be anywhere but Wellness Canyon. Her wealthy parents have sent her there, as she's a public relations nightmare: they own the high-profile chain of Excalibur Gyms. Wil's revenge on them is to enter Wellness Canyon with a huge stash of sweets and be the first kid in camp history to actually gain weight while there.

Of course, as it's full of teenagers with raging hormones, there's more than weight loss going on at Wellness Canyon. When April and Wil start crushing on the same guy, football-playing hottie Colin, their relationship gets even more tense. Can they make it through the summer together and maybe even become friends?

A lot of HUGE is your typical summer camp story. Sasha Paley does a great job of creating at least two fleshed-out, interesting characters, though some secondary characters sometimes seem a little flat. Paley is a talented writer, but the popular-kids-are-mean message is maybe a little heavy, and, despite what the back cover says about learning to accept yourself, I felt like she was saying that being skinny is better than being fat, even if she never came out and said it.

Despite this, though, HUGE is a fairly satisfying read, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Sasha Paley writes next!

Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce
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