From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—This is a well-intentioned book of essays and short stories by a diverse group of young adult authors including Barry Lyga and Ellen Hopkins. The selections are pretty evenly divided between fiction and personal essay; however, all touch on the concept of body image (defined here in terms of weight). Two stories, by Sarra Manning and Coe Booth, distinguish themselves by not addressing body image in these terms, focusing instead on breast and butt size, respectively. Although three of the selections feature male subjects, it is clear that the collection anticipates a female readership. While Daniel Pinkwater's and Lyga's contributions are what seem to be personal essays about the authors' own thoughts on weight, Matt de la Peña's short story is told from the perspective of an older brother dealing with his sister's anorexia. The collection concludes with a list of recommended reading and viewing, a list of songs entitled "Big Girls Don't Cry," and an unannotated list of Web sites, some of which promote healthy body images for teens, others of which are commercial sites featuring plus-size clothing. From the selections to the recommendations, it is clear that this book is attempting to advance self-acceptance; however, the limited breadth of the stories, and the dubious commercial/public service nature of the webliography result in a mixed message.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
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This star-studded collection tackles a popular topic—body image—with humor, sensitivity, and creativity. An entertaining essay (unfortunately placed given the intended audience) by Daniel Pinkwater on what it’s like to be a fat, middle-aged man starts the collection. This rocky start will quickly be forgiven with Megan McCafferty’s story narrated by a pair of skinny jeans. Other highlights are Matt de la Peña’s wrenching story of a young man coming to terms with his sister’s devastating eating disorder, and Sarra Manning’s feisty protagonist, who helps a co-worker find her own style and later faces her own body issues. The focus on living in one’s body as a teenager or young woman extends the appeal for women college aged and older. An appendix lists body-positive Web sites, books, and music. While only two entries overtly feature minority characters, the variety of body issues is diverse enough that anyone can relate: too short, too fat, too busty, too flat, eating too much, eating too little. All convey the importance of loving one’s self, regardless of one’s shape. Grades 7-12. --Heather Booth