I have a great YA novel to share with you all today in the form of Big Boned by Jo Watson. Many thanks to Penguin Random House Children’s, UK for my copy of this book, which I received via NetGalley.
Can she be herself in a one-size-fits-all world?
Lori Palmer is the new girl at Bay Water High, where students prize glossy hair, beach bodies, and school spirit above all else. She misses her old school―where her talent as an artist carried more weight than she does―and longs for her old family life, before her parents got divorced and her mom reinvented herself.
So Lori decides that the only way to survive the rest of the year is to blend into the background, but her plans go awry when she discovers that the most popular (and hottest) guy at Bay Water High, Jake, is a volunteer at her brother’s school. When her brother befriends Jake’s sister, Lori is suddenly thrust into his unfamiliar and exhilarating world of water polo, parties, and stargazing.
But with her relationship with her mother deteriorating, old anxieties resurface and Lori finds a new artistic release that unknowingly ignites a powerful movement. When the authorities start asking questions, Lori realizes that finding her voice might have gotten her into a world of trouble…but sometimes standing up for what you believe in is as important as standing up for yourself.
Despite being (a lot) older than the target audience, I found Big Boned to be an really empowering read. I was surprised of how much of what Lori learns and what is said by her therapist were things that I really need to hear myself.
Reading partly as an internal monologue, you get a real insight into Lori’s character. I found her to be incredibly relatable and I particularly liked that her journey to happiness wasn’t an easy one or an overnight success story. This made her experiences feel all the more real.
In a world where absolute perfection seems to be the order of the day, I think this is a really important book for all teenagers to read to help them learn to accept themselves and their individuality.