Published: February 3, 2003
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex, especially when she compares herself to her slim, brilliant, picture-perfect family. But that’s before a shocking phone call — and a horrifying allegation — about her rugby-star brother changes everything. With irreverent humor and surprising gravity, Carolyn Mackler creates an endearingly blunt heroine who speaks to every teen who struggles with family expectations, and proves that the most impressive achievement is to be true to yourself.
Can I just start by saying, they really didn't choose a very good picture for the cover of the book. I mean, the title its self implies that her butt is "big", the summary implies that she is slightly overweight, but the girl in that picture does not fit either of those.
There is definitely a message in this book. Virginia struggles with her weight, and a family who constantly pressure her into being someone she isn't. We follow her on her journey to finally accepting herself, and taking steps towards getting healthy for herself, rather than to please her parents, or anyone else. It is a positive message to send to teenagers.
While I see the message in the book, I didn't find anything to be particularly special about it. The plot is a bit cliche, as are the characters. Virginia is your typical overweight protagonist, constantly obsessing about her weight, while stuffing her face full of cupcakes and Snickers bars. Her best friend has moved away for the summer, which results in Virginia shoving even more Twinkies down her throat. Her Mother strives to make her family perfect, which means she's constantly putting Virginia down.
The conflict comes in about half way through the story, when we find out something horrible that Virginia's brother Byron has done. This is when the book started irritating me. Their parents want their family to picture perfect, and yet when Byron has done this horrible thing, they shrug it off. They pretend he's done nothing wrong, while still treating Virginia as if she's the embarrassment to the family. It was all very annoying.
I gave the book three stars, only because there is a positive message that I believe teens could learn from. Other than the message, I found it to be boring and predictable.