I wasn't overly thrilled with this book, but it was well written and had a story that a lot of girls can relate to. I just thought that the way the book is marketed is not exactly truthful. In the summary on the back, it states that Celeste, the main character, is happy with herself, but she never really seems to be happy with the way that she looks. To be honest, I'm not sure that Celeste every really is happy, she just gains more confidence. I suppose that I would say that Celeste is on the road to being happy, or at least as happy as a sixth/ going on seventh grader can be.
Here's a brief summary: Celeste describes herself as round. She has the figure of her father. It's a shape, just not the shape that she wants to be. In the beginning, she is stuck in a dressing room with a peach bridesmaid dress on. She is supposed to be in her cousin's wedding, but she looks terrible in the dress. After going through the embarrassment of showing the dress to her mom, aunt, cousin, and the dress clerk, another terrible thing happens, her aunt sees a flyer for a modeling challenge. After being disappointed that her own daughter was not what the company, HuskyPeach, would be looking for, she immediately turns to Celeste. Celeste fervently refuses to be involved, but behind her back, her aunt enters her in the contest anyways. From that point on, Celeste's life begins to change. She begins to lose her best friend to the meanest girl in school, she barfs on the PE teacher's shoes, and her parents really want her to go through with the challenge. The only way that Celeste can think to get out of the challenge is to begin losing weight. She begins Operation Skinny Celeste.
Celeste begins to make better choices in her eating and goes to the photo shoot and interview for the first round of the modeling challenge. At the modeling challenge, she meets some nice girls and finds out that she feels model beautiful after the stylist does her hair and make-up. However, after the photo shoot she has more bad luck. As the book continues, Celeste has something go wrong at every HuskyPeach event even though she is losing weight and gaining more confidence. She tells the bully of the school to get lost, doesn't put up with the way her so called best friend is treating her, and finds new friends that like her for who she is. All in all, she begins to finally feel comfortable in her own skin, minus about ten pounds of it.
As I mentioned before, I liked the story for the most part. There were some humorous parts and some that I could relate to from when I was a teenager. The quarrels between the school bully and Celeste were minor in comparison to what some people go through, or went through when they were an adolescent and the stand off between Celeste and the bully was less than exciting. Honestly, I think that there could have been a better way to end their quarrels that would have been more interesting or at least more of a life lesson type of thing. I personally don't advocate an eye for an eye when it comes to my middle school students. That usually makes quarrels worse instead of better. I really didn't like the fact that Celeste was only feeling better about herself when she was losing weight. I know that all of us feel better when we have lost some weight, but I think that there should be some comfort in knowing that she was beautiful with or without the weight. I think that there are more teens that need to know that they are beautiful instead of teens that need to know to lose weight. Don't we have enough of that already?
Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com
Cramming her not-so-skinny body into the Peach Monstrosity bridesmaid dress for her cousin's upcoming wedding is bad enough, but when Celeste Harris's Aunt Doreen secretly enters her in the HuskyPeach modeling contest, she knows something's gotta give.
After all, what thirteen-year-old girl wants to model fat girl clothes? The cruel insults her nemesis, Lively Carson, would throw at her would make the current taunts of "cow" and "pig" seem flattering by comparison.
In the face of overwhelming pressure from her parents to compete, coupled with the loss of her best friend to Lively's evil ploys, the only way out Celeste can see is by changing her diet and exercising until she's too small to be considered a HuskyPeach - because models don't eat chocolate cookies.
Erin Dionne's debut novel is one every teenage female should read. It's rare to read such an honest, straightforward narrative portraying the realities faced by teens who are "plus-sized." Celeste blossoms from a lost and uncertain little girl to a self-assured, assertive young lady with style and grace.
I think my favorite part of this book was Dionne's decision *not* to put Celeste through a radical body/personality makeover, but rather portrayed her as coming into strengths that were present from page one.
This is a fabulous book that should be on everyone's TBR list.