Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Published May 10, 2011 by Candlewick

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.

Young adults may find this book, originally published in 2003 and before the advent of smartphones, technologically quaint (teens write emails and speak to each other over the phone!). However, the voice of Virginia Shreves is still contemporary and spot-on, as she struggles to reconcile her body size, her best friend's move across the country, a potential romantic interest, and the recognition that other people may not be who they appear to be. The book also touches upon issues of eating disorders, self harm, and date rape, some more lightly than others. While the pacing is uneven (in the middle of the book, I wanted to shout, "I get it! Some people around her treat her really poorly!"), ultimately the novel ends on an uplifting note, and teens should find the narrative relatable and realistic.

Rating: 4 Stars

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