Some Girls are Bigger than Others

They say "fat is a feminist issue," and I believe it. Maybe especially for younger women—but I don't remember any teen novels about it from the old days, except Blubber (which is good but not told from the fat girl's POV) and apparently The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. Right now, however, there are at least two newish fat-girl YA books on the market, and I just read both of them. Big Fat Manifesto, by Susan Vaught, is the more serious of the two, while Nico Medina's Fat Hoochie Prom Queen takes a lighter, fluffier perspective of the issue (as perhaps indicated by its title).

Both stories are told from the perspective of overweight yet popular girls with gay BFF sidekicks.
Hoochie's Margarita "Madge" Diaz is a proud Latina; Jamie Carcaterra of Manifesto is white (at least I think so ... maybe Italian?) with a black boyfriend. Margarita's sister sews her up some sweet big-girl outfits, but Jamie's stuck shopping in the Dress Barn Woman-type shops for old ladies who love dressing up as blueberries. Overall, it seems Madge is more okay with her weight, and it's more incidental to her character. Jamie, on the other hand, has fatness at the front of her mind: she writes a column for the school newspaper all about it, and her aforementioned boyfriend, a big guy himself, is considering bariatric surgery. For all her outward confidence, she harbors a secret shame and won't even eat lunch in front of her friends at school. Whoa.

Even though it doesn't offer any easy answers, I'd say
Manifesto is a must-read for any teenage girl dealing with (over)weight issues. As kind of an aside, one of the best things I took away from it—from Jamie's column, actually—is the knowledge that Karl Lagerfeld is un grand morceau de merde. It seems he was not amused when H&M sold his designs in sizes larger than, like, 2 and 4. "What I designed is fashion for slim and slender people," he is quoted as saying. Too-tan jerk.

On the more fun side of things, you have
Hoochie, a book about two girls' competition to be elected prom queen, in a Bring It On kind-of way. Two thumbs up! But put one down if you're not cool with gratuitous teen drinking, even if the aforementioned teens weigh enough to hold their liquor.