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The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

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Carson, R. (2011). The girl of fire and thorns. New York: Greenwillow Books. ISBN: 9780062026484

Annotation: Elisa is God’s Chosen One. She is also a terrible princess, fat, and married for political alliance. When she is kidnapped by zealots, she has to figure out how she can help save the kingdom.

Reaction: I really enjoyed this book, and Elisa has a great voice. I love how frank she is and how determined she is to become a good queen. Carson does a great job of showing the atransformation Elisa goes through to become a leader, and though she does go through a physical change, the biggest changes are mental and start even before her appearance changes.

And while there is some aspect of romance in the story, it is almost incidental to the rest of the plot. I was a bit concerned when Carson seemed to be setting up a love triangle, but let me tell you, she took care of that in the most shocking way I’ve ever seen.

I want to read the rest of the series, and I hope that they are as enjoyable as this one.

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Teenage Waistland by Lynn Biederman & Lisa Pazer

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Biederman, L., & Pazer, L. (2010). Teenage waistland. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN: 9780385739214

Annotation: When four teenagers apply to be part of a clinical trial for the lap-band weight loss surgery, they are thrust together and help each other come to terms with the deeper reasons behind their obesity.

Reaction: This book was super engrossing from the first chapter; my husband had to actually pry it from my fingers so I’d go do some homework. This is not normally the type of book I check out from the library, as I read primarily fantasy, but as a person who deals with weight issues, I am always interested in “fat stories.” These teens are considered morbidly obese, according to their BMI, and they are all looking for a way to lose the weight and experience what they think regular teenage life is supposed to like.

To the characters in this book, their surgery initially seems like an easy way to change their lives, but, thanks to mandatory group therapy sessions, they begin to realize their weight issues run much deeper than fat. After tragedy strikes a couple members of the group, they all begin to look more deeply about why they gained all the weight in the first place.

I will admit, that towards the end of the book, the story gets a little sappy and touchy feely as the teens all deal with the psychological issues behind their weight gain, but I sat down and finished it in probably less than twelve hours. The story is told from three different third person limited view points, and each of the characters is compelling, but I was particularly interested in the drama of East’s life, which kept me reading to find out what happens to her and Char.

Author’s Website: None