“Quick Pick” is a blog feature that makes it easy to pick your next book. It’s also a perfect way for librarians & other educators to learn about a book and who to recommend it to. Think of it as a condensed review highlighting a book’s major themes & why it’s worthy of a spot on your (or your student’s, library patron’s, or friend’s) TBR.
TO BE HONEST
Goodreads summary: “Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.”
I received an ARC of this book in a Fierce Reads giveaway. Thanks Fierce Reads!
- Fat positivity & body image: Savannah is fat and loves her body, despite her mom’s obsession with weightloss and dieting. Even though Savvy’s proud of her body, she still has insecurities just like every teen.
- Mental health: Savannah struggles with anxiety, and is also concerned for her mother’s mental health throughout the book after her mother returns from a weightloss reality show with obsessive dieting & eating behavior. Maggie Ann Martin addressed these topics realistically, without stigmatizing.
- Family: sisterhood, dealing with divorce, family acceptance, strained parent/child relationships. These were handled with honesty, and wove together perfectly.
- Friends-to-romance: George starts out as a silly, fun, sweet study buddy but ~feelings~ happen. Their romance felt natural and real.
- Feminism & gender equality: a subplot revolves around Savannah trying to expose sexism in her high school’s treatment of their athletic teams. Although not a huge part of the plot, fighting for equality is important to the protagonist.
- Funny, relatable, and authentic main character (see more about why I love Savannah below!)
- Fat rep on the page & on the cover
- Discussed watching a parent struggle with mental health, and how this affects teens. We need more YA books about this!
- Savannah has a sweet, wonderful dog and she & her family treat him like a member of the family. I love when authors treat animals as actual characters!
- Savannah’s older sister is gay and it is not treated as a big deal. Ashley is written as queer from the very beginning and there are no dramatic coming out plotlines. She’s just Savvy’s sister, who happens to be queer.
- George is a sweet, caring, and sensitive love interest. He’s dorky, adorable, and very crush-worthy.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE SAVANNAH
- She’s a fat-positive main character, but she still has doubts, fears, and insecurities about her body, like a real person.
- She fiercely loves her family, even when she’s mad at them or they’ve hurt her
- She’s an ally to her older queer sister
- She’s ambitious and passionate about journalism and she’ll follow a tough lead if she knows the story matters
- She’s outraged when she discovers sexist treatment of the athletic teams at her high school and won’t rest until she’s exposed the truth
PERFECT FOR READERS WHO…
- Want a feminist, fat positive main character
- Enjoy fluffy, sweet, and light contemporary romances
- Like reading about complicated family relationships & dynamics
- Appreciate well-developed, authentic characters with passions, aspirations, and doubts
- Are looking for realistic depictions of coping with anxiety
AND FOR FANS OF
Let me know if you read & loved “To Be Honest”!