By: Jen Larsen
Available October 2015
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
This Blonde’s Review:
After so many books with main characters who aren’t comfortable with their looks we finally meet Ashley. She’s happy with who she is, even if she’s fat, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. Her life is going well in many ways. The biggest problem she has is her grandmother. Every year for Ashley’s birthday her grandmother’s gift to her is a bribe to lose weight. When her grandmother offers to pay tuition to Harvard, something she doesn’t think she can afford to do on her own, in exchange for weight loss surgery she’s at a loss. Every year she has refused without hesitation, but this year is harder. Harvard is her dream, is she willing to miss out on it?
I really enjoyed Ashley and her friends. I love that she wasn’t going to let other’s opinions of her hold her back, even if she wasn’t quite as comfortable and confident as she appeared. But she is smart, kind, and happy with herself even if she’s big. I loved her friends in the book, even the boyfriend that I couldn’t see her being with.
Ashley has to confront the things that really matter to her and what price she’s willing to pay. Will she risk Harvard to avoid weight loss surgery? Or will she compromise on how she sees herself to get the future she wants. I love that what it really comes down to isn’t whether you’re big or small but what is right for you. Ashley was happy with who she was but we were able to see where parts of it were bravado and where she doubted herself. Even knowing she was certain of who she was and that she wasn’t a character that hated her appearance it made her easier to relate to when you saw she has doubts about herself too.
If you enjoy reading about a character whose self image has always been more important than how the rest of the world sees her then you’ll want to read Ashley’s story and see how she handles her biggest temptation to compromise.