Review: 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

45 PoundsSynopsis from Goodreads.
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up

I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for over a year and, you know what? I have absolutely no idea where I got it from. Well, OK, not where I got it from but where I heard about it. I have a sneaking feeling it was when I was browsing literary agents many moons ago and I fell upon K. A. Barson’s  but before I could query, I got distracted with how good the synopsis sounded.

So whether it was that or whether I just read a great review of it somewhere or, I fact, friendly little library elves recommended it to me while I was sleeping*, I managed to acquire it from somewhere.

But since I can’t remember why I acquired it, it’s probably a safe assumption to say that I don’t really know much about this book or the author. Which is a shame because, well, this book was really excellent.

Since coming back from travelling, I’ve been woefully out of the loop with what YA books are being published at the moment. I’ve done a bit of research so I can see what’s going on and it seems that there are a lot of darker YA books out there at the moment. OK, maybe not darker YA in the writing but definitely in the subject matter. There are a lot of books with subjects taken from headlines or subjects that aren’t usually written about for the teenage audience. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, because I’ll always love dark and interesting books.

But I’ll always be a sucker for heartfelt, hilarious and extremely positive YA books too.

45 Pounds (More or Less) is the debut book from K.A Barson that tells the story of Ann who is struggling with her weight and her body image. Ann was such a fresh and engaging narrator and the perfect one for a book like this that takes a humorous (read: not light hearted because some of this story was heartbreaking!) and honest look into not only a girl who’s trying to lose weight but also teenagers in general and all the social pressures we like to chuck on them.

I think my favourite thing about this book were the supporting characters, especially the gran because I will always be in favour of an awesome gran in YA books. The interactions between Ann and her family provided some genuine laugh-out-loud moments but also some really poignant ones that had me flashbacking all over the shop to my teenage years. And also, yay for supportive best friends! Why are they so rare nowadays?!

This book is for anyone who has ever gone into a shop and tried something on only to discover that it doesn’t fit. Or the people who have ever really, really wanted to get a fruit salad but decided it can wait until tomorrow because that chocolate cheesecake isn’t going to be there forever. It’s for everyone who has ever been on the receiving end of a back handed compliment, a passive aggressive aside, an overheard snide remark or just who has ever looked in the mirror and felt like shit. And this book is for the people who can see the funny side of things that aren’t always that funny.

It’s also for anyone who appreciates an extremely cute YA hero with dimples. Yup, that’s right, it’s for you. YOU.  Because who doesn’t appreciate a YA hero with dimples?

No one.

[Don’t worry, the boyo isn’t the reason she wants to lose weight in case you were wondering…!]

I really loved how K.A Barson approached this subject with humour, tact and occasionally-too-real-for-me-because-flashbacks-of-getting-stuck-in-a-dress-in-Topshop-because-big-boobs-are-not-your-friend-when-it-comes-to-fitted-dresses. It was honest and it was refreshing to read a book that addresses girls’ self-esteem, friendships, families that aren’t so perfect and everything else in between.

And the cover looks pretty sweet next to all the dark and moody YA books on my shelf.

*This probably wasn’t what happened.

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One thought on “Review: 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

  1. Jo, I’m so happy to see your lovely reviews back again! I know what you mean about all the darker themed books being around at the moment, and I have to agree with you I do prefer my light hearted fun books much more and of course who can resist a YA hero with dimples? Not me that’s for sure!

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