Welcome to stop for the blog tour Fat Chance, Charlie Vega hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours. I was excited to see they were doing another book tour for Puerto Rican’s author because I don’t see them often. I don’t usually read contemporary books but this interested me and I wanted to read what it was about and I am glad I did.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega
By: Crystal Maldonado
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: YA Fiction
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometime have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom, Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with a cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing — he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now official a MESS.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE Vega (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.
By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyonce, shopping, the internet, and being extra. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Growing up as brown, glass wearing girl, I would have loved to have a book that the main character represented me in the story. I was not fat growing up but I did relate to how Charlie felt when her mom would nag her about her weight and make comments that were hurtful. My grandma (loved her) would always make comments about my weight and about how big my butt and hips were which she would always say that I needed to try harder to lose more weight. She didn’t just do it to me, she would do it to her daughters, cousins and she even did it to my 5 years son at the time. That is when I finally told her that she needed to keep her remarks to herself and that she needed to look in mirror when remarking on anyone being fat. It is the reason why my mom had ED growing up because her mom (grandma) would make those comments to her constantly and it is the reason why my mom didn’t do it to me and my sister growing up.
One of the other areas that I related to Charlie when it came to her self-esteem, even though I was not overweight I still struggle with how my appearance was and how kids would bully me because I was brown, had glasses, didn’t dress well and was a complete nerdy tomboy growing up. I was a really introvert person who would shy away from people because I didn’t want see them pass judgement about me without even getting to know me first. Middle Grade was the worse but when I went to Catholic high school where we all had to wear uniforms and I was finally attending a school where my cousin/best friend was going too, I started to feel a lot more confident about myself and started to realize that I didn’t need to be just like everyone. I started to realize that being different is ok and being unique was great and I kept that mindset as an adult.
I did have a great relationships with my cousins compare to Charlie, I always looking forward to getting together and having parties with them. It was the highlights of growing up for me and especially look forward to summers because we always had my family gatherings. Also, I miss my mom’s making Puerto Rican food and me eating it. It is something that regret that I never learn her recipes.
This book is great and I would definitely recommend it brown girls that are struggling with their weight, their self-esteem and struggling with their relationship with their parents to pick up this book because it will give the encouragement to not only be yourself but to accept yourself for being who you are met to be.
I really loved Charlie Vega and the rest of characters but I didn’t really care much for her mom because she reminded me to much of how my grandma would make comments about weight, it brought back some memories that I had forgotten about.
I am looking forward to seeing what other books that Crystal Maldonado brings to us.
“I’ve seen what’s it like to be a true outcast, and I just don’t want to give anyone ammunition to make that my reality, so I only let them know a perfectly controlled version of me and my life.”
“What I mean is a book specifically about a fat Puerto Rican girl with glasses. I’ve never once read a story about one, and something about that has always made me feel devastatingly alone.”
“I think about my body, about all of its imperfections, and I don’t necessarily see beauty. Yet. But I’m working on it.”