Written by: Kelsie Stetling
Reviewed by: Mary Warren
Rory has struggled with her weight her whole life. She finally discovers why when a doctor diagnoses her with PCOS, a hormonal issue that makes losing weight exceptionally hard. Shortly after learning this, her bully, a cheerleader named Merritt, insinuates that she just needs to try harder to lose weight. On this particular day, Rory is done. She snaps back. One thing leads to another, and she ends up betting that she will be able to get the quarterback of the football team to ask her to homecoming.
The story of the bet is a high school rom com staple. Stelting follows that tale beautifully. Rory and Becket are easy to root for and fall in love with. In them, we see two kindred spirits who want to be more than they are expected to be. We also see struggles with parents and friends. Full disclosure, some of the trauma and bullying in this book is hard to read, in the mother-daughter relationship especially. It is heartbreaking to me when mothers can be so callous about their daughters’ bodies.
But in the end, Rory does find her voice. She gets the guy. She gets a supportive friend group, and she finds belonging. Stelting tells the story about the struggle for self love and acceptance in a way that feels familiar and timeless. Retelling this story with a fat body adds an element that will be comforting to those young readers who have seen this story with girls who merely needed to remove their glasses and put on make-up to get their happily ever after. Such a change will never be that easy for a girl with a bigger body, but this book says that’s ok; it’s not about the change. It’s about loving yourself and finding people who will love you just the way you are, because those people are out there if you are willing to make yourself