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Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

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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 sometimes 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 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 sometimes 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 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 officially 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.


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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 sometimes 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 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 sometimes 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 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 officially 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.

30 review for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Hello I am crying this book was EVERYTHING. I loved it so damn much and related sooooo hard to everything that Charlie went through and I just want to give her (and high school Chelsea, tbh) the biggest hug. I cannot wait!!!! to read more from Crystal Maldonado in the future. What a fantastic debut! Also, unrelated to the actual content of the story but demands to be said: this is my absolute favorite cover of 2021 and I will NEVER BE OVER IT. SO GOOD! CW: fatphobia, dieting, toxic mother/daughte Hello I am crying this book was EVERYTHING. I loved it so damn much and related sooooo hard to everything that Charlie went through and I just want to give her (and high school Chelsea, tbh) the biggest hug. I cannot wait!!!! to read more from Crystal Maldonado in the future. What a fantastic debut! Also, unrelated to the actual content of the story but demands to be said: this is my absolute favorite cover of 2021 and I will NEVER BE OVER IT. SO GOOD! CW: fatphobia, dieting, toxic mother/daughter relationships, death of a parent

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    This book was cute, it’s a really soft YA contemporary about learning how to be happy in your own body. I think this book has a really important message for young adults, but some of this book just fell flat for me. Charlie could be so naive at times it would have me rolling my eyes, but that’s probably just a me problem since this book is intended for young adults. I guess I was just a bit underwhelmed by the end of it, I just wanted more from this story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    — Massiel

    Okay but... Why do I feel so powerful just by looking that cover?? I can't wait to read this 😍✨ Okay but... Why do I feel so powerful just by looking that cover?? I can't wait to read this 😍✨

  4. 5 out of 5

    sol

    ARE YOU SEEING THIS COVER? jesus christ. I LOVE WOMEN.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

    I love this cover. I love this title. I love this synopsis. 2021 needs to come and save us from the mess of 2020 and this book is the first step to recovery!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dayla

    TW: Fat Shaming, Gaslighting I absolutely loved this book, not just because of the amazing representation, but because I saw myself in Charlie. I grew up as the fat friend. I lost my father when I was young and grew up with a mom who didn’t always say the right thing about my size. My mom and I are in a much healthier place now, but seeing Charlie experience the feelings she does brought back a lot of memories and endeared her to me in ways I can’t ever explain. Her relationship with her best frie TW: Fat Shaming, Gaslighting I absolutely loved this book, not just because of the amazing representation, but because I saw myself in Charlie. I grew up as the fat friend. I lost my father when I was young and grew up with a mom who didn’t always say the right thing about my size. My mom and I are in a much healthier place now, but seeing Charlie experience the feelings she does brought back a lot of memories and endeared her to me in ways I can’t ever explain. Her relationship with her best friend was, in my opinion, the centre point of this story. Yes, her mother obviously had a huge impact on the story and so did the romance, but ultimately I think this is a story about the power of friendship and perspective. No one is perfect and just because we see things through our eyes, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other perspectives. And while Charlie’s experiences sometimes are heartbreaking, she is a young woman on the incredibly tough journey of learning how to love herself. I love YA books that feature realistic friendships and don’t sugarcoat the realities of what it is sometimes like to be the “fat friend”. I think this author captured those insecurities mixed with the love between these two friends beautifully. This book also features great representation for LGBTQ+ (Her best friend is Pan and it is actually mentioned in the book!!), there are BIPOC characters, and important discussions regarding fat phobia, the toxicity of diet culture, and the common misconception that fat automatically equals unattractiveness are explored. If you love books with Latina characters who have strong opinions and have great character growths, then I think you’ll enjoy this one. Also, if you like imperfect friendships and really cute romances, then you might also love this one like I did! Happy reading!

  7. 5 out of 5

    pauline

    4.5 ⭐️ pls check back tomorrow for the review bc my brain is fried 🤪 -----UPDATE----- THIS BOOK IS SO SWEET!! a great book not only for body positivity, but also for the internal struggle girls face--Charlie often compares herself to her best friend, Amelia, because they're two different sizes. Charlie is plus-size and Amelia is on the skinnier side. Amelia gets all of the attention and Charlie feels like she blends into the wall. Amelia is popular and has a ton of friends while Charlie's the one wh 4.5 ⭐️ pls check back tomorrow for the review bc my brain is fried 🤪 -----UPDATE----- THIS BOOK IS SO SWEET!! a great book not only for body positivity, but also for the internal struggle girls face--Charlie often compares herself to her best friend, Amelia, because they're two different sizes. Charlie is plus-size and Amelia is on the skinnier side. Amelia gets all of the attention and Charlie feels like she blends into the wall. Amelia is popular and has a ton of friends while Charlie's the one who gets pointed at and bullied. I absolutely LOVEDDDD the representation here!! and the book overall read quickly and it was so sweet and touching and light despite what it covered. She has a difficult relationship with her mom, which I feel like almost everyone has gone through at some point (I definitely have), and it certainly doesn't help that her mom pushes this idea of how being skinny will solve all of Charlie's problems. Charlie nips that shit in the bud and I love it. this reads very YA--there's romance here (Brian is the SWEETEST) and just a lot of great messages for young girls overall. Some of the writing was a hit-or-miss for me; this has a lot of modern references, which I don't tend to gravitate towards. Do you need to read this? YES GO GO GO

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    How this book left me simultaneously GUTTED and GRINNING so hard my jaw is still aching I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. Seriously. This book is my personality, all my fears and dreams and hopes wrapped into one and I kinda wanna sue the author for making me EMOTE when I'm supposed to be a fierce, fabulous ice queen but I can't because I need ALL OF MALDONADO'S FUTURE BOOKS RIGHT THE F NOW. I just. gah. I beg of you, read this book. You won't regret it. Charlie Vega will steal your heart and you'll end up How this book left me simultaneously GUTTED and GRINNING so hard my jaw is still aching I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND. Seriously. This book is my personality, all my fears and dreams and hopes wrapped into one and I kinda wanna sue the author for making me EMOTE when I'm supposed to be a fierce, fabulous ice queen but I can't because I need ALL OF MALDONADO'S FUTURE BOOKS RIGHT THE F NOW. I just. gah. I beg of you, read this book. You won't regret it. Charlie Vega will steal your heart and you'll end up thanking her.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was very interested to read this new YA novel. I wanted to love Charlie Vega and her story with all my heart, but some parts of it just fell flat to me. Charlie is a smart, caring, strong-willed, and confident girl who truly has a lot to deal with. At home things with her mother seem to be very difficult, the two are drifting apart due to several reasons. Her mother is constantly making remarks The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was very interested to read this new YA novel. I wanted to love Charlie Vega and her story with all my heart, but some parts of it just fell flat to me. Charlie is a smart, caring, strong-willed, and confident girl who truly has a lot to deal with. At home things with her mother seem to be very difficult, the two are drifting apart due to several reasons. Her mother is constantly making remarks about Charlie's weight and this aspect of her home life is understandably proving quite difficult to deal with. I really appreciated how confident Charlie is with her body and that she had the strength to not listen to her mother's insensitive and stupid comments. Someone Charlie can find solace in is her best friend Amelia, who's always there to support Charlie. I really enjoyed their relationship, it wasn't always sunshine and rainbows and that's what I liked about it, it felt realistic. But let's also talk about Charlie's relationship with Brian, the first boy who makes her feel truly seen and makes her heart flutter. He was cute and caring, but I thought their relationship was just okay in the end. It's a good story and I can totally see how it would appeal to lots of people, but in the end it just didn't blow me away as I was hoping.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Oyinda

    Book 73 of 2021 and my first read of March, 2021 I loved this book a lot and it's such an amazing, important, and beautiful book. Lots of serious issues are discussed here, and it's done in a serious tone, but still written in language that's perfect for YA readers. TW for fatphobia from family and strangers This was such a cute and important book. An anticipated book that loved up to all my expectations, I'm glad this was what I started my March with! Charlie Vega is a 17year old fat Latina in hig Book 73 of 2021 and my first read of March, 2021 I loved this book a lot and it's such an amazing, important, and beautiful book. Lots of serious issues are discussed here, and it's done in a serious tone, but still written in language that's perfect for YA readers. TW for fatphobia from family and strangers This was such a cute and important book. An anticipated book that loved up to all my expectations, I'm glad this was what I started my March with! Charlie Vega is a 17year old fat Latina in high school, dealing with a lot of internal and external issues. It's just her and her mom, following her dad's death (long before the events of the book). Her mom recently lost a lot of weight and became thin, so she expects the same of Charlie. She tries to force a "healthy" lifestyle on Charlie, change her diet, etc. She also openly shows her preference of Charlie's thin best friend Amelia. Amelia is a black pansexual girl who's Charlie's best friend. To Charlie, Amelia is everything she's not - thin, hot, and desirable. Charlie has a lot of internalized issues that cause her to compare herself to Amelia a lot. Charlie tries her best to love herself and be comfortable in her own body. She's a feminist and follows a lot of body positivity insta accounts. She loves their ideals and tries to imbibe them in herself, but it's hard to with a mother like hers. This book is great on representation and diversity. I loved that it talked about a lot of very important issues, and that the author does this expertly through a YA gaze. Family, love, friendship, self love and acceptance are some of the themes of this book. I really enjoyed the romance in this one, and the love interest, Brian. Brian is a Korean boy with lesbian mothers, and he's an amazing fit for Charlie. This, overall, is an amazing book that I highly recommend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather~ Nature.books.and.coffee

    Ok so I'm not a huge YA reader, but every now and then I'll pick it up for a change of pace. I really enjoyed this book! 4.5⭐ for me! Charlie is 16 going on 17, she's an overweight brown girl living in the white Connecticut suburbs. She lost her father a few years ago, and her mother is all about getting skinny, and they argue all the time. Her best friend Amelia is beautiful and perfect. Amelia is such a great friend to her though. Charlie is very self conscious about her weight and always feels Ok so I'm not a huge YA reader, but every now and then I'll pick it up for a change of pace. I really enjoyed this book! 4.5⭐ for me! Charlie is 16 going on 17, she's an overweight brown girl living in the white Connecticut suburbs. She lost her father a few years ago, and her mother is all about getting skinny, and they argue all the time. Her best friend Amelia is beautiful and perfect. Amelia is such a great friend to her though. Charlie is very self conscious about her weight and always feels inferior to her skinnier friends. When Charlie starts talking to Brian, her high school classmate who also works with her, they definitely feel a connection. He's such a great character, a really sweet guy. Charlie is so happy, but can things possibly go this well for her?! You'll have to read to find out. Let me say, this book is a very light, contemporary YA. It's an easy read! It's a good book to just escape to, kinda brings you back to those younger days! I thought the friendships and relationships were pretty realistic, and I liked seeing Charlie grow throughout the book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pavitra (For The Love of Fictional Worlds)

    Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via the Publisher and Edelweiss Plus in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own. This contemporary YA novel was EXACTLY what I didn’t even know I needed to de - stress with everything that’s been going on! So many amazing and important themes explored in this light breezy contemporary YA novel - weight issues, anxiety and self esteem issues that result when one isn’t conforming to the “soc Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via the Publisher and Edelweiss Plus in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own. This contemporary YA novel was EXACTLY what I didn’t even know I needed to de - stress with everything that’s been going on! So many amazing and important themes explored in this light breezy contemporary YA novel - weight issues, anxiety and self esteem issues that result when one isn’t conforming to the “societal’s normal” standards as well issues of jealousy and friendship- that will not only resonate with many of its readers (no matter what their age maybe!) but also leave you with a sense of being recognised and seen. And trust me, that is a powerful feeling! Charlie is an exuberant young teenager with a zest for life that she tries really hard to not let go of - even if everywhere she turns, from her mother to her best friend, she is faced with the fact that she doesn’t exactly adhere to society standards of “beautiful” - that somehow she isn’t enough just by herself. Charlie’s feelings and anxiety as well as fears leaps out of the page - and it becomes highly effective in pulling the reader to empathise with Charlie from the get go. As a once overweight teenager and now an adult myself, the feelings, the self esteem issues feel like a mirror is held to my own - the author has done an amazingly wonderful job of putting across the emotions felt by the protagonist in a way that becomes easy to relate and empathise with. As for the plot, since this book is part of the YA genre; you can expect a little over the top drama as well as some cheesy cliches, but in the end, it is the representation of sapphic character, and the breeziness of the plot while maintaining the seriousness of the issues faced by the MC that makes for a read that would definitely be liked by many! For more reviews visit For The Love of Fictional Worlds :) Do come join us at For The Fictional Worlds Facebook Page | Twitter | Instagram  | Goodreads  | Amazon |

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    I'm torn on this because I liked a lot of this book, but I wanted a lot more from it too. Charlie is a great character and really gets to go through a lot of growth and self acceptance through the story. But I didn't feel like I go to go through it with her. There's a lot of drama, insecurities, and conflict in the story between Charlie and her mom especially, but all the development and resolutions felt weaker and a bit rushed. I think the balance of the story was off for me, so that's why I wa I'm torn on this because I liked a lot of this book, but I wanted a lot more from it too. Charlie is a great character and really gets to go through a lot of growth and self acceptance through the story. But I didn't feel like I go to go through it with her. There's a lot of drama, insecurities, and conflict in the story between Charlie and her mom especially, but all the development and resolutions felt weaker and a bit rushed. I think the balance of the story was off for me, so that's why I was a little let down. But this was still a nice story overall, and Charlie and Brian were very cute. I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

    If this story wasn't about me...This book was sweet, honest, and oh, so relatable. From page one, I was nodding along and laughing at how much I related to Charlie and what she felt/was going through. I remember having so many similar feelings about myself, my love life, and my body during the formidable high school years. It was so nice to see those thoughts and feelings penned on paper and worked through by a fictional character. I think the reliability and honesty of this book is what initiall If this story wasn't about me...This book was sweet, honest, and oh, so relatable. From page one, I was nodding along and laughing at how much I related to Charlie and what she felt/was going through. I remember having so many similar feelings about myself, my love life, and my body during the formidable high school years. It was so nice to see those thoughts and feelings penned on paper and worked through by a fictional character. I think the reliability and honesty of this book is what initially made me love it so much. I also really loved how the characters weren't perfect. Even sweet, sweet Brian, Charlie's love interest, did things wrong. In fact, there was a scene in this book that talked about how imperfect some of the characters were and how that was totally okay! It made the characters feel real and made the story that much more vulnerable and honest. Charlie was a great character to experience this story through. She had a lot of insecurities that she has to work through throughout the story and they're put front and center stage throughout the book. She never felt pretty enough, skinny enough, outgoing enough, etc. She was someone who had built up a touch exterior on herself because of the things she had been told and heard growing up. But, she had so much strength through it all. The character development and growth in Charlie is truly one of the best parts of this book. The lady she becomes is still not perfect, but admirable and someone who's trying. I also really loved Brian. He was the sweetest guy ever and accepted Charlie for everything she was and wasn't. He had insecurities and things he feared about the world and their relationship, but he was willing to put himself out there anyway. His relationship with Charlie is fun and exciting and I'm so glad Brian was apart of this story! Something that keep me from giving this book 5 stars was the pacing of this book. The beginning was a little slow and I couldn't really figure out what the end goal was. I recognize that there were lots of things that happened at the beginning that were important to the storyline, but I think the pace could have been picked up a little. As well, as I mentioned, I couldn't figure out the end goal of the book. I think vaguely, the goal was for Charlie to see her self worth and work through the relationships she's presented with, but that was kinda it. I wish there would have been something more tangible here. Overall, I enjoyed this candid and touching book about loving yourself and finding the courage to love others. Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog • Instagram • Twitter

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn DeRouin

    Read the full review here: https://teatimelit.com/2021/02/10/blo... From the second I started Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and saw that in her dedication, author Crystal Maldonado wrote, “to every Fat brown girl out there – I see you”, I knew that this book would be special to me. I found Fat Chance, Charlie Vega incredibly moving. In fact, 5 pages in I sent a text to Mary and Cossette that simply said, “Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is already making me very emotional and I’m like 5 pages in” Charlie Vega Read the full review here: https://teatimelit.com/2021/02/10/blo... From the second I started Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and saw that in her dedication, author Crystal Maldonado wrote, “to every Fat brown girl out there – I see you”, I knew that this book would be special to me. I found Fat Chance, Charlie Vega incredibly moving. In fact, 5 pages in I sent a text to Mary and Cossette that simply said, “Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is already making me very emotional and I’m like 5 pages in” Charlie Vega is a character that feels so real to me. I see some of myself in her; I see bits of people that I’ve known in her. Because of that, I felt an immediate connection to her. Though there were times where I didn’t agree with her choices, I still understood how she got there. I’ve felt some of those fears before. I’ve had some of those thoughts before. She simply made sense to me, and I loved that. She felt relatable and honest and real and because of those things, I found myself fully immersed in her story. While there is a romantic storyline (Brian is precious and I love him), the real focus was on Charlie and her journey of self-discovery and learning to love herself. It was a continuous battle for her, as it is for any of us, and I loved to see how she grew throughout the story. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega was the book that I needed as a teenager. It’s not easy being a fat/plus-sized girl in the society we live in. We so rarely see ourselves represented in a positive light or in a way that is not the butt of the joke. Media that paints us in a good light was and is still few and far between. While I wish I had this book when I was younger, I’m so glad that it exists now and that Crystal Maldonado wrote this story and this character to remind girls (and boys) everywhere that they are beautiful no matter what their size.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tomes And Textiles

    This one releases soon and I'm wondering why you don't have it on your TBR yet. Will post the full review soon. This one releases soon and I'm wondering why you don't have it on your TBR yet. Will post the full review soon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    ↠ 4 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing this arc for reviewing purposes. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega was exactly the kind of insightful and thought provoking read I needed to close off my July. There were so many important themes explored within this story and I enjoyed it all the more knowing that the author was speaking from her own experiences by way of this character. The storyline and plot were really a testament to high school and that period of time where we all strug ↠ 4 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing this arc for reviewing purposes. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega was exactly the kind of insightful and thought provoking read I needed to close off my July. There were so many important themes explored within this story and I enjoyed it all the more knowing that the author was speaking from her own experiences by way of this character. The storyline and plot were really a testament to high school and that period of time where we all struggle with our identities and strive for authenticity. In certain parts, however, the story felt a little slow for me, and I would have loved if the pace had picked up a bit. I also would have liked a deeper conversation to happen between Charlie and her mother. It felt like any inevitable confrontation between the two of them was overshadowed by the romance between Charlie and her love interest. Given that so much time was taken to show the different sides of their mother daughter relationship, it needed a certain type of closure beyond what was given. Besides that, this book was really stimulating and got me thinking about a lot of different things. Give this a try if that's something you're interested in.

  18. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler Readers, it’s been days since I’ve finished Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and my jaw is still aching from the amount of times I grinned but also cried while reading this book. So, let’s get into the review and let me convince you why you need the best debut I’ve read since Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue in your life. First of all, in this novel we follow Charlie Vega, who is a lot of things – smart, brown, funny, a writer of b Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Mimi Koehler Readers, it’s been days since I’ve finished Fat Chance, Charlie Vega and my jaw is still aching from the amount of times I grinned but also cried while reading this book. So, let’s get into the review and let me convince you why you need the best debut I’ve read since Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue in your life. First of all, in this novel we follow Charlie Vega, who is a lot of things – smart, brown, funny, a writer of beautiful stories, ambitious, and fat. And people often seem to focus on that last part of Charlie’s identity, especially her mother. While Charlie is working hard to be positive about her body, it’s hard to keep up spirits when your own mother tells you to lose weight every single day. To Charlie, it seems that everyone in the world thinks they have the privilege of telling her what she needs to be: thinner, lighter, straighter-haired, quieter. Thankfully though, Charlie has a best friend who’s always in her corner: Amelia. But even that relationship comes with feeling second-best most of the time. So when Charlie finally finds a guy she likes and who seems to like her back, everything seems to come up Vega. Until a secret from the past threatens to destroy everything Charlie and her new boo have worked so hard for… Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  19. 4 out of 5

    bella

    4.5 stars! I adored this book so very much. Thanks to my Storyseekers anon for recommending it to me! tw: fatphobia, mentioned death of a parent, mentions of sex, underage drinking, strained relationship with a parent, toxic diet culture, emotional abuse + manipulation, racism

  20. 5 out of 5

    lola :D

    a bit cheesy and juvenile for my taste but also really sweet and truthful and just...needed?

  21. 4 out of 5

    zaira

    tw: body shaming YA books like this are the perfect kind to have me feeling giddy. This book said: validation should come from inside you and not from those around you!! Charlie is such a wonderful character. She has so much self-awareness even though she’s 17 and still working through things. Her path to being kinder & loving herself is so so so admirable. She has a complicated relationship with her mom. A lot of things her mom says are totally Not Okay and can be triggering for some (restrictive tw: body shaming YA books like this are the perfect kind to have me feeling giddy. This book said: validation should come from inside you and not from those around you!! Charlie is such a wonderful character. She has so much self-awareness even though she’s 17 and still working through things. Her path to being kinder & loving herself is so so so admirable. She has a complicated relationship with her mom. A lot of things her mom says are totally Not Okay and can be triggering for some (restrictive eating, body shaming). Though I appreciate that the story didn’t create a scenario where suddenly everything is okay because that kind of relationship really can’t easily be “fixed”. I also loved Charlie and Amelia’s friendship. It’s is so pure and I’m glad Charlie had someone like her to rely on. Amelia is such a great character too tbh!!! The romance is also verrryyy cute, the love interest is so sweet and genuine.

  22. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: fatphobia, restrictive eating of a side character Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is an entertaining, hilarious, and heartfelt debut. I ended up reading this one in about a day because I was so captviated. Not only is Charlie incredibly relatable, but she is so endearing. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a multi-faceted debut. Featuring conversations about Charlie's biracial identity, the way (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: fatphobia, restrictive eating of a side character Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is an entertaining, hilarious, and heartfelt debut. I ended up reading this one in about a day because I was so captviated. Not only is Charlie incredibly relatable, but she is so endearing. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a multi-faceted debut. Featuring conversations about Charlie's biracial identity, the ways her mother is trying to change Charlie's weight, and the ways our fears can hold us back, this story delivers a range of emotions. Charlie wears her heart of her sleeve. At the heart of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is that relatable fear we have of being picked second. Of being someone's last resort. Charlie's own feelings are only complicated by the fact that she always feels like she's coming up second best to her best friend Amelia. To everyone. One of the strongest part of the story was the friendship between Amelia and Charlie. Not only was it endearing and hilarious, but the tensions and that unwary feelings of resentment were relatable. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    A quiet, lower-stakes YA that gives a glimpse into the life of a fat brown girl living in the suburbs as she navigates accepting herself as she is with the pressures from her mother and greater society to shrink herself down or see herself as always second best. Charlie's best friend Amelia is a pansexual black girl, while Brian is Korean. The theme of finding one's voice here is great, and Charlie's writing works well without overtaking the story. What she really wants is to have her first kiss A quiet, lower-stakes YA that gives a glimpse into the life of a fat brown girl living in the suburbs as she navigates accepting herself as she is with the pressures from her mother and greater society to shrink herself down or see herself as always second best. Charlie's best friend Amelia is a pansexual black girl, while Brian is Korean. The theme of finding one's voice here is great, and Charlie's writing works well without overtaking the story. What she really wants is to have her first kiss and accept herself; on the way to both, she'll have stumbling blocks and as someone who grew up fat and feeling so many of these feelings, her observations and astute understanding of being in that space between what she deeply believes and what she's told she should believe ring so, so true. One of the best fat girl YAs I've read, and that it's deeply intersectional is a huge boon. This is a romance, so you'll get to see a happily ever after, too. And in no way does Charlie sacrifice who she is for it. In fact, she really leans into who she truly is and gets to revel in it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    This was a fun read. It was a bit clunky at points. I can definitely tell it's a debut novel. But the emotional resonance of the characters was strong, and the tone was casual and quirky in a fun way. I have 2 main criticisms: 1. There was a lot of telling, where there should have been showing. Things would sometimes be blatantly spelled out in a way that a person, especially a teenager would not naturally think. (I haven't been a teenager for a while so I can't be totally sure of how different This was a fun read. It was a bit clunky at points. I can definitely tell it's a debut novel. But the emotional resonance of the characters was strong, and the tone was casual and quirky in a fun way. I have 2 main criticisms: 1. There was a lot of telling, where there should have been showing. Things would sometimes be blatantly spelled out in a way that a person, especially a teenager would not naturally think. (I haven't been a teenager for a while so I can't be totally sure of how different they are, but still) They were not bad observations, but given that this book is in first person from Charlie's perspective, they felt out of place. There would be long passages that were expository in the way a narrator would describe the situation. The book is also in present tense, so some of these very lengthy outsider perspective diatribes on self-worth, image, resentment, etc. felt too planned out. Like what an adult would think while reflecting back on these moments, not how a teenager would think about the situation in the moment it's happening. Also sometimes a scene would be a play by play of what every person said even when it wasn't important to the story. A few lessons in school with every part of a debate over a project. Gossip about someone in school that is not ever introduced as a character. Complete retellings of childhood incidents, just to demonstrate that characters do in fact have a history together. Gushing about specific shows or movies that the reader has definitely heard of. Some of this is forgivable to an extent. Kids do talk about these things. But they often just got too much attention and halted the story. 2. The story is not quite what the synopsis sells it as. In fact, I would say that the synopsis is a spoiler. The point of conflict I was sold the book on is actually the big reveal/problem leading to the darkest hour in the final act. It kind of sucks that I knew it was coming, so when it happened and is supposed to be a sucker punch for Charlie, it had very little impact. I thought that reveal would be the end of act 1 and most of the story would be Charlie's reaction to it. In actuality this book is similar to Ladybird (which is probably why it is purposely included in the story) in that it's a personal look at the trials and tribulations of this young girl and her relationships with friends, family, and romance. It was good at being that, but not what was necessarily advertised. I liked Ladybird, and I liked this book. I have to say though, that the conclusion to these relationship issues is not fully satisfying. For as much emphasis is put on how messed up her relationship with her mother is, it is never resolved. That really bothered me. I did not need a clean resolution. The story points out that life is rarely that clean. But it needed to be properly addressed. Slight spoilers: (view spoiler)[Throughout the book several characters point out that the way Charlie's mother talks to her is unacceptable. But her mother never acknowledges this. For as much as Charlie apologizes to everyone, and friends and family and significant others all apologize when they understand that they've hurt each other, her mother never does. Not once does Charlie's mother ever apologize to her. Or take real responsibility for anything she does or any of the hurt she causes her daughter. She sarcastically/passive aggressively apologizes once. She admits that she "might have been harsh" once. But she never fixes anything, repents for anything, or truly expresses to her daughter that she is sorry for anything. The situation gets no resolution. (hide spoiler)] These 2 things were definitely problems, but like I said the emotions were very true and the story was personal and relatable. It was a good first outing for Maldonado as an author. I'm glad I read this book. I think her next book will be more polished. I look forward to it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lea (drumsofautumn)

    What an absolutely incredible read with so many themes and topics that got unpacked SO very well. Flawed characters that were easy to relate to. I LOVED IT! Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter What an absolutely incredible read with so many themes and topics that got unpacked SO very well. Flawed characters that were easy to relate to. I LOVED IT! Instagram | Blog | Booktube Channel | Twitter

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angie Sanchez

    This book is equally cute and important. I wish I had it around when I was 16 🥺

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caro | sanjariti

    This review will not be coherent because my heart and soul have been both destroyed and healed by Crystal and Charlie 😭😭😭😭😭😭 What I would GIVE to go back to 2015 and give this book to 15 year old me. What I would GIVE. I needed this book all those years ago, when I hated every inch of my body, every part of me, every single thing. When I thought I would never know what love was, because I thought “who could possibly love someone as fat and ugly as me?” “Who would ever choose ME?” When I had been This review will not be coherent because my heart and soul have been both destroyed and healed by Crystal and Charlie 😭😭😭😭😭😭 What I would GIVE to go back to 2015 and give this book to 15 year old me. What I would GIVE. I needed this book all those years ago, when I hated every inch of my body, every part of me, every single thing. When I thought I would never know what love was, because I thought “who could possibly love someone as fat and ugly as me?” “Who would ever choose ME?” When I had been used by countless different guys to get to my prettier, skinnier, whiter friends. When I thought if I did and gave them MY ALL, they would choose me. I need this book now, too. When my mother tells me to stop eating shit and to lose some weight; when she complements me because I seem thinner, and that now I am more beautiful because of it. I need it now, when I still think that I am too fat for pretty clothes. When I stare at myself in the mirror and poke at my stomach; pinch the skin of my thighs, wishing they were smaller. Scratching at my hips because I wish they weren’t so wide. That they weren’t so “there”. Crystal, I will never have the proper words to thank you for writing this book - for sharing Charlie with us. You opened a dam inside my heart and soul, and I will be eternally grateful to you for this book. For Charlie. Thank you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    Ugh. I wanted to like this so much but unfortunately I had a lot of issues. But first the positives; the writing is great in terms of capturing my attention, and keeping me somewhat interested, at least at the beginning. The conversations about fatphobia were important, and I do think this book could help a lot of young teens become more self accepting of themselves and others. Now, the two main issues I had were the main character Charlie, and the fact that she starts to feel like she’s worthy Ugh. I wanted to like this so much but unfortunately I had a lot of issues. But first the positives; the writing is great in terms of capturing my attention, and keeping me somewhat interested, at least at the beginning. The conversations about fatphobia were important, and I do think this book could help a lot of young teens become more self accepting of themselves and others. Now, the two main issues I had were the main character Charlie, and the fact that she starts to feel like she’s worthy and loveable is when a boy likes her and that’s not a good message to be sending to young teens; you don’t need a boy to love you in order for you to feel worthy. This would’ve been much more impactful if Brian was a new friend who was confident in their skin and showed Charlie that. Even better if it was a group of diverse women with diverse body shapes showing Charlie that her problems should not be blamed on her fatness and that she doesn’t have to be all about body positivity (because that could turn toxic), but about body neutrality. Charlie’s characterization was all over the place. At times she was incredibly naive and selfish, self involved and whiney; other times she would sound “mature” even though it also sounded scripted and not organic at all. She really just kept getting more and more whiney. I really wished she and her mom had a much more positive conversation like Charlie had with Amelia. However the way Charlie treated Amelia was messed up and I felt like it was never addressed as Charlie’s fault, but putting blame on Amelia even though she didn’t do anything. In the whole book, Charlie doesn’t do much, positive or negative actions (other than complain) so character development doesn’t happen until the last 20 or so pages. Sure she has thoughts about her friend that’s not good but she acknowledges those as bad thoughts almost a paragraph later so she doesn’t really need to learn anything later but she doesn’t do anything to grow as a person; she’s also is self deprecating to the point where it seems like she wants to be pitied. All of the side characters felt one dimensional, Especially the mother and Amelia. Brian was okay, but he quickly turned pretentious and rude about Amelia and that whole drama between the two was honestly stupid. And what Charlie does was so incredibly immature and just plain idiotic. Communication is key to a healthy relationship and Charlie doesn’t communicate with anyone she “cares” about until it starts making her look like a bad person. Again, quite self involved. There were a lot of smaller moments throughout that irked me and made me roll my eyes but that’s being nitpicky so I won’t go into too much explanation, but I did update my reading journey with those thoughts so feel free to read those. In conclusion, the dialogue didn’t sound very realistic and organic, but scripted and cheesy. The first half was an average read, started off good but everyone loses dimension and there’s no real plot or conflict to follow and everything kinda randomly happen to further the story to a predictable end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fatirah Murtaza

    Oh. My. God. That's basically my reaction after reading this book. Have you ever experienced this kind of feeling? Like when you see yourself in one of the fictional characters and you just couldn't help but resonate with the said character based on experiences that you once have gone through? I'm literally dumbfounded in a good way as if the author herself knew what I have been doing with my life. Omg, if I were to list things that I find myself being seen in this book - it'll be endless, perha Oh. My. God. That's basically my reaction after reading this book. Have you ever experienced this kind of feeling? Like when you see yourself in one of the fictional characters and you just couldn't help but resonate with the said character based on experiences that you once have gone through? I'm literally dumbfounded in a good way as if the author herself knew what I have been doing with my life. Omg, if I were to list things that I find myself being seen in this book - it'll be endless, perhaps I could write a book out of it. Ok ok, let's talk about the story first before I start rambling things. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a kind of a heartwarming yet realistic story that teaches us to be unapologetically ourselves. To embrace whatever kind of flaws that engulf us and to be bold with ways we want to live. And I learnt something from this book, roughly translated, that it's okay if you haven't found time to love yourself because sometimes you'll grow to love yourself when you've found someone who'll love you, wholeheartedly. This book gives me some sort of hope that everyone deserves their happy endings and I shall wait, patiently for that day to come. Charlie is a character that obviously I can relate myself to her a lot, as per mentioned in the first paragraph. I like her character development throughout the story. We can see how often she compares herself to her beautiful, kind-hearted best friend Amelia and to be honest, it sucks. I wish I could give her a hug because I knew this feeling. The feeling that you always come fall second because everyone prefers your beautiful best friend as their first choice. The feeling that you have always been overshadowed by your own best friend in many aspects of physical traits and departments and the fact of having a beautiful bff, guys start taking you for granted - it truly sucks. What not more frustrating when Charlie has a complicated relationship with her mom. But later, through the course of the story, I like how the author redeems the characters, they are all messed up in their own life and nobody should condemn them because everyone, essentially, is not perfect. Did I mention Brian? He's such a gentleman, like, you guys better find a guy like Brian. I like how he's always been there for Charlie when she's at the lowest point of her life. My heart, I don't know, beats so fast whenever they are together, fixing and filling in on each other's void. People from the other side of the room maybe could probably hear me rolling around on my bed with a stupid goofy smile because heck yes, their romance made me giddy!! I highly recommend this book because it's just chef's kiss. TW: fatphobia Thank you to Edelweiss, the publisher, and Turn the Page Tour for sending me an Advanced Reader's Copy in return for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hayden (bookish.hayden)

    Wow wow this book blew me away. I ended it with tears in my eyes and my heart soaring. Charlie Vega is a lot of things: smart, funny, ambitious, also, fat. That last one leads to a strained relationship with her workout obsessed ex-fat mom. But luckily Charlie has Amelia, her popular, track running BFF. When Brian, a cute classmate, shows interest in Charlie, she is over the moon. Until a secret about Brian and Amelia comes to light, and Charlie is left wondering if she was his first choice, or Wow wow this book blew me away. I ended it with tears in my eyes and my heart soaring. Charlie Vega is a lot of things: smart, funny, ambitious, also, fat. That last one leads to a strained relationship with her workout obsessed ex-fat mom. But luckily Charlie has Amelia, her popular, track running BFF. When Brian, a cute classmate, shows interest in Charlie, she is over the moon. Until a secret about Brian and Amelia comes to light, and Charlie is left wondering if she was his first choice, or all that was left. CW: fat shaming, fatphobia, restrictive eating (in a side character) Every character in this book is written absolutely perfect. Charlie is a fat non-Spanish speaking Puerto Rican teen with a complicated relationship with her mom, and her body. She is also a writer, and wonderful student, worker, and best friend. Her mom is a widower who lost all of her previous weight and spends her time drinking shakes and at the gym. And fat-shaming her daughter. Amelia is Charlie's best friend, a Black, pansexual gal who runs track and comes from a happy family. Brian is a sweet little bean, a little dorky, a lot artsy, with a set of cool moms that I loved. Charlie's relationships with all of these individuals were unique and wonderful. I liked that this book wasn't just about romantic love, it was about all types of love, including self. (Cal was garbage and I hate him) The plot of this book was really sweet and fun, with very deep themes. The twists in this were well done, and overall the writing was excellent. I was hooked the entire time, and I cried more than once. I think the representation in this story was lovely, and none of it felt forced, or like it was added just because. The main drama of the book is complicated and messy, which felt on brand for Charlie. I wish the ending had been a little more drawn out, because I really want more. But that's definitely a me thing. But if the author were to write a companion novel, I would be allover it. The writing in this was lovely, the pace was fairly medium, definitely starting off slower and amping up as we went. I really, really love and recommend this story!

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