On the Plus Side

A Novel

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Pub Date 26 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jan 2024
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin


What Not to Wear and Queer Eye meet All the Feels in this sparkling romantic comedy by Jenny L. Howe, in which the new guest on a popular plus-size makeover show has her style—and her love life—transformed.

Everly Winters is perfectly happy to navigate life like a good neutral paint color: appreciated but unnoticed. That’s why she’s still a receptionist instead of exploring a career in art, why she lurks but never posts on the forums for her favorite makeover show, On the Plus Side, and why she’s crushing so hard on her forever-unattainable co-worker. When no one notices you, they can’t reject you or insist you’re too much.

This plan is working perfectly until someone secretly nominates Everly for the next season of On the Plus Side. Overwhelmed by the show’s extremely extroverted hosts and how much time she’ll have to spend on screen, she finds comfort in a surprising friendship with the grumpy but kind cameraman, Logan. Soon Everly realizes that he’s someone she doesn’t mind being noticed by. In fact, she might even like it.

But when their growing connection is caught on camera, it sends the show’s ratings into a frenzy. Learning to embrace all of herself on national TV is hard enough; can Everly risk heartbreak with the whole world watching?

What Not to Wear and Queer Eye meet All the Feels in this sparkling romantic comedy by Jenny L. Howe, in which the new guest on a popular plus-size makeover show has her style—and her love...

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Featured Reviews

Loved it! I saw myself so much in Everly. And when you see yourself in a book it means so much more.

Everly is plus sized and living a quiet life. She has a small crush on her coworker, lives in her brother (and best friend's) garage. Her mom is... well she's not the best support in the world.

But one things she does have, is her favorite show, On the Plus Side. It's a show that empowers people who are plus sized into being the best self they can be right now. She watches it with her best friend and is quietly on the forums talking about it.

But what happens when SHE'S nominated to be on? What will happen to the quiet life she's led since college? What will her mom say? What will her coworker think?

It was so good. I understood where Everly was coming from in so many ways. She spoke truth for me. I loved the developing relationships she built with the people she meets on the show, the hosts and cameraman Logan.

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Finally plus size representation that actually makes sense, is realistic and is relatable!! The romance was 😘😘 I love how the author tackled some heavy subjects like grief but also incorporated some airy and funny parts. I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the reality tv setting of the story but it just worked! Give me more books from this author!!

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This book will definitely be in my top reads for the year. I finished this book a few days ago and I have not stopped thinking about it and how it made me feel since.

This book touched my soul because I had such a connection to the FMC, Everly. Everly like so many fat bodied people have to deal with the stigmas and society pressures to conform to hide our bodies and dress in either whatever is available in the store (dark, patterned, baggy) clothing options all to make it so our divots, rolls and bodies are hidden or made to be slimmer. But in the course of doing this we start to lose ourselves. Who we are and our confidence in our bodies is also impacted. You can do all of the deconstruction in the world when it comes to internalized fatphobia but this part is something that can be harder to conquer because some are at the mercy of what is at the local stores.

I loved that Jenny tackled this challenging topic in such a kind, beautiful way and with respect. The build to the relationship with Logan was also really great and I just loved this book so much. I cannot wait to have a physical copy in hand!

Thank you to the author and publisher for an e-copy of this book to read and review.

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Oh my goodness, this book! I’m a sucker for a book about a tv show and this one did not disappoint!

Everly works as a receptionist in a marketing firm, but has the talent to be a designer. She hides her true self from everyone but her brother and best friend (who are married! I thought that would be more awkward than it was.) Then, one day, the two stars of the hit tv show On the Plus Side barge into Everly’s office and tell her she is going to be on the show. (Think queer eye but all the guests are plus sized.) This book is about Everly’s journey on the show. Can she learn to let her true self shine through?

Everly is a spitfire. I loved her. She is funny, smart, and watching her growth was a true joy. Also, how can I not love a character with a tea station at work. Tea station! Cameraman Logan the grouch was one of those characters you think you know, but maybe you don’t? Seeing him slowly come out of his shell led to some fun and cute scenes. There were definitely a few scenes that cemented his cinnamon roll status. Cough, his dogs names, cough.

The side characters absolutely added to the story. The hosts, Jazzy and Staunton, were everything I’d hope they would be … but kinder, somehow. Becca and Ellis were the kind of support system a best friend and brother should be. Everly’s mother was a piece of work, and even though I still don’t like her, I understand her. I appreciate learning what made her treat Everly the way she did.

The forum posts at the end of some chapters were a fun addition. It is something I’ve seen before, but it added to the experience and was used well. Ditto for the deleted scenes, etc.

I highly recommend this fat-positive love story to anyone that finds even a smidgeon of interest from this review. Solid five stars.

CW provided at the start of the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Griffin for an arc of this book.

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It’s amazing how *seen* this book made me feel. Everly was a wonderful main character who struggled with wanting to hide from the world due to her grief, being afraid to reach for her dreams, and falling into patterns because they were comfortable rather than because they made her happy.

The whole concept of the “On The Plus Side” show was so interesting and honestly it felt like a fat girl’s queer eye which made me HUNGRY for a real life version of the series.

I always say that a book is a good one when it makes me cry (not a hard feat to meet) and the scene where it’s revealed who nominated Everly (AND WHY) had me tearing up on my lunch break.

Also, Logan is a whole sweetie pie and as someone who also only adopts senior dogs (and, unfortunately, reading this story also coincided with the anniversary of the day that I also lost the love of my life in the form of a dog) led to many tears, some swooning over him. I’ll never look at a plaid flannel without thinking of you.

I also love romcoms without a 3rd Quarter Breakup. Give me less miscommunication please!!

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I enjoyed this book so much! The story between Everly and Logan had me kicking my feet while reading, it was sooooo cute! I also really appreciated that she wanted to grow and change for herself and not focus on the relationship. I know it's a romance novel, but I love that her life isn't instantly better just because of a man. She worked hard and made her life better and that just happened to include a man. If I could change anything I would just want to know more about Logan from the beginning. Overall a great read that I would definitely recommend.

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“I don’t need anyone’s permission to be myself.”

This is something that Everly’s grandmother taught her before she passed, and I think it sums up the theme of the book. On The Plus Side is about a fat woman who has lost her spark, and in her desire for safety and stability, has chosen to make herself smaller, less noticeable, to take up less space. But when she is chosen as a guest on the titular reality makeover show, Everly starts to rediscover the fire and verve with which she used to live her life.

I greatly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, especially to anyone who is interested in body positive stories about a heroine who already loves herself and her body. In fact, it was really refreshing to read a romance with a fat heroine who is comfortable in her skin and not constantly castigating herself, for whom weight loss is not a concern at all. At the same time, it doesn’t shy away from the fatphobia that’s engrained in our society and that fat people routinely face.

As such, as a fat woman, I found a lot of Everly’s story to be very relatable, from the sorts of fashion struggles fat people face to her relationship with her mom. So much of this story rang very true for me, and it made me cheer Everly along as she found her way back to herself, to the old, loud, bombastic Everly that she wanted to be again. It’s such an upbeat story filled with fun characters. Jazzy and Stanton are particular standouts for me, and I wish they were real and also my best friends. I love them so much. 🥲

I spent this book wishing On The Plus Side were a real show so I could spend all my time watching the hell out of it. Howe does a great job at making it feel like a show that could realistically exist, and touching on a lot of the behind the scenes realities of these sorts of productions. As a framing device, the On The Plus Side show works really well to move the plot along and introduce unique conflicts to the narrative. I won’t say too much to avoid spoilers, but the show is more than just a backdrop to the love story, and I really appreciated that.

The progression of Everly’s romance with her hunky cameraman is very satisfying and realistic. Logan is grumpy in a very cute way, imo. It’s really easy for grumpy romantic heroes to just kind of be assholes, but that’s definitely not the case here. I wanted to hug the broody lumberjack all the time. I love Everly and Logan’s dynamic and how encouraging they are with one another. It feels like relationship goals without it just being a perfect, frictionless romance. Their banter is very cute, especially as it allows Everly to show off her cleverness. She’s really just a very funny person and I liked following her around.

All in all, I enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was one of those I always looked forward to getting back to when I had to put it down for a moment. It’s an upbeat, fun read, and I’m so glad I got to experience it! I look forward to more of Howe’s work bringing amazing fat characters to the page!

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It is a breath of fresh air to read a book that has body positivity representation. I love the show Queer Eye so I obviously loved this book. It was cute and sweet but also is moving and has a deeper meaning.

Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this advance review copy in return for an honest review.

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This was, much like Jenny L. Howe's debut, absolutely perfect; it's definitely a new favourite of mine! The fat representation was extremely realistic and relatable, very well done, just like in "The Make-Up Test," and the romance was super well done as well! I loved how the author tackled heavier topics like grief and family and self-expectations, and countered them with lighter humorous themes. The setting of the book was also super fun! I loved the reality tv show style of the book, and watching Everly find herself again was great. And Everly and Logan! My favourites! Their chemistry was amazing, and Howe wrote the romance absolutely spectacularly (love to see a man obsessed). Overall, this is a funny, cute, steamy, emotional, and probably my favourite romance of the year so far!

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This is my new favorite plus-size romance book.


And I read a lot of them!

Jenny truly has mastered the art of balance in her books—while demonstrating the struggles that fat women go through she also does it without being overwhelming, super negative, and triggering. This book fosters a feeling of community. You truly feel connected to Everly, the main character, and her wins feel like yours—because we’ve all been in her shoes.

This book follows Everly, a plus-size receptionist who longs to be an artist that lives a life trapped in time. She’s stuck in a rut of complacency and hiding ever since the loss of her grandmother, her plus-size role model. We see Everly struggle with her sense of self, her relationship with her mother, her career, her crush on her coworker, and her life direction until she’s nominated for a plus-size makeover TV show, On the Plus Side. We see Everly’s life go through a whirlwind, swept up in the hilarious cast of characters that are the TV hosts…and the grumpy cameraman, Logan. This book is not just about a fat woman falling in love—which is amazing in its own rite—this is a moving piece of literature about a fat woman’s growth, about her journey to find herself—and maybe the love of her life on the way.

Thank you, Jenny, for writing this book—from a girl who feels just like Everly.

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