Fat Girl on a Plane

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

Great book!! Well written smart and sassy with a little bit of everything. What a fun read and would recommend.
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I found this book to be body positive BUT not all the way through. I liked how Cookie stood up for herself in the face of fat-shaming, but she hated herself the whole time and thought the answer to her life’s problems was to become skinny. The ending was well done and a positive message but it was a struggle to get there. I did not agree with her Grandma forcing her to interact and “play nice” with people that had truly wronged her. I gave it five stars because it was overall positive and very readable.
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I had high hopes for this as we need more fat rep in YA fiction, but I definitely wouldn't categorize this as a body-positive book. The titular "fat girl" only learns to love her body after going on a diet (of course) and losing weight, and haven't we all heard this story a million times before?
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I did not love this. 

Cons: 
*Marketed as a YA, but doesn't really feel like one, just because the plot flashes back to high school half of the time, doesn't make it YA.
*Power imbalance--I can't be the only one who sees big red flags with the fact that she is sleeping with her 11-12 year older "boss/intern advisor" designer Gareth Miller. Helloooo, ick.
*For a book that is supposed to be soooo body positive (see Twitter) Cookie sure hates herself for 95% of it. 
*Product placement--thinly veiled Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine, Vita-water. 

Pros: 
*Ms. deVos writes with the real voice of someone who has struggled with weight and all the societal issues that entails.
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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And I was so excited to read it, because I love #ownvoice reads.  Sadly this book did not live up to any of my expectations. 

To begin with the story starts off in a completely different tone than the rest of the story, which I found very confusing.  I do know that my ARC was very badly formatted and almost unreadable at some parts, so maybe it was the fault of the ARC? I'm not sure. But anyway, the story starts off with the main character explaining what fat people have to go through just to get on a plane. It's good information, and some that I think a lot of people don't know about, but it read like a blog post rather than a fiction story. And yet it was probably the best part of the novel because at least this part was well-written! 

The rest of the book just goes downhill. I was very very uncomfortable with the age gap and the sex between Cookie and the man she worked for. She's 19 and he's at least in his mid-thirties!  Not to mention he's an absolute asshole and treats everyone around him like trash, he's an abusive relationship just waiting to happen.  Apparently there's a love triangle that happens later in the story with an equally misogynistic entitled asshole, but I quit the book before then.

The other part of the story that I didn't like was the fact that it jumps between Cookie's pov from when she was fat, and then when she's skinny. The whole treatment of her body over the course of the story (that I read) made me uncomfortable, and just felt badly written. As someone who is overweight I thought it would be a book that didn't include a lot of gross fat shaming and self-loathing, but sadly it does and I just couldn't read any more of it.

In the end I gave the book 1 star on Goodreads.
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I absolutely loved this debut gem of a novel!!!! As a person who's been plus sized my entire life, this is a book I needed and craved when I was younger. And it begins with the main character being singled out for needing more room on her airplane seat and then subsequently embarrassed by a callous, bitchy fellow passenger. The whole thing is mortifying and right then and there, I was on board, pun intended, with Cookie Vonn's emotional roller coaster.

Cookie (yes, that's her name) Vonn has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful model mother. One who cared more about her own career and life than that of her daughter. Because of the rocky relationship, Cookie is brought up by her grandmother, which was a relationship I probably loved the most in this book. We get the benefit of dual timelines, as this story switches from past to present, so we see the impact her grandmother had on Cookie's life and we're also introduced to Cookie's friendship with her childhood friend, Tommy - a friend she met at a fat camp one summer. 

Cookie makes a decision to go on a program similar to Weight Watchers and we get to experience Cookie's perspective and people's interactions with her both at her starting weight of 330 lbs (or the "fat" chapters) and after she loses close to 100 lbs (the "skinny" chapters). And the best part? Cookie loves fashion! And nothing is spared as she champions for clothing lines to make clothes for women of bigger sizes and makes the argument that there isn't much difference - at least for someone who has the talent to construct clothes, which she does. And she especially gets the chance to prove it when she's able to work alongside Gareth Miller, her fashion icon and someone who might just improve her chances to getting into Parsons School of Design. (I won't say much more than that because Gareth becomes the foil to Cookie's metamorphosis.)

Cookie loves fashion and clothes and blogs about it but her life changes when she does lose the weight. Not because she does anything different, but because the world now perceives her differently (which is a great societal take on the way fat women are perceived, including in the fashion world). I'm happy to see that a lot of this is changing and that bigger women have more choices, in both choices for clothes and for themselves, as people. It's such an uplifting book and I loved everything about it, especially the humor! Kelly deVos is absolutely hilarious and I can't wait to read what she has in store for us next.

This book debuts next week and if you're in search of a funny, thought provoking, sad, happy, body-positive, and just overall important read, please pick this one up!!

As always, happy reading!
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While reading this I found myself getting as angry as Cookie, the lead character, which was a touch disconcerting since that wasn't the feeling I was expecting from the book. Not that I thought I'd get all squishy feelings, just that I didn't expect that level of anger. 

I've always felt fat and unwelcome in some spaces, so I could identify with that part of the character, but I never felt that kind of anger she seemed to experience in many parts of the story. The anger I felt, however, wasn't always towards those who were openly rude or cruel to her, it was more often toward those who either told her to "turn the other cheek" or tried to make excuses for the person who was rude.

Why should she ignore what these rude people have said or done? Why shouldn't she stand up for herself and call out the purposeful cruelty? If you don't call them on it, bring it to the attention of others, they'll just keep doing it because they know they can get away with it.

The ending was satisfying enough, but the attitudes of the people closest to Cookie affected my enjoyment of the book.
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A fun and sweet story that, nevertheless, gives an unintentionally negative message about being fat when you consider how much its protagonist's life improves when she loses weight. Still, an interesting debut.
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Fat Girl on A Plane is a thoughtful, funny, cleverly written novel about a realistic teen. It's important to note that this is not a weight loss story. This book is not an ode to how great life could be if you could just lose weight. Life does not magically get better because of a number on a scale. This book is incredibly important to the YA contemporary genre because it provides a positive representation of a fat teen with dreams, a crush, and a fabulous teen voice. 

Cookie is ready to take the fashion world by storm. She remembers a time when she wasn't welcome in the world that she so desperately wants to make a name in. She's ready to stand up for all the fat girls out there and claim her place. Told in dual timelines, this book helps the reader connect with Cookie through her inner monologue.
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The Gist: A fat girl can't get on a plane. A thin girl can.

The Tags: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fashion, New Adult, Friendship, Female Protagonist, Family

The Rating: R due to strong language and a sexual relationship (not graphic)

The Review: 

Fat Girl on a Plane came out in May of this year, but I only just now got around to reading my copy from NetGalley. It’s the first book from Kelly deVos and follows the coming-of-age story of Cookie Vonn, a former fat girl unfortunately named after a dessert. All her life, Cookie has wanted to be a fashion designer, standing among her idols. But, Cookie has also always been larger than the fashion industry allows. That is, until she is deemed “too fat to fly” and loses the opportunity of a lifetime. Now, two years later, Cookie has lost her weight and gained the life she wanted. But is it enough to make her happy?

 The book comprises of two alternating stories – fat Cookie in the past and skinny Cookie in the present, each fighting for her dream. Her fat self knows what she wants: to be skinny, to win the heart of her best friend, and to rock the fashion world. But after she loses the weight, Cookie’s goals are far more ambiguous. On the surface, she has it all, so why does she feel so lost? Both the past and the present converge to paint a poignant portrait of what it’s like to be in that transitional place in life. She’s somewhere in between the person who she’s been up until that point and who she wants to be for the rest of her life.

This is a difficult book for me to review. On the surface, Fat Girl on a Plane is roughly written and a little anti-climactic. It’s far from the best book I’ve read this year. However, I related so much to Cookie and her story, and I find that personal journey in life so critical, that I found myself falling in love with it. Like Cookie, I struggle with my weight. I’ve faced the prejudice and stereotypes, and I too have fallen for that idea that if I only lost weight, everything would be better. I even had my own Gareth Miller in my life at that age. Reading Cookie’s story was like reading my own.
But even as important as I find that sort of coming-of-age story, it’s not a perfect book. The mean girls (and mean boys) Cookie encounters seemed a little over-the-top as if deVos didn’t trust the reader to identify discrimination without it being a slap in the face. Granted, I have no interest in fashion, so maybe people in the industry really are that bad.

Cookie’s relationships with people also echoed a bit hollow for the most part. I never quite figured out why I was supposed to cheer for Cookie’s relationship with Tommy. In the entire book, there were two examples of him being a good friend and a whole slew of examples of him being a bad friend. Like, a really bad friend. Similarly, Cookie and Gareth never had any real chemistry. Maybe that’s the point, but it made their relationship feel sudden and virtually out of the blue. The only relationship that felt real was Cookie’s relationship to her parents. Unlike the mean girls, Cookie’s parents are realistically horrible. They’re both selfish people who never really grew up but continue to receive everything they want in life. We all have people like that in our lives, and poor Cookie has more than most.

On the plus side (no pun intended), Cookie is a very real character I appreciated. She’s not perfect, but she doesn’t claim to be. She’s a little hateful, but it’s easy to see why – not because she’s fat and the world hates her but because of the surplus of terrible people in her life. She’s talented, and she walks that delicate line between being confident in her abilities and being humble about (or unaware of) exactly how talented she is.

Her story is a slow exploration of adulthood and deciding who you’ve been and who you want to be. I loved how her fat self and skinny self came full circle at the end, putting on display how different the two still are.

I rated this book 3 out of 5 because of the writing and development issues, but it’s nevertheless an important read for anyone who relates to it, and it delivers an important message about self-image and self-worth that needs to be presented to young people leaving the nest. As a result, I think Fat Girl on a Plane fits much better within the New Adult genre than the Young Adult genre. Although half the book is told from Cookie’s high school self, the issues she faces all revolve around those you face as a new adult, brand new to the world. There’s also quite a bit of strong language, and sexual activity discussed. High schools be warned.

TIME FOR A SPOILER RANT

The end of the book sputtered for me. In a rush, Cookie decides that she’s going to be herself no matter the consequences, which is a fantastic realization to come to except that I’m not sure it’s for the best. See, Cookie ends up realizing – though she doesn’t express it in so many words – that she lost weight for all the wrong reasons. She thought losing weight would solve all her problems, but it didn’t, so she…gives up? At least, that’s what it feels like.

And this brings me to a personal issue I took with the book: even at the end of the book, Cookie doesn’t have a healthy relationship with her body or with food. After two years of hard work, she still thinks of exercise as something she has to do (without any indication of enjoyment) and food as something that requires vicious calculation and control. A cheeseburger is something she CAN’T have as opposed to something she doesn’t WANT or something she will have LATER. Throughout the entire book, the issue of health (not to be confused with weight) is never brought up. Now, from a fellow fat girl’s perspective, I get why. The issues Cookie faces should not be overshadowed by the debate of health vs. weight. That debate undermines the way fat people are treated by society. But when Cookie decided to eat and be the way that she wants, it didn’t feel empowering as much as it did falling off the wagon. Although I understand why it wasn’t brought up, it would have been wonderful if deVos had thrown in some mention of how Cookie felt stronger and less out of breath when taking the stairs or thrown out that part when Cookie was gumming her way through a salad because she had to and instead added a piece about how much she loves avocado on a sandwich. Little things like that would have made Cookie seem so much more empowering and in control.
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I just finished Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly DeVos and it was phenomenal! This book presented a very positive message in a fun and entertaining way.

So first off, props to Kelly for making a book that empowers people of all sizes. This is truly amazing. No one should ever be shamed or belittled because of the way they look or how big or small they are.

The main character, Cookie, is a strong female protagonist that doesn’t always have everything handed to her and she has to work hard for what she believes in. There are times when life becomes “unfair” to her but she always puts her best foot forward and strives on. She is very talented and a fashion guru. A lot of the clothes that she made in the book sounded very cool and the inner geek in me would hope that she would make some of these for men so I could wear some original Cookie Vonn.

I really enjoyed her best friend Piper. She was such a hoot! And she was from Australia which is epic because that is my dream destination to visit someday. Piper was the “giver of no f**ks” and I felt that she embodied that very well 🙂

Tommy kind of annoyed me a little bit because of how he would handle situations with Kennes being a complete asshole to the person he calls his “best friend” but that was just a minor detail.

This book is a rare one that will get a great rating from me! There are few out there that I would give 5/5 but I have to give it to this one! I am usually pretty generous with 4/5 but I found I couldn’t put this one down and would read it at every opportunity I had.

I would recommend this book to anyone out there who feels like they don’t like their body or are uncomfortable in their own skin. Let this book take you on a journey with Cookie to become empowered and feel positive about yourself because you are beautiful inside and out.
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This book really didn't do it for me. I wasn't a fan of the flashbacks, or the main character. She was too self-pitying for me.
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Fat Girl on a Plane was truly a joy to read. I'm a woman who's gone through a similar weight transformation and I so deeply related to Cookie and her experience with the world throughout her transition. The plot is perfectly balanced with light and dark moments, difficult and lovely characters, familiar and exciting settings. This is a book every store and library should stock for a woman of any age. It's one of those reads you devour in a matter of hours. And dare I recommend? Read it on a plane.
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There is so much I want to say about this book, but don't know how to articulate my feelings.

Cookie Vonn was so relatable!! She validated a lot of my feelings. She also got me thinking too.

I began writing notes while I was reading.

I started questioning how I perceived things regarding size, weight, and fashion.

I wondered about things like, "Why are most plus size clothes "grandma-ish" looking?" "Why is there one clothing store geared toward being on trend, and a basic tank top is twenty-five dollars? A nice blouse is over fifty dollars? A dress is ninety dollars?" "Is plus size clothing more expensive because they are using more material?"

My favorite quote of Cookie's is: "We need fashion and style for all girls everywhere. We need fabulous fashion finds from size two to thirty-two. We want a place for style that will put a smile on your face."

And, that is what I loved about this book. It made me think about my life, how society treats fat people, and representation of fat people.

I'm so lucky I never went through name calling or heckling growing up from strangers about my weight.

I felt so badly about how Cookie's parents treated her. Thank goodness for her grandma. And every story needs a villain. Kennes was awful towards Cookie.

I'm unsure how I felt about the men Cookie's life. All flawed in ways, and most did not treat my girl, Cookie, right.

Overall, I hope to see more of Cookie Vonn in the future!

I loved the emotional journey Fat Girl on a Plane took me on, and I give it 5-stars!
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You would think with a quote like that, there'd be a ton of plus-size body positivity, but I have never been angrier while reading a book in my life. I don't know how many times I cursed (in my head or quietly to myself...) the characters out, rolled my eyes, or furiously scribbled down pissed off notes while reading. I hardly liked any characters, hated most of their decisions, and found so many aspects extremely problematic. At first I was hell-bent on giving this book 1 star, then I bumped it up to 2 stars because for some reason I was still able to make it until the end. But then, as I laid in bed a little more calm but still sooo very angry, I thought I would give this 5 stars. Because the thing is, everything in Fat Girl on a Plane is on point, and I wonder if I hated it that much because it hit so close to home. I ended up giving this 3.5 stars because even though I'll never say this is my favorite read, I without a doubt think it's an important read.
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DNF
The writing with the flashbacks felt a little off to me. I had to set the book aside as I had a tough time connecting to the story because of it. I will likely give the book another chance, most likely on audio.
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4.5! This book was different and unique! I love Cookie and the flushed out characters that DeVos writes about. With everything going on in Cookies life, she has to constantly struggle with her weight and the people around her and how they treat her.
I love the two perspectives that the author chose to write of Cookie before she looses weight and after. This book was fun, fast and enjoyable.
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I hate to give poor reviews as I know how much work is involved in writing, researching, and getting a book to print.
However, for me this was dangerous.
Body shaming is not acceptable. Advanced dieting is not acceptable. Hate against overweight people is not healthy.
We've all been there on those yo-yo diets. Women in general put up with so much in today's society that the stress levels are through the roof, the labels attached are mind blowing, the pressure to stay a stick is constant and for some it's deadly especially in the fashion industry.
I was skinny all my life and even after having kids I had a high metabolism with ADD that blew through sugar like water keeping me active nonstop. I can't sit or I'll rust is my motto. My mind is always on go and my body follows. I work till exhaustion. I had a situation in which I nearly bled to death after my 1st with an emergency section and my body weight went immediately back to my norm pre pregnancy after having him but I nearly died having lost 2 pints of blood requiring a blood transfusion for placenta abruption and my son had to be lifeflighted and nearly died with Vater Syndrome being born med disabled. So for me this is no laughing matter.
I can tell you I graduated from John Casablanca's Modeling School near Philly as a teen and seen the other side in which many girls developed eating disorders to stay a certain weight. Many would go home and force themselves to vomit, eat extremely small portions, if they even ate at all as many remained on liquid diets. Many girls walked around like zombies with a boat load of makeup to the point I have not worn makeup other than for that photo shoot and or special occasions but never daily. I go every day without makeup in public and have done so for many years. Natural beauty is beautiful. 
I'm thrilled we now have models speaking out against the stick figure mentality especially my girl Ashley Graham and my girl Tyra Banks (who by the way is so personable).
I've had two friends in particular one a sex addict who tried to stay thin to be competitive with other women her age in the looks department and another who couldn't care less and had to deal with the cards she was dealt. 
She was naturally big, had larger frame, bigger structure and no matter what she ate or how often she worked out it did nothing for her. She didn't eat more than me in fact quite the opposite and quite healthier (I'm a meat and potatoes gal).
I was always ostracized because I ate like a horse, I didn't eat healthy by any means, I was that pizza, chicken wings, fry gal that you loved to hate and still do.
So I can sympathize because I've gone as far as a size 12 and had to reel it back.
In Fat Girl on a Plane -the older character (Uncle Gary) is in need of an attitude adjustment. He's in his late 30's and she's only 19yo which also wasn't my cup of tea. The idea that fat girls can't do better based on weight is to me very unhealthy."I suck at romance and you're an inexperienced nineteen-year-old." So why are you sleeping with her, dude?" 
One character does more damage by claiming she should simply get over it and accept the body shaming. 
I'll close by saying love yourselves regardless of your weight. If you're obese try your best to be at a healthy weight but don't obsess.
I will add that my best friend joined me for a 'Dirty Girl Mud Run' in which she knew it would be hard on her but made the effort to attend. She got half way up the mountain and nearly collapsed as it was simply too much on her. I waited till she had help and then finished the race. She is my inspiration and those like her that refuse to give up.
Much love 
Thank you to Kelly, the publisher, NetGalley, and Aldiko for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.
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Usually stories about weight issues take one of two paths: realizing why you're heavy (addressing some deep personal issue) or helping a thin person to see your value. And both of these elements are present in this book, though they don't take center stage. Its more about finding true happiness, not letting yourself be defined by another person's perception, letting go of preconceived notions. And it takes some pretty aggressive shots at the fashion industry in specific and our culture at large which tells us that fat can never equal happy or successful.
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Cookie Vonn is an aspiring fashion designer and blogger who wants to create her own line of clothing. Only problem is, high fashion doesn't accept fat people, which is why Cookie wants to design and make plus size clothing that is high quality. Through a series of events that include her absent mother and father, her best friend Tommy who becomes the biggest jerk on the planet, and snotty brat Kennes who turns out to be Mean Girl 2.0, Cookie joins a weight loss program and ends up losing a large amount of weight over a two year period. It seems like she is thwarted at every turn by Kennes and bad circumstances, but she finally gets a chance to make her dreams come true when famous designer Gareth Miller agrees to help Cookie create a plus size collection. Cookie will have to decide what she really wants in life as she is presented with several difficult, life altering decisions.
This book is written with two alternating storylines, one relating Cookie's life for the past two years and the other taking place in the present. I think this is a very necessary and important book because it addresses the problem society at large has with fat shaming and promoting a culture where it is unacceptable to be less than perfect where looks are concerned. I related to Cookie and Piper very well because I understand what it's like to be treated badly because I don't measure up to the ideal. I was so mad at some of the characters, especially Cookie's parents, Kennes, and Tommy. They treated Cookie horribly, and it seems like they got away with it. I learned quite a bit about fashion from this book, and I thought some of the writing near the end was very encouraging to people like me. I didn't agree with some of the views expressed in the book, and I was very disappointed with the egregious amount of profanity and sexual promiscuity as well. Those objections aside, I believe that this book is a must read with a very important message.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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