Cover Image: Fat Girl on a Plane

Fat Girl on a Plane

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Fat Girl on a Plane was not my favorite read.  I admire the author's intentions, but the protagonist didn't seem to give off a body positivity vibe.  Instead, she seemed to vacillate between showing how far she had come and being paranoid about gaining weight again.  Maybe it just wasn't my kind of book, but I did not love it.
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DNF at 30% because life is too short to read fat shaming books marketed as body acceptance. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about young girls reading this.
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I also tried reading this book multiple times.  I read that first chapter at least three times, but I couldn't get into it.  It just wasn't for me.  That's why I waited so long to write a review.  I hate to be negative. about someone's hard work.
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, and Harlequin Teen for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

Although this book came out a while ago, I still wanted to make sure that I read it and reviewed it so that I could work on my Netgalley ratio. I was finally able to find the audiobook at my local library, and it was enjoyable to listen to. So here it goes!

Not gonna lie, I was really intrigued when I first heard about this novel. For one, it was pretty rare to see a novel about a fat main character. And then to think about a fat girl on a plane was also really interesting because I think about how that is so much of an issue for people that are considered obese and have to purchase two seats in order to travel on a plane like everyone else. It’s not fair, especially because seats are so expensive lately, and people are so quick to judge.

I didn’t really read the synopsis because I try not to get much of an impression before I read something. I just got a simple idea from the cover.

life doesn’t become perfect just because you lose weight.

This is definitely something that Cookie Vonn needed to learn the hard way, and although I do feel like she was proud of her progress and dedication to keep to her diet and stay at the “skinny” weight that she ended up getting to, I wonder if it really was the right move for her. Yes, it opened up a lot of doors for her in the fashion industry because people didn’t end up blowing her off as just another “fat girl”, – which I can totally talk about that later on a totally different post because that already irritates me so much – and then she thought that things were finally going well for her, but then…. maybe they weren’t. Because maybe Cookie was able to see that people treated her differently solely because of the weight loss, not because of the person that she was. Not because of the work that she put in to her work, and her passion for fashion and her designs. Nope, that wasn’t enough when she was fat, and even though her friends really, really, really wanted her to see otherwise, and hoped that Cookie would end up seeing it that way, she needed time to see that on her own.

never forget the people that supported you when you were fat; especially if they still support and love you when you’re skinny

Preach it, Ashley Graham. I feel the exact freaking same way.

Okay honestly, I’m spacing out on Cookie’s Australian best friend from fat camp right now, but I am so glad that they were able to maintain their friendship despite Cookie’s major transformation, and that Cookie didn’t allow everything that happened to her to make her drop her friendship with her friend. And I’m also glad that Cookie’s friend was actually her friend, and never liked her just for the fame and/or fortune. She had money on her own, and really didn’t need Cookie’s notoriety to make waves, so really there wouldn’t have been a need for that. But honestly, there was really so much that could have happened with that friendship with the way that Cookie could flip back and forth with a lot of stuff, and yeah.

I’m still super upset with a lot of things that happened in this novel because it just felt like there was so much betrayal on both ends of Cookie’s life: from her family, her friends, the people she works with, etc. All of these people are supposed to be people that she could trust, and yet they all of them have betrayed her in some shape or form. When you read it, you’ll see what I mean. And it’s just so upsetting because how is she supposed to trust anyone these days? She’s making a name for herself and she is trying to use her platform to make designers make clothes that look good for all types of bodies, not just ultra-thin ones, but people still aren’t truly listening to her because she was once fat.

Okay I feel like I may have gone way off topic on that theme, but basically get yourself a best friend like Cookie’s Australian best friend, and I truly hope someone can remind me of what her name is because I’m so disappointed that I forgot her name right now.

Thank you Cookie Vonn for trying to use your privilege to get these fatphobic fashion execs and designers to realize that fat people want to look good too. It’s like they forget that we like to spend our money on good clothes.

I mean, why do you think we like to buy stuff from Fashion Nova? *Shameless plug, lemme stop shopping there for a second while I try to write this review…

But seriously, yes I understand that Cookie did not have a… “cookie-cutter” perfect life. Yes, I had to use that, I’m sorry. Even her mom being some sort of big deal model when she wanted to be didn’t make Cookie have a good like. I mean, her mom really didn’t a crap about her, let’s be real. Which sucked because, geez. First her mom doesn’t care and also her dad wasn’t even there for her anyway so really it was just her grandma that seemed to care about what actually happened to Cookie and even then some of the things that Grandma said was kind of questionable… I don’t know. This whole family was pretty dysfunctional, but there’s no such thing as a perfect family anyway. We aren’t even going to get started on Cookie’s best friend dude, because what the heck was that mess right? Ughhhhhh I’m so angry at him. He is NOT the best guy friend that is the typical best guy friend that all of the Disney original series characters have… I mean what?

Where have I heard that line before?

I legit hated Cookie’s mom, her “step-dad” legit EFF THAT GUY, her freaking bully during her internship, her so-called best guy friend during that whole mess…

Wow, did I not like anyone in this book? No, no that’s not true. I did love Cookie’s Australian friend. Darn it, please someone help me remember her name, I’m so ashamed that I clearly can’t remember.


Clearly I had a lot of anger for the things that Cookie went through that she really didn’t have to. I felt so hurt for her when that stupid airline company first made her buy an extra seat because she was “too fat” to fit into one seat (spoiler alert: no the hell she wasn’t) and then proceeded to kick her off the plane because they oversold the flight.

Like, the hell is wrong with that airline? I know overselling flights is like… a regular thing apparently? But that’s just so freaking horrible. And then even after she had to purchase a whole other seat? And she had to get that money from her best friend at the time? AND the employees of the airline made her feel like utter shit because of it? Like, oh my god. I was angry for her. I wanted to beat up everyone. I don’t care that she could have done that herself but still, I would have done it.

I did enjoy the novel though, and even though I was so irritated with the shitty things that were happening, it was in a good way. I got emotional thinking about it and it just made me pretty happy with how much Cookie did end up overcoming and how she used her platform, and by the end of her story, how she grew as a character. I was proud of her growth by the story’s conclusion.

This was another novel that I got to listen to, and now this is making me wonder if I should switch out this section for an audiobook style analysis portion when I listen to books instead…. but anyway. I could feel Cookie’s voice completely when I was listening to this, and not just because it was an audiobook. I feel like deVos has a clear writing style, and it works out well for a contemporary novel like this. Before I read this novel, I actually read her dystopian novel Day Zero, which I really loved, so I figured I should go back and remember to read this one. I find that I like her writing despite the different genres, and I’m glad for it.

I believe this was deVos’ debut novel – yes it was, I just checked Goodreads – and I believe she did a great job with it. I also had a great time reading it, well listening to it. I’m glad that an audiobook was finally available for me to listen to, because I was looking forever for a copy and just had the worst time finding one. I think I could have reviewed this way sooner if I had, but alas. There is another review that I saw on Goodreads that made a good point: this is not a weight loss journey. I think that is important to say because while Cookie does end up losing a lot of weight with this extreme diet treatment that she goes through, that is not the overall plot of the story, nor is it the magic pill that makes everything happy and beautiful all the time when she achieves the weight that she wants to be. So I didn’t feel compelled to try to lose a tremendous amount of weight like she did, although if I did that would be cool, and this book didn’t make me feel like I was inadequate for being fat.

So that was really important to me because I wouldn’t want anyone reading this to feel like they couldn’t be happy or worth anything because they aren’t at a certain weight, or a certain body type.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good novel, and I plan on reading more deVos novels in the future.
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Before I get started with my thoughts I am grateful to have received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

This year there seems to be quite a few novels dealing with weight and body-positivity for teens, which I think is great! However, I honestly didn’t read through the synopsis thoroughly so I found the events that unfolded to be a surprise, which I guess is a good thing.

I found it weird that there were two story lines – the past when Cookie was fat and when she is skinny in the present. I liked how it explored some of the misguided reasons for losing weight. I liked how Cookie discovered that life doesn’t become all sunshine and roses when she is skinny.

In some ways I found “fat” Cookie to be relatable especially with the emotions she goes through when she starts her journey. I loved watching her pursue her dreams in fashion and comes to realize that no matter what size she is, it is still a cut-throat industry.

I hated her relationship with Gareth Miller, especially since she was 19 and he was 35…it was just weird – I found this to be one of the pitfalls of the novel. I also wanted to love Tommy, her ex-best friend and crush, but he kept messing up and was just an idiot.

I loved her grandma, her parents were just awful. I loved her best friend Piper and how she deals with Cookie and her antics.

I liked the ending although I wish there was more resolution with her parents. 3/5 Stars.
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DNF: I really struggled to get into this book and had a hard time relating to the characters. While I liked the premise of this book and think it has potential, it wasn't for me.
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This book was a delightful, empowering gem.

Reading Cookie’s journey was honestly one of the most relatable stories I’ve ever read. It felt like deVos took every body conscious thought I’ve ever had about myself and wrote it down to be relevant and inspiring.

When I found out that the book was written in two “timelines”, I wasn’t sure how the author would pull it off. I often struggle with alternating time lines, but so that’s probably my only issue with this book. If you don’t have a problem with alternating time lines, you’ll have no trouble with it.

I definitely recommend you start off by reading the author note at the beginning of the book, but it was touching and moved me to tears, and really gets you in the mind set to read Cookie’s story.
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I am not a very big fan of this book. The clinical writing style clashes with the cute cover and the characters feel very disconnected. I don't like the main character's view on life and her self image and I don't find the book to be productive towards making young girls love and accept themselves.
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3.5/5 Stars

While I wouldn't say that I disliked this book, it wasn't my *favorite* read. There were elements that I enjoyed, including the developing sense of fashion of the main character, but there were far more elements I was troubled by.
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

High school senior Cookie Vonn has always lived in the shadow of her beautiful super model mother.  This is made even harder by the fact that Cookie is not thin like her mother, she is just the opposite.  She doesn't shy away from her physique though, she has learned to embrace it; most of the time.  When Cookie gets the chance of a lifetime to fly to New York to pitch her portfolio to the one and only Garreth Miller, it almost doesn't happen when she is told she is too fat to fly and take up just one seat.  It is after this that Cookie decides she is going to become skinny.

Flash forward and Cookie is living a dream: she has lost a lot of weight, she has a chance to work with Garreth Miller and make designs that matter, and she's finally hoping to start dating her long time crush.  While Cookie expected things would fall in to place once she became skinny, she quickly realizes that things don't always go according to plan.  

DeVos tackles a lot of tough topics with this novel, stereotypes about weight, relationship and friendship drama, and family dynamics.  Taking such a full frontal and honest look at how we as a society view people of all different body types is something that is important and needs to be said.  What is even more important is Cookie reflects on how even though she is now super model thin, she still doesn't have the perfect happy life she expected.  This book deals with dark family issues and does have a lot of explicit sexual scenes.  I liked the way the book went back and forth between the various time periods of Cookie's life; before she lost the weight and after.  Overall, a solid read, but maybe not the best fit for every library collection.
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I don't need to read about an "after" thin girl, and the "before" fat girl on two different timelines. I don't need to read about how the thin girl's life is soooo much better and how the fat girl goes to an imitation Weight Watchers because she's so humiliated at her fatness. I DON'T CARE IF THE STORYLINES FLIP AT SOME POINT AND THE FAT GIRL IS THE HAPPY GIRL. I DON'T WANT TO PUT UP WITH EVEN ONE MINUTE OF FAT GIRL SELF-HATE AND LOATHING. It's insulting to me as a fat girl reader that I should have to put up with it to get to some moral of the story about fat girls loving themselves.

There's an author's note attached to the beginning of the book; the author explains exactly her purpose in the dual storyline. And frankly, I do. not. care. This structure is bullshit, and it's exactly the wrong way to go about telling fat teenage girls that they should love themselves, in my opinion. I couldn't read another word of it. The minute fat Cookie walked into the "NutriNation", DeVos lost me. I can't read another minute of fat girls miserably trying to diet themselves thin to learn to love themselves. It's been done.
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Fat acceptance is a great topic to explore, and especially within the fashion industry, but the relationship with Gareth skeezed me out.
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Ultimately, I enjoyed the idea of the book and the main character's struggles to get to where she is today but, the book didn't do the job of keeping my interest. I was not interested in the characters and I was not into the main character, so I really didn't want to stick around and see how everything worked out for her.
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I was unable to read this book because I did not check the available formats before I requested it and I did not have a way to read the protected PDF. I am sending this "review" in order to clear this book from my un-reviewed items.
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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. 

*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. 

*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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