Can she be herself in a one-size-fits-all world?
Lori Palmer is the new girl at Bay Water High, where students prize glossy hair, “beach” bodies, and thigh gaps above all else, which is so not her. She misses her old school, where her artistic talent was more important to her peers than a chia smoothie recipe ever was.
Uncomfortable in her own size-sixteen skin, Lori decides to survive senior year as best she can by blending into the background while she melts in the summer heat. But her plans go completely awry when she discovers popular jock Jake volunteering at her brother Zac’s school. When her brother befriends Jake’s sister, Lori is suddenly thrust into Jake’s unfamiliar world of water polo, parties, and stargazing.
As she grows closer to Jake, and her relationship with her mother starts to deteriorate, Lori’s old anxieties resurface and she throws herself into her art. It’s a wildly new direction for Lori, and through it she realizes that finding her voice might get her into a world of trouble, but standing up for what she believes in is as important as standing up for herself.
“A meaningful, much needed story that reminds us all to fall in love with ourselves first” — Anna Todd, New York Times best-selling author of After
“A meaningful, much needed story that reminds us all to fall in love with ourselves first” — Anna Todd, New York Times best-selling author of After
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 152 members
Came in expecting less with Wattpad, as the past few I have read have not been that great. But this one was good! The representation is fantastic and I thought the overall character development was good. There is a lot of trigger warnings, but overall, this was handled with care.
Adorable!! I thought it took a little while for me to really get into the story, but once I did I was hooked! Will definitely be recommending to my friends. I really connected with the main character's struggles with her mom. Full review to come!
✍️ One Sentence Synopsis: People are all a bit like succulents— we may be broken but we can grow new roots or add pieces to ourselves to continue to grow. 💭 Overall Thoughts: This book incredibly exceeded my expectations in the best ways. It is not JUST a romance novel and it is not just fluffy but it is REAL and ends in such a hopeful and uplifting way. It is also still light and witty enough to be completely enjoyable. The romance here is so sweet and adorable. Jake is the guy we all wanted to date in high school for sure— hot but with a super sweet side. Lori has some things to work through but she makes such growth through the novel and turns into such a badass chick when she is able to silence her inner bully. This novel touches on some tough topics with such grace in a way that is not overwhelming. It becomes uplifting without being unrealistic. It shows the sibling side of what it’s like to have a family member who is Autistic. It shows how different is beautiful and the wonderful thing of being your own biggest cheerleader. It touches on body image, divorce, alcoholism, neurodiversity, anxiety, and adoption. And yeah, there’s a lot here between all the characters— but it’s done in such a realistic way. You will be rooting for Lori all along and although parts may be tough you will leave with a feeling of uplifting empowerment. Big Boned comes out September 21, 2021! Get your preorder now! What I Liked: 👍 REPRESENTATION! From neurodivergence, to body diversity, to mental health, to race, to sexual orientation— this has so many groups represented in a way to bring light to important issues in a meaningful way. 👍 The adorable romance that transpires 👍 This piggy backs on representation in that as a child life specialist I was SO HAPPY to have an adequate sibling story that people could relate to. What I Didn’t Like: 👎 It wasn’t that I didn’t like this, but there are a lot of topics covered here so check my content warnings if needed. ⚠️ Content Warnings: divorce, fat shaming, ableism, bullying, anxiety and panic attacks, mental health, adoption, neurodivergence, alcoholism, infidelity Thank you to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for the ability to read this novel with request for an honest review.
The story is about 17 year old lori who lives with her mom and autistic brother. She is suddenly uprooted from her art school, city lifestyle to beach life cape Town so her brother can attend a better school for his needs. On her first day of school she manages to make an enemy out of the most popular girl amber. While picking up her brother from school she finds out that the most popular guy at her school jake volunteers there once a week and also has a sister that attends the same school. As the story progresses so does her friendship with Jake and her search to see herself through New eyes.. This book was such an amazing story of a younger girl trying to find herself and her own beauty despite her size. As a plus size woman this took me right back to high school and all the feelings lori felt I had felt at one point and even still do. I would recommend this book to women young and older who have ever felt out of place, bullied, or singled out. It teaches you a lot about finding yourself and knowing your worth no matter your size. And the romance is the icing on top.
Lori has just been uprooted from all of her friends in Johannesburg to live in Cape Town so her autistic brother can be at the best school in the country for him, and so her mother can escape her father's impending wedding to his mistress after a messy divorce. She adores her brother and is happy to have found a potential place to help him, but once she sets foot in the local high school she knows this will not be good. No one else looks like her, she is the only fat person on campus and even though her anxiety meds should be helping, and therapy does sometimes, she feels instantly out of place. When the hottest guy in school starts paying attention to her she freaks out even more thinking it's all a joke. Can she get over her inner bully and discover that she also deserves happiness in her life regardless of other people's choices for her life? Beautifully raw and moving, Lori's story is one of finding your voice when you feel powerless and believing you deserve all the happiness in the world regardless of what anyone else has to say.
I enjoyed reading Big Boned. I think it's important for girls of all shapes and sizes to see themselves as main characters. Lori is big girl who is struggling with her body. She hates the way she looks and she is struggling to fit in at her new school. I really enjoyed the characters in the book. I liked reading about Lori and see her grow. This book deals with a lot of important issues and will resinate with tons of people
A story that is much needed in our selfie obsessed world today. Sending out positive messages to teenagers is one of the magic powers book have, and this is no exception.
Thank you Netgalley for this ARC for an exchange of an honest review. It was an enjoyable read. A lovely book with depth.
Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes! I loved Jo's writing here! So unique and good! This YA, Romance will hook you from jump street! The characters are so likable and real. I just loved everything about this amazing book Thank you NetGalley, publisher and Author for this great ebook copy!
📚 "YOUR FEARS ARE STOPPING YOU FROM HAVING THE THINGS IN LIFE YOU WANT AND DESERVE" 📚 This. Book. Y’all. When I was sent it to review, I didn’t know how I was going to feel about it, honestly, however, I’m glad I gave it a chance because I found it very enjoyable. 😌 This YA contemporary romance tackles themes such as: anxiety, bullying and its effects, divorce, having a sibling on the spectrum and finding one’s voice in a one-size-fits-all world. Jo did a fantastic job of making Lori a relatable and likable character while crafting her just flawed enough to transform through an empowering character arc. 💪 What I really really liked about this novel was that it was set in South Africa - Cape Town to be more precise! I wouldn’t say I “loved” this read because had a very Hallmark-eque formula Wattpad books are starting to become known for, but it was an enjoyable read with some great quotes. One thing I should mention is that some parts of the book felt disjointed and distant at random places, but I’m not going to judge that too harshly. This is an ARC that clearly still has some revisions to go through, and I’m hoping that the final edits fix some of that. ALSO JAKE IS A PRECIOUS BEAN AND I MUST PROTECT HIM AT ALL COSTS. If you want a book with an uplifting body-positive message and adorable romance, this one is for you. As Jo Watson’s first YA novel, I found it a promising debut and look forward to her other works in this genre. Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC! BIG BONED is slated to release in September of 2021!
#BigBoned I loved the book. It's about scarifies, family, and finding your own voice in the world. The book shows that preconceptions aren't always true and we must look beyond our skin to find true self. A wonderful book for anyone who has never felt comfortable in the own body.
Big Boned is a really sweet story, and I think many teens will find Lori a very relatable character. Watching her find her voice and sense of self was extremely satisfying. I also appreciated that the story showed how having an autistic brother, Zac, affected Lori’s life, without making him a burden to her, or having her focus on fixing him.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I thought that it showed how everyone has struggles and how they deal with them. I feel that a lot of girls especially should be able to read this book to show how you think about yourself can really affect you. I loved the characters and how they weren’t two dimensional. Lori, Jake, and Thembi all have problems at home and can admit to themselves that it’s ok to seek help, whether it's from a peer or professional. This is definitely a book I’m excited to own once it is released.
4/5 ⭐️s The way this book was everything I needed in YA books when I was a teen… Lori has just moved from her art school to a new school where she feels judged for her weight and lack of athleticism. She befriends Jake, the most popular guy in school, when she discovers he volunteers at her brother’s school. As their friendship grows, Lori struggles to navigate life in a new town that brings into focus all of her insecurities. Jo Watson, I think I love you. This book was so good! It felt like a 90’s teen flick with someone with my body as the lead. I’m definitely invested in future books! What Worked: Lori’s struggle with her body felt genuine without becoming too melancholy. She’s really relatable, and I loved her journey towards finding her voice for who she was instead of who she wished she was. *slight spoiler* Both Lori and Jake’s younger siblings are neurodivergent, and while I was concerned at first this would be used as a tool to garner sympathy for Lori, Watson actually developed the sibling’s bond into a beautiful and heartwarming relationship that I loved. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Jake and Lori’s relationship was quintessential first love. Cute. So cute. What Didn’t Work: The ending. Not Lori’s ending, but how it’s written. I felt Watson strayed dangerously close to writing Lori as a “white savior”, and I thought it detracted from the nuance the story of her finding herself with art had created. The literal last few lines of the story had me slightly confused. Are we getting a sequel? If so, I can see what Watson was doing here. Otherwise, it creates a weird new layer to Lori’s character that I’m not sure I love. The plot itself seemed just a bit too long. There were a lot of plot lines being addressed, and I can see how it may take away from the overall experience of the read. For me, however, I loved every single plot line. This read had me smiling, laughing, and crying at times. I can’t wait to buy this when it comes out! Read This If You Love: - First Love Tropes - Real issues in a fantasy world - Plus size MCs *CONTENT WARNING* Anxiety, Bullying, Depression Thank you to Wattpad Books and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Lori has had a tough couple of years. Her parents have gone through a nasty divorce, her mom has become a woman she doesn’t recognize and she has become the primary caregiver to her Autistic you get brother. When her mom uproots the to Cape Town Lori’s inner bullies come to the surface and she is sure no one in this picture perfect community will accept her. That all changes when she begins to accept herself and not let those inner bullies call her fat and ugly, and the cute guy showing interest doesn’t hurt either. Intimately this is a book about finding yourself, living life for yourself and allowing you to take up all the space you need (literally and figuratively) to be happy. I loved the authors description of Zak, Lori’s differently abled son, and how strong their bond was. A great read!
I love reading Lori’s growth throughout the book through relatable language and a plot that’s often overlooked. Through art, and the help of her therapist, Lori transforms her mindset to self-acceptance. She exhibits that beauty is truly starts from within. Her story made me think of a quote from flights- “before helping others, put on your own mask.” Lori finally did that and I celebrated with her.
This was a wonderful journey into the battle most teen girls face to learn to love themselves. Realistically, our main character, Lorri, is full of self loathing and negativity towards her body. She adores her brother and rarely resents being his primary caretaker. Set in South Africa, yet a story for every girl in every corner of the world. The characters have depth to them, even the ones only mentioned in passing, and what could easily have become a grouping of cliches never manages to do so. The neurodiversity of her brother is portrayed accurately and lovingly. I will be highly recommending this book to all young women as well as those more senior of us who have yet to learn to love ourselves. Well done.
This book is honestly so good. It exceeded all my expectations. This book is about Lori palmer and her life. Her struggles with being plus size, and her family dynamic. It focuses on her relationships with her mom, her dad, her brother Zac (who is neuro diverse), a guy named jake and her friends. This books deals with heart hitting topics like panic attacks, bullying, body image, anxiety, broken families, addiction, ADHD and much more. Our main character deals with many issues that alot of us can relate with. Her brother being neuro diverse takes up more of her family's attention and that leaves her in a hard spot. The book discusses that as well. What I loved about our MC was her character development. Her growth was really subtle and she took a whole 180. She gives hope to girls out there that we can be whatever we want. She's an artist, a damn good one. This story is about her gaining confidence, in herself and in her art. The arc is just phenomenally done Our main love interest was the sweetest and the romance was really cute. Their love was so pure and wholesome. They were each others rock, they had each other back and they were everything. The definition of a healthy relationship. The relationship between Lori and Zac was just so pure. They loved each other and I love for some good sibling moments. Their scenes actually bought me to tears a number of times. Also, Jake's relationship with her sister, Lisa, was really cute too. And also Lisa and Zac's friendship was adorbs. The only thing I'm kinda iffy about is the representation of therapy in the book. From what I know real therapist don't go out giving advices and stuff. And the overall act of the therapist just didn't sit right with me idk why. Seemed a little unrealistic. But apart from that, this was a solid book. A 4.5🌟 for me.
I would say I read this book in one sitting, but part of adulting is getting a reasonable amount of sleep to be productive the next day (so it was two sessions, and I was quite resentful to have to put the book down for something as mundane as sleep). Lori was me in high school (only way more talented, and a much nicer sibling). This book focuses on self-love, which I think is the hardest love to achieve. I wish EVERYONE could read this story. This story would help people struggling with weight anxieties, and help others understand the anxieties attached to being labeled "plus size". My favorite quote was probably the "You know, Amber, sometimes us fat girls do get the hot guys." This book is great for fans of Dumplin' or ABC Family's Huge. Another amazing part of the story is the focus on having a sibling with autism--making this one of the more unique YA books I've read this year.
As a big girl myself, I really resonated with this story. I felt that Lori's struggle to find her worth despite the number on the scales was honest and believable. Some might say that she was overly preoccupied with her size but, when you are a larger size, everything does have to go through that filter. Everything from how you sit to ensure you don't get pins and needles to under-boob sweat and shopping. I loved her relationship with her gay friends back in Joburg as well as the growing friendship with Thembi someone who, despite appearances, also had her own problems. It was a great way to point out that not even skinny people have perfect lives. My favourite thing, though, was her relationship with her autistic brother and how she had almost lived her entire life around him. It was honest about her experiences with him and the lack of affection that she craved because of his diagnosis. Her step into finding her own voice was a great tale to read and I had a hard time letting go of the story once it was done. Genuinely enjoyed.
Thank you to NetGallley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book. I thought this novel was a sweet coming of age story. It wasn't too complicated or drawn out, and it didn't focus on the main character changing to become someone she wasn't or losing weight to fit in. Instead, it was about growth and acceptance.
Thank you, Netgalley, for the opportunity to read an arc version of this book! Big Boned focuses on Lori Patty Palmer, an artistic 17-year-old who has recently moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town. She misses city life and recognizes that her family is moving to provide a more supportive environment for her 9-year-old brother, Zac (who is on the autism spectrum), and to help her Mom expand her business. As the title suggests, Lori is on the heavier side. Some of the language at the start of the book could be triggering to folks navigating body image (ex. "my pale, flabby thighs that touch, my stomach that oozed..those flappy bits of fat on your arms that jiggle when you wave at people"). However, Lori does grow throughout the book! There are a lot of humorous moments throughout this book (ex. "...he was stupidly good looking. The kind of good looking that should not be allowed to exist in nature. It was almost unnatural. As if he was the product of some secret CRISPR experiment), and it is ultimately a feel-good, body-positive, therapy-positive book. Some of the writing feels disjointed, and as though one more round of editing could make it feel smoother, but the actual plot and characters -- love it. I would gratefully add a copy to my classroom library.
Big Boned by Jo Watson is a must read!!!! Full of laughter, love and heart ache this book isn’t just for ‘big boned’ girls it’s for anyone who has ever felt different and like they deserved less. I couldn’t put it down and it will be a highly recommended book for me to all women everywhere!
Such a sweet book with many amazing messages. This book is such an inspiration with many inspiring messages about self-love, determination, loving your body and how it's a work of art, being who you are and so much more. It was really nice to read and inspire you from what the character was going through as well. Having a plus size MC is very inspiring to witness, we all want to see someone like us in a book or movie and books like this are the best representation for that. There is also the commentary of autism and people that have autism or are on the autism spectrum. There are so many great messages in this book that I can't even name them all, but seeing them represented in a YA is very amazing to see and I'm glad I read this book. Also, love the cover! Thank you to NetGalley and Wattpad books for the earc in return for an honest review.
Big Boned is an Own Voices YA book that has many wonderful messages about loving yourself and your body and embracing who you are. I love the representation of a larger character in YA fiction. The main characters brother also has autism and there is positive representation of those on the spectrum. Overall an uplifting read for all.
I LOVED this book. I thought it was lighthearted, but also made me incredibly emotional. Lori was a great main character and I enjoyed that she was a plus sized girl. It's incredibly important for people to see that representation in books and I resonated a lot with her and what she struggled with. I thought she was witty and so so funny. This was a really cute contemporary focusing on great friendships, healing and loving yourself and learning and understanding your own independence and value. I also thought Jo Watson did a fantastic job, not only with the plus sized representation, but with the mental health and disability rep as well. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled with their confidence and knowing their worth. I think Lori's growth and development throughout the book was magnificent and I can't wait for other people to read her story.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.. This is the story of Lori, a 17-year-old who finds herself living in a completely unknown world with her mother and autistic brother. After being suddenly uprooted from her art school, she moves from her comforting city life to the beaches of cape town in order for her brother to attend a school that will fit his needs. With a new home and new school, friends are hard to come by.... enemies are not. Lori quickly makes an enemy out of the most popular girl in school, Amber. While picking up her brother from school, she is surprised to see that Jake, "the popular guy" chatting with her brother. Turns out he volunteers there, as well as having a sister that attends the school. This is the story of Lori learning to see herself through new eyes and experience life at its fullest... with a bit of romance and body positivity here and there.... It was a wonderful story about a younger girl stuck in a strange place trying her best to find herself and appreciate her own beauty despite her size. As a woman who has also struggled with her appearance, I hold this book so close to my heart. Its, unlike other 'body positive" books that simply tell the main character that she is beautiful. Lori realizes she's beautiful from herself, and I think that is just perfect. She struggled with herself just like any other girl would, and slowly worked towards healing then loving. There was this part in the book that really hit me where the therapist, Vickie, asks Lori (don't quote me on this plz) 'who is saying that?" (as in who is saying these terrible things about you.) And Lori realized that no one had.. The hurtful words that she had been telling herself had never actually been said to her, and that was a huge moment of self-reflection (for Lori and me as well.) I realized that this was something I struggled with and I felt like the book was a reflection of my feelings and thoughts. (Now moving onto the fewer self-reflection bits of the review aha) I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It showed the struggled of not being a "body type," along with having a family member with a disability, and a neglectful mother in a simple and respectful way. There were heartful moments as well as humorous ones that made me want to know more and more... Truly this is a quick read I recommend to everyone, definitely a book I would've wanted to read when I was younger.
Disclaimer: I won’t speak on the plus sized or autism representation in this book because I am neither plus sized nor autistic. Content Warning: body shaming/fat shaming, ableism, anxiety, panic attacks, drowning(flashback), divorce “I'm just saying that your fears are stopping you from having the things in life that you want and deserve." Synopsis: This book is about a 17 year old Lori Palmer’s journey towards self-love. She has recently moved to Cape Town, Suth Africa with her mom and brother. There, she meets Jake, a volunteer at her brother’s school as well as a student at Bay Water High, the local high school. We get to see Lori navigate her relationship with herself, her newly divorced mother, and with Jake. Characters: All the characters in this book were very lovable(aside from the antagonist ofc). We get to see Lori grow so much in this book with the help of her friends and she’s truly an inspiring character. I’m a sucker for nice love interests, so of course I was going to love Jake. He was the ultimate “man written by a woman.” His friendship with Lori feels so true and real and I love how we got to see them grow closer and closer. Plot: The plot of this book was definitely not lacking in substance. I love how we get to see Lori’s passion for art transform into something real and have it connect to her journey of self-love. The more and more you read, the more you get to appreciate the depth of the plot. The book does take a while to get into, but after you do, it’s a really quick read. Conclusion: I will admit that I have read the author’s other books on Wattpad and now I’m going to have a hard time picking my favorite. Jo Watson is a master of fun rom-coms but she still manages to tread on some heavy topics. I was afraid that this book was going to become a book about male validation but it was far from that. This book has an important message of accepting the love that we deserve and we get to see Lori grow on her own.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an egalley for review. Wow, Big Boned by Jo Watson is the teen romance that has been missing from my life. Lori is a big a girl and yes, she is bullied terribly for it, but instead of every interaction being about her and her weight, we also get to see her art, her relationship with her parents and her relationship with her brother. Her brother is the neurodiverse character in the story and he is a joy, not a burden, which is also refreshing to read about. Interactions with mental health care providers are nurturing and supportive and the budding romance may or may not continue, but Lori’s healthier relationship with herself definitely will. So much drama, will a satisfying, realistic conclusion.
I cannot rave enough about this book! The representation is amazing, in places that young adult books are usually lacking, The main character Lori is a plus size girl in a new high school that is just trying to feel comfortable in her own skin. To add to that Lori's brother is autistic, rarely in YA do you get to see the struggles of a sibling of someone that is neurodivergent. The struggles that Lori goes through are some of the most relatable and realistic I have read in a YA book to date. She isn't in a expensive private school worrying about being the most popular girls with the most money, she is going through struggles that are very real to many YA readers. I will be making this on of my books of the week for my students once is comes out in paperback and can't wait for them to meet Lori!
cw: low self esteem, fat shaming, fat talk, etc. Thank you to Wattpad Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Lori’s parents just got divorced, and now her mom is moving them away from her friends and great school to a new city where she’s, you guessed it, the new girl. Lori is sure that no one here is like her—she’s fat, and all her classmates seem perfect. So when the resident hottie, Jake cultivates a friendship with her, she KNOWS it is only for the sake of their siblings who have forged a bond. But maybe he does like her. At least a little bit. As friends? And while all this is happening, she is finally getting to know herself as an artist, developing a voice she didn’t know she had, and growing so much as a person. To be honest, I did not think I was going to like this one at the beginning. There was a lot of triggering self hate coming from Lori. I struggle with my weight as I’m sure many readers of this book do, and as someone who has actively been trying to stop being so mean to myself, it was hard to get through. Luckily, Lori finds a great new therapist (yay!) and it became slightly less of a “thing” as the story evolved. She’s not perfect at the end, and neither am I. But it definitely improves and I think the story is probably worth it. Jake is absolutely swoonworthy, and the growth that Lori undergoes is important and well written. If you’re on the fence, I would give it a try. Just be very aware of the cw going in. 4/5 stars
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I thought this was a wonderful coming of age story and I loved how it kept me at the edge of my seat with every page and chapter. The representation in this book is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I enjoyed this book. It was funny, romantic, and sentimental. Theis book made a personal connection with me. Firstly, the titled “Big Boned” capture my attention. We often hear ourselves or loved ones refer to one another with these tow words based on our physical feature. And since I can relate to it, I picked it up through NetGalley. I felt the author wrote this book for me or for people who are like me, but it is such an inspirational book that anyone can read. The author did a wonderful job in researching mental disease that are mentioned and the importance it is to understand them. The writing style is not that complicated It is easily to understand and easy to follow. The development of the protagonist was amazing, and I found myself cheering for her. Thank you for netGalley and Wattpad books for allowing me to read this book.
"The bullying hasn’t really stopped, has it? Except you’re the one bullying yourself this time." Oof, I felt that quote. As someone who is fat, I was excited to read a book where the MC is someone I can relate to. I WISH this book was around when I was in high school (a million years ago). This gives a REAL deep dive into Lori's life as a 17 year old trying to survive; her life isn't perfect, and that was refreshing to read..
Thanks to Wattpad + Netgalley for the e-ARC of BIG BONES by Jo Watson, expected pub date September 21, 2021. Obviously, all thoughts/feelings are my own. I went into this one solely based on the cover and my expectations were exceeded. Big Boned is chock full of heart, emotion, and all the complexities life has to offer. Lori's story is a coming of age one that I am so glad was told and one I hope makes its way into so many others hearts.
Thanks to NetGalley for selecting me to read this book. I LOVED this book...finished it in one sitting. I'm not going to lie; YA books about girls with body positivity issues are a guilty pleasure of mine. I was rooting for Lori the whole way, cheering for her every step of the way. It was reassuring to watch her struggle with her own 'inner bully', knowing that we all have that voice inside us that is filled with doubt and insecurities about ourselves.
My favourite quote - I am a work of art, My body is a masterpiece I loved reading about Lori self-discovery of self-love. she has anxiety which has been developed from years of bullying. Lori has made a big move away from her school and her art center town her brother is a big part of her life especially since he's been diagnosed with autism She finds new friends, new ways to express herself, and self-love Lori is dealing with a lot of changes - and she doesn't do well with change. the main point is she needs to learn no longer to bully herself in her head. I just loved this story. I loved that Lori and Jake ended up together but her plans for Paris didn't change because of that cause life is ever-changing Just a great coming of age story
This book will 100% make its way into our classroom library--my students would love it. Divorce, change, body image, and anxiety, growing up will all relate to my students. I know I would've loved this book growing up. For me at 31, it felt very YA, but the themes are definitely universal despite age.
This dive into the inner thoughts of a self conscious high school girl definitely took me back to my own days in high school, and made me take a look at my own inner critic now too. Lori Palmer is the new girl at Bay Water High, having recently moved to the area with her mother and her brother. Lori is artistic, and used to life at her old school surrounded by other artistic and creative students. But at her new school, it seems like everyone is picture perfect with magazine style and skinny, perfect bodies. Lori immediately feels like she doesn’t fit in, and she struggles to feel comfortable. When she meets Jake, the popular jock, she finds herself drawn to him and the parts of him that other people don’t get to see. Because it turns out his life isn’t as picture perfect as it seems either. The story explores the ways that Lori struggles with her inner critic, the opinions of others, and her own crumbling relationship with her mother, as well as how the lives of those around her aren’t as perfect as they appear. I liked how the story touched on themes of trauma, bullying, infidelity, violence against women, and learning to be comfortable in your own skin. The work that Lori does with her therapist offers a great metaphor that I will definitely think about long after closing the book. This is a great read for young adults and adults alike, and it will remind readers to ignore the cruel voices in their head and celebrate what makes them special.
Can I just say how hyped I am for this body positivity contemporary ya novel? I am halfway through it and loving it already! As someone who isn’t exactly a size 2 or fits into society norms I resonate with the MC so much and adore that this is not only an own voice novel but also a romance novel as well!
Review Locations Goodreads: July 27, 2021 Storygraph: July 27, 2021 TikTok @meghanlew_: July 27, 2021 Okay this book was such a fun and quick read for me. I don’t know how to describe it but this book just makes me smile. I have been fat for basically all my life and while I personally did not relate to the main characters struggles as a fat person, I know many fat people who do. So personally I think the fat rep was good. While I didn’t relate to all of the main characters struggles I still really felt for her and loved seeing her grow. Most people have a time in their life with they have to learn to love themselves. I did like the romance aspect of it and I loved that it didn’t take over the main characters journey or self love. Lastly the pacing was great I never felt like the writing lingered on one scene for to long. A lot of times when a book has a lot of self reflective moments they can drag on forever, but hat was not the case here. I also think the main characters path to self love was done well in the sense that it wasn’t a straight line and it didn’t happen instantly.
I wish I had this book when I was in middle/high school. I would have (secretly!) loved it, and it would've given me the representation I needed, as a kid who had disordered eating and pretty intense self-hatred. I really appreciated how authentic Lori's inner voice is, and while I know she came across as whiny and annoying sometimes, I mean.. yeah, that's kind of how it goes as a self-loathing teen, you know? They/we can be pretty whiny and annoying. I also appreciated the representation of children/siblings with neurological differences. I think it was done well, and handled with care. "We don't get Jake Jones-Evans - star water polo player, hottest guy at school - unless we're in the pages of some unrealistic YA book that totally throws social conventions out the window and sets itself in this totally made-up world where fat girls win and the guy looks past all her cellulite and sees the girl inside. We don't get that." This was followed by a great response from Lori's therapist, and then went into a slight detour about body positivity.. all of it felt very real and emotional, and the author should be proud to have been able to put these thoughts on paper in a way that could resonate so well. That being said, I appreciate that Lori had a lot more on her journey than just the romance story arc. Reading about her coming into herself as a friend, sister, and artist was really heartwarming. This is definitely a book I would put in my middle school classroom library (if it didn't have the sexual content! in which case, I'd save it for high school at least - the main character is 17, so this age range is better suited for the book due to that content - otherwise, it'd be great for middle school too).
Lori Palmer’s life is upended after her parents divorce and her mom de idea to move them from Johannesburg to Capetown so her brother can attend a special school. Her brother is on the spectrum and her mom wanted the best schools and most advantages she could give him. Her mother’s motives weren’t all about her brother though. She also wanted a new start, a new career and a re-branding now that she was a single mom. No one considered Lori and how it would be for her to leave her art school and her friends.she had carved a niche out for herself and now she had to leave it all. What made matters even worse they were moving to a place where the beach was king. And Lori hated the water, hated bathing suits and mostly hated her body. Lori has to navigate all these issues and more as she starts school and a new life. Can she belong in a place where she feels so out of place? This is the story of a girl trying to overcome all kinds of obstacles but the main one is the image she has of herself due to the constant bullying and belittling she has had to endure. It is a story of courage, self-acceptance and finding your own way even when the road blocks are many. *I received this ARC from Metgalley in exchange for a fair review.
I loved the messages that this book contained: it is ok to be you, it is ok to not be skinny, you can love yourself no matter what you look like. I loved the protagonist's journey of coming to love herself. Highly recommend!
4.5/5 ⭐️ This book is a story about a high school girl, Lori, who is a size 16 and deeply insecure about her body. She has to move to a new city and new school, and ends up in Cape Town.🌊☀️ She gets really hung up on everyone in the school being more “bikini body ready” than her. And it’s hard not to empathize with her; the narratives she tells herself about her body and how it indicates her lower worth, is sad because it feels familiar. But this book is really about Lori taking back control of her life. She loves her little brother, Zac, but due to him being autistic, she does a lot of caring for him, taking on more responsibility than one high-schooler should. However, Zac helps her make friends with Jake, the most popular guy in school, since his sister is friends with Zac. Lori slowly starts realizing that the only person judging her body - is her. She’s her own worst critic. She goes through this realization and begins to focus on her art, which is her passion.🌺 Yes, there’s a cute guy, and there’s some teenage flirting happening, but ultimately this book is about Lori coming to the realization that she’s great, just the way she is, even if she’s the last person to see it. ✨Thank you to Netgalley and Wattpad Books for a free copy of the ebook, in exchange for my honest review.✨
Lori Palmer has a lot on her plate - her parents are divorced, she spends a lot of time looking after her autistic brother, she had to move away from her hometown and her beloved art school. There's a lot going on in this novel but it's never heavy handed - body positivity, therapy, finding your voice, being part of a family, self-acceptance. Lori is relatable and lovable. I enjoyed the setting of South Africa which is something you don't see a lot.
I adore this book. As a plus-size person, I identified with so many of the main character’s experiences and her emotions - I hope to see more books like this!
This book follows Lori as she navigates a new school while suffering from anxiety and feeling insecure about her weight and not knowing how she could fit in to her new picture perfect surroundings. I absolutely LOVED Lori as a character and enjoyed her complexity. She doesn’t always say the right things or make the best choice but she learns from it. It takes time for her to unlearn her inner “bully”and I appreciate the author taking her time with this aspect. There is WONDERFUL representation for what a healthy professional therapeutic relationship should look like. My favorite parts of the book were Vicki and Lori’s sessions. The book also portrays the complicated feelings of having a sibling on the spectrum and Zac was another fully fleshed out part of the story. One last notable character was Jake—who I thought was just the sweetest for Lori😌 I wish the plot was more streamlined—it felt like it was going a few different ways all at once. That’s the only reason this isn’t 5 stars but so close! Thank you NetGallery for the ARC in exchange for an honest review 🌺
Wow!!! I loved this story and the many elements that make for a compelling narrative where I fully empathize with the main character. There are many topics covered well throughout this novel, which include: mental health and body image struggles, neuroatypical representation, and family trauma. I was not expected this YA story to have such depth and meaningful moments feature the main character and I was not disappointed. Big Boned features a plus-size young artist and high school senior, Lori Palmer who moves from a bustling city to a small coastal town that is better equipped to take care of her autistic brother. Lori sacrifices her entire life for the betterment of her younger brother Zac, which I found very moving. I loved their relationship and how you can clearly feel how much she cares and loves her little brother. While getting used to her new school environment Lori feels utterly alone, invisible, and undeniably different because of her appearance. She has struggled with her bigger appearance for a long time and has experienced bullying in the past. I thought Lori's depiction of body image and anxiety struggles was honestly and realistically depicted. Lori's entire perspective changes when she realizes her classmate, Jake who is a handsome water polo athlete also has a younger sibling on the spectrum and is neuroatypical. Lori is able to intimately connect and share her private thoughts and experiences with another person who does not judge and is able to see all the beauty and grace she has to offer. My favorite aspect of this story was seeing Lori's relationship with Jake progress and seeing how sweet and earnest their interactions were. Another fun aspect was seeing Lori's art grow and change as she became more comfortable with herself. Overall, this story pleasantly surprised me and I think it is a relevant story because of the many issues it tackles in a realistic and relatable manner. I loved reading Lori's growth and was so proud of her.
Wattpad typically has this stigma of having bad/cringey books but this book certainly did not dissapoint. It was a loveable story with a loveable main character. I read this book in one sitting and absolutely adored it.
BIG BONED follows plus sized Lori Palmer as she navigates life in Clifton, away from her homeland of Joburg, where she quickly realises she is far different from the perfect, chiseled, tanned bodies attending her new highschool. Although it can be called a romance, this book is SO MUCH MORE than that, it highlights a number of issues, such as body-shaming, anxiety, bullying, struggles of having an autistic family member, even flawed relationships with one's parents, which only make the story all the more realistic because being a teen never comes easy - insecurities, familial struggles, pressures regarding the future, you name it! We've all been there or in my case, still stuck there 😂. So personally I admired a flawed, messy YA protagonist. One of the things I best liked, about Lori as a character, is that she feels a lot, which is acutely represented in the book. Lori often let's her emotions do the talking, when hurt, angry or in love, she lets her art run wild, which even got her media coverage and eventually led to her realising the power her voice/her art holds. The romance aspect of this story was strong, Jake was cute but the star of the show's got to be Lori's relationship with her younger brother, even her growing friendship with Thembi and the guys from back home. Also props to her amazing therapist (she almost reminded me of Stormy rain, anyone else?) and her plant analogies which even made it to the cover. The ending, albeit a bit abrupt & confusing, felt somewhat satisfactory, as in I'm proud of Lori for choosing her passions & ambitions over a guy and even her own brother. My only issue with this book is that, the gradual process of going from hating your body to being comfortable with it was almost instantaneous, with regard to this story. I did appreciate that, the cute words from her little brother triggered Lori to stop seeing herself using a skewed lense, but... you don't really go from mentally bullying yourself to advocating for your body within the span of two chapters, now do you? With that being said, as much as I enjoyed a YA voice from Watson, I much prefer her adult books, but will read, right about anything she publishes next. A big thanks to Wattpad books & Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of this book, which I voluntarily read & reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Jo Watson & Wattpad for the opportunity to read this! This book will be published on September 21st! "Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear" - I needed this book in middle and high school and yes even as an adult. I do not think I highlighted as many quotes in a book as I had with this one. This is a story about a high schooler Lori who is moved from her home in Johannesburg to Capetown. Lori had to start over in her senior year, going from an art school to a sports filled world at Bay Water High where surfing and bodyboarding were activities. She immediately felt like she stuck out like a sore thumb and tried her best to hide. Lori's mother moved her and her brother Zac to Capetown because Zac is on the spectrum and the best school was located there. Lori's parents are divorced after her dad was found having an affair with a much younger co worker. The whole divorce has caused a strain on her relationship with her parents. Lori is the maternal figure in Zac's life. While picking up Zac at his school, Lori spots the hot, popular boy from her school Jake with the kids at the school. Turns out he not only volunteers there once a week but his sister goes there and has become friends with Zac. In Lori's head, there is no way she can have a crush on Jake because guys like Jake doesn't end up with girls like her. It's so obvious as a reader to see how Jake feels about Lori, but Lori herself doesn't see them herself and denies that there is no way he could be into her. This voice is in her head is present throughout most of the book and many times I wanted to shake her. Lori grows up so much over the course of this book and really comes into her own by the end. I am so very proud of the woman she had become. This is my first book set in South Africa and I loved the references to the country. It sounds absolutely beautiful and now I need to see the bioluminescent waves in my lifetime. I also loved how open the talk about mental health and seeing a therapist was in this book. Lori wasn't embarrassed at the idea of going and knows that it helps her and it did in fact help her. As I said in the beginning, I needed this book growing up and even as an adult it is a reminder to love your body. Love what has provided so much for you over the years. Stop bullying yourself and giving in to the voices in your head. Also I need to start buying succulents.
A fun YA read that seamlessly weaves in more complex and important themes. This book has a plus size heroine and includes representation related to therapy, complex family dynamics, autism, body bias and bullying. Well written and evenly paced by an OWNVoices author. A great message for readers of all ages.
"These things are amazing, they're designed to survive and regrow, no matter how they've been broken." With my whole heart I wish this book had been around when I was growing up. I grew up in the toxic competitive dance environment where you were praised and complimented more the skinnier you were, which led to a lot of eating disorders, confidence issues. and overall me hating myself growing up and it is still something that has carried into adulthood for me. So I really appreciate this book, as similar to Lori there are times where I just hate my body. I think that this is something that is hard especially for a girl when we are in the generation where filters exist so there is a comparison to things that in reality aren't even real. The author hit the nail on the head with the issues this can have on a girls confidence and the negative toll it can take day to day. I adore the therapist, and Zac and thing they bring a lot of nurturing and substance to the story. I think that as females a lot of times we have this notion that the less space we take up the more feminine or attractive we are, so I am so glad that authors such as Jo are writing books that can help girls embrace their bodies even if that means embracing a body that is outside "societies standards" I truly enjoyed Big Boned and think that it is more than just a fun read.
This book was a 4/5 star read for me,i did enjoy it and the way that the main character isn’t your stereotypical slim popular girl but rather a bigger and more realistic girl. It also shows what goes on in her mind when it comes to her choosing what to wear and the way her body looks. I also loved the fact that Jake and Thembi along with her therapist help Lori to feel more comfortable in her own skin and helped her to love herself which shows major character development. The way the issues are portrayed: anxiety attacks,autism,divorce,being fat etc are done really well and help you get a better understanding of these things and how others deal with them. All in all I am very grateful for Net Galley for accepting my request for this arc in exchange for an honest review and I would definitely recommend this book.
BIG BONED is a book about finding your self-worth and realizing you don't need the opinions of others to validate you. I adored this book. Lori was a relatable character even if you don't consider yourself to be a "big" girl. Her parent's divorce is a big topic and so is her brother, Zac, who was diagnosed with Autism. I'm sure many people could see themselves in Lori - I know I could. My parents are also divorced and I understand how hard that can be for a young woman. Watson's quirky writing takes on the form of Netflix's NEVER HAVE I EVER and an old favorite LIZZIE MCGUIRE, which means girls and women my age would really enjoy this book. My only concern is that the side-arch of Lori's accidental activism - when she uses her street paintings to make people pay attention - felt random? I understand why Lori did it; in those moments she felt she couldn't control what was happening and painting for her brings a sense of understanding and a way for her to work through her emotions. But that's not what the paintings ended up inspiring. Not to say what they were ultimately seen for - bringing awareness to gender-based crimes in South Africa - isn't something to talk about but it didn't feel like it fit in with the overall story. We don't know how Lori continued her activism once she got to her school in Paris. Overall, a very funny and essential book for YA readers. Adults shouldn't sleep on this either.
This book follows protagonist Lori Palmers transition from the City life of glamorous Johannesburg to the coastal Cape town. It isn’t an easy one and that’s when we get to see Lori in all her glory (quite literally!) This book really is a coming of age story and discovering one’s inner self love. Without going into to much detail I really did relate a lot to Lori what with having an autistic sibling as well as trying to learn how to love my body. I really enjoyed her relationships with all the other characters in the book, it just made it that much better. But not only that but the story in general really hit deep and covered a lot of topics and I felt that Jo did an amazing job at making it flow and making it make sense. Topics covered are bullying, body positivity, mental health/therapy, trauma just to name a few and they were written in a positive light and how Lori was dealing with all this in her life. I have to say she has really grown as the story progressed and I couldn’t help but constantly cheer for her! Whilst I really did enjoy the ending (my heart!) I would really love it if we could see how Lori is finding art school in Paris, possibly life after she completes it? That would be such an awesome read! Overall If I do say so myself this is probably one of my favourite reads of 2021 – it’s everything I’ve needed in a book these past few years.
Big Boned is a story about healing, complex relationships with parents, nurturing, and first love. Lori Palmer has overcome a lot of things in life, yet she’s her own worst enemy. You will follow her on her journey to become her own best friend, and learn to love herself for who she is. You’ll root for her from the moment you first meet her until you finish her story. This is such a great book and highly recommended reading for anyone. Big thanks to Jo Watson, Wattpad Books, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. Publish date: September 21, 2021 #BigBoned #NetGalley
This book was so sweet and wholesome! I genuinely enjoyed our main character and reading from a 'bigger' person's perspective. You don't often see that lately and it's pretty important in my opinion.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Big Boned follows Lori Palmer as she switches to a different high school for her Senior year. Leaving the open and accepting halls of her former arts high school is difficult, particularly for Lori, who's been bullied and scorned in the past for her weight. She knows the only way she'll make it through her last year is to blend in, but that's easier said than done. As Lori navigates her broken home, her future as an artist, friendships, and caring for her brother, we get to watch her finally find her voice. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It centers a lot on the concept of self-love, and about being your fullest self without allowing others to tear you down. We spend a lot of time with Lori while she's in her therapist's office, learning the difficult lesson of being kind to herself. I loved these moments, the way that her therapist gave Lori tools for being kinder to herself and talked her through her insecurities and into loving herself. I also appreciated how this book wasn't just about a fat girl. It was also about autism, and ADHD, and divorce, and parenthood, and social justice, and the beauty in broken things. I came to the page with certain expectations, and the book far exceeded those expectations. I think this book may be quite difficult for plus-sized readers in some parts. While Lori's story and struggles are relatable, she really is not kind to or accepting of herself for the bulk of the novel. She gets there, in the end, but the struggle to get there may be triggering for readers who have gone through similar experiences, whether saying/doing those things to themselves or being bullied using that particular language/those tactics. Lori has a lot of trauma, and Jo Watson doesn't hold back in being honest and genuine about that trauma.
YES. I have been waiting for something like this. I absolutely loved it and felt very seen as a plus sized woman.
Wow... When I picked up this book at first, I thought it was going to be a relatable story about a big girl in a skinny world. Turns out it was that plus so much more. Lori is such a relatable character for me. I've had a lot of similar experiences to her and at some parts I felt like the author had seen a younger me, made her a red head and put her in South Africa instead of Scotland and told parts of my story. I know there's a world of Lori's out there, and I think this book would be a great read for people who feel the way Lori does. Lori has wonderful growth and character development and it felt really natural. Sometimes she took two steps back before she took a baby step forward, and that made her so believable as a character. The love she has for her brother (but also the fact that she can be honest about how his condition affects her) really shows what a lovely character she is. I really enjoyed reading the development/detoriation between her and the other characters. I was hooked from page one! The other issues raised in this book are poignant and tastefully represented. I applaud the author for the delicacy around the subject. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
This is the YA book I wish I had read when I was a teenager! It's a really fantastic take on loving yourself, body positivity, and healthy relationships, as a teen. I also loved how the book normalized therapy. Even as the middle aged woman I currently am, I enjoyed the therapy sessions in the book, a good reminder to love ourselves first. We all also know I have a soft spot for teenage romance, and this one is so cute! It's definitely written for the YA audience though, so don't expect anything more than that. I highly recommend this book for teens, especially teens who are struggling with finding themselves, or dealing with body image issues. I also want to add that teenage me would definitely have given 5⭐s!
Lori Palmer is the new girl at Bay Water High. She misses her old school―where her talent as an artist carried more weight than she does.So Lori decides that the only way to survive the rest of the year is to blend into the background, but when she ends up befriending the most popular (and hottest) guy at Bay Water High, Jake. When old anxieties resurface, Lori uses her art as release and unknowingly ignites a movement. When the authorities start asking questions, Lori realizes that finding her voice might have gotten her into a world of trouble…but sometimes standing up for what you believe in is as important as standing up for yourself. I really enjoyed this coming-of-age story. The romance was really cute too. However, this story focused more on Lori and her emotional journey on learning to love herself. This book touches on Lori's anxiety and also shows a new perspective of being the sibling of somebody on the spectrum. I also enjoyed reading about Lori's art as well. The characters were great and I enjoyed Lori's new friendship with Thembi and her relationship with Jake. Overall, this book was an enjoyable and heartwarming read.
I went into this book expecting it to be a cute contemporary, which it was. However this book ended up being so much more. Some of the topics this YA tackled was being fat, having anxiety, divorce, bullies, and so much more. Lori Palmer is fat and hates everything about her body. She has two best friends who she loves and attends an art school that accepts her. That is until her mom finds a school in Cape Town that is better suited to take care of her autistic brother. Lori if forced to attend BWH where everyone is perfect and she doesn’t fit in. Lori starts to change her perspective of not only herself but Cape Town itself with the help of Jake a hot water polo player from her school. Lori stole my heart and I was routing for her to have her romcom ending throughout the whole book. Loris struggles with her body image, and anxiety was depicted beautifully and hit so close to home with me. I enjoyed Lori’s relationship with her brother Zac also. It was so touching how much she cared for him and did everything she could to make him as comfortable as possible. Overall this book gave me everything I needed wrapped up in a pretty bow. This was my first book by Jo Watson and I will definitely be picking up some of her other romances.
That was a fun, one-day read. Loved the South African setting, I could've used more in that area or more language thrown in. Anxiety is forefront but the romance is just sweet, and some LGBT and autism thrown in there as well. Great characters. And the art oh my, I am loving the trend of these talents main characters are having of late like in Furia or How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe. But keep the art coming, I'm excited to see what else will emerge.
“Big Boned” by Jo Watson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Genre: Young Adult contemporary Release Date: 9/21/21 Thank you Netgalley for this ARC! I enjoyed every minute of it! It was very relatable! Personally dealing with self acceptance and loving yourself is very real. I also have a five year old with Autism, so I could relate to some of Lori’s struggles. Lori Palmer is spending her senior year as the new girl at Bay Water High, where the most beautiful and athletic attend. To her this means the opposite of who she is. She’s sad to leave her Art school in Joburg, South Africa, but she knows this move is for her brother to attend the best school. Lori is still coping with her parents divorce and now she has to start over the year before college. What she wasn’t expecting was finding her true self over the next year. I loved that Lori’s character developed and blossomed through the story. She was very vulnerable and shared her insecurities. She also found her self worth and built some amazing new relationships. I was rooting for Lori, her art, and finding love!
This book has deeper meaning than you think. Yes, it is a romance... in high school. The main character, Lori, is an artist in Cape Town, South Africa far from her hometown of Johannesburg. Her art plays a huge role in this story as does her autistic brother and her being overweight. This book addresses body positivity, feelings of home sickness, family and high school drama. If you liked Dumplin', you should like this one.
I enjoyed reading this book. It's about a girl named Lori who faces society as being a fat person and doesn't feel comfortable in her own body. That is not the only thing she is facing but also her love life and family life are complicated. I enjoyed the author's writing in this book in the form of pacing and involving many real-life conflicts in the story. I felt that I can connect to the story and feel all the emotions the character is feeling which I have to say is a good thing. The plot structure was well done in the beginning but I do have to say that the ending kind of fell for me which I will explain later on in the review. I also want to say that the author did a great shop with showing plus-size women rep as there aren't many books out there that deal with everyday problems. The main character is Lori and I LOVED her story. She is such a powerful person who is better at explaining her life in art than in words. She is also such a great sister who has a brother with Autism and I love how much she supports him. I really enjoyed her character development in the book as she has been looking for happiness for a long time. I felt really connected to her as she is such a pure, well-written character. I also enjoyed the side characters in this book especially Thembi as she has struggled with not being able to also show her true self. The fact that the author showed other character's problems at home and made them involved in the story just made the whole book better because you don't really know what is happening in their lives unless you read their pov. Also, there is romance in this book which fell a little flat for me because I felt Lori went for the first guy who talked to her and I wish there was more personal growth in the beginning and then her finding a guy. The ending was ok as the beginning and middle were just amazing that I felt it needed an epic ending. Still, this book was amazing and I feel like we need more books like this. I did have some minor problems with the writing but overall this book is just amazing. This book is a must-read to show that you aren't alone!
I found this book very unique! Loved the plot, characters, and author’s writing. I think the cover art goes well with the book and this is a book that every teen should read. I found it inspiring and I would recommend it to anyone that feels just a little lost in life.
I really enjoyed this book. I wish there had been more empowering, body positive books like this when I was a teen. So much of this story was relatable. I enjoyed the representation in this book.
YES! A MILLION TIMES YES! As a bigger girl, it is so hard to find books that I can relate to on a personal level and god this one nailed it right on the head. Watson's book reminds us that it's important to love who you are. We all have years to fall in love with someone else but we will always live with ourselves and it is so important to love ourselves. More than anything, I love the meaning behind this book and Watson's writing style is flawless! Can't wait to see what she brings us next!
I felt seen, understood, and represented in Big Boned. As a fat female, I will pretty much auto-read a book featuring a plus size female protagonist. While this one started out a bit slow for me, I ended up finishing over half of it in one sitting and spent the last chapters crying my eyes out. I wish I could have read it when I was younger, but I still appreciated it now. Our MC, Lori, has it all stacked against her: new city, new school, no friends, and leaving her dad behind as a result of a messy divorce. Lori feels like the only adult in her life, left to take care of the house, find her place in a new city, and the only one around to help her autistic brother, Zac. Lori is an artist. What she’s too afraid to say out loud, she brings to life in her art. As she begins to find her place in town, with the help of her new therapist (and other unsuspecting friends), Lori “blooms” into herself and begins to love herself. Recommended if you like: -YA romance -coming-of-age stories -art/fashion -social issues -plants/gardening -anxiety representation CW: fat-shaming, fatphobia, divroce, anxiety/panic attacks, ableism, bullying, adoption, neurodivergence, alcoholism, infidelity Thanks to Netgalley and Wattpad Books for my review copy. “Big Boned” is out 9/21!
The first thing I think you need to know about this book is I didn’t just like this book: I adored it. The second thing I think you need to know about this book is that it isn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be for me to adore it just how it is. The third you need to know? Don’t be fooled by this book being listed as a YA rom-com. Because I didn’t feel that’s an appropriate category label for this book and I think it does the book an injustice. “Big Boned” isn’t a YA rom-com. It’s a YA coming-of-age tale, sure. It’s a fish-out-of water trope, yes. It’s a story about the type of love only siblings can share, yes. It’s a story about a broken family and broken lives, for sure. It’s about how some kids have to learn to deal with too much too early and how it changes them, for sure. And, of course, it’s a story about learning to love and accept yourself, who you are, the power you wield, and the lessons you learn along the way more than anything else. Were there bits of levity to the book? Of course there were. If there weren’t then this book would’ve fallen into full-on drama or outright tragedy. But there is nothing light and fluffy about this book. It has weight to it. It has gravity to it. But that weight and gravity is there to serve a purpose, because this book deals with some rather complex issues, and it deals with them deftly and with a great deal of sensitivity. There is nothing in this book that feels like it was written without a great deal of thought given to it. Ms. Watson obviously took a great deal of time and care planning, researching, plotting, writing, and editing this novel, because in the end the whole thing just shines. I’m always interested in seeing how an author will approach writing about a topic such as autism or ADHD. Ms. Watson has one major character with autism and one minor character with ADHD in this book. The reason I care so much about this is because my older son has ADHD and my younger son has autism. And I must confess: the way in which Ms. Watson’s autistic character was written absolutely blew me away (and also made me cry at times, I won’t lie), because my son’s autism presented very similarly when he was younger (right down to similarly colored foods) and she handled the subject so well throughout the book I was a little choked up just by the fact that she made that effort. She did that work. She put in the time to write a realistic, wholly realized autistic character and didn’t then make him the center of the drama like so many other authors might be tempted to do. It was just so lovely that, as a mom of two special needs children, I want to thank Ms. Watson from the bottom of my very black heart. You guys, this book is fantastic. It has heart. It has a huge heart. It isn’t perfect. I think it could be trimmed up just a touch. I think the artistic references could be toned down just a little. But the writing is top-notch. The characters are endearing and realistic. The book has a voice and it has a lot to say. The cast is diverse and beautiful. Ms. Watson obviously has talent and I hope she keeps writing and writes more books like this, because I know I’d gladly read them!
OMG I used to have that inner voice that Lori has, that inner bully! She would pick apart the way I looked. She only tells me that I'm not the best employee or mother every once in a while but then I tell her to go clean something and she shuts up. Why do we have to judge friend worthiness and popularity on how skinny people are, their clothes, complexion, thigh gap etc? Lori has just moved to a new school in Cape Town so that her brother can go to a school that will be better for him and his needs. Her mother is going through lots of changes as a new divorced, single mom and has not been around and giving a lot of her motherly duties to Lori. Joining a new school when you already feel like you won't belong is rough especially going into senior year ugh. Lori is a very talented artist and she is trying to find her voice artistically and in her life. At her school the hottest guy Jake on the water polo team is just a dream and he happens to volunteer at the school her brother goes to. They start taking her brother and his sister on playdates which kind of turn into dates, maybe it's a gray area lol. Oh My! I loved Thembi, the super gorgeous popular girl who wanted to help Lori with designing a dress for her. That friendship, and Jake's attention and her therapist finally make her see that those a-holes at her last school that almost killed her and psychologically damaged her (TW) were wrong and she is worthy of everything everyone has! I just loved the end with all the heart to hearts, last straw speeches and grand reveals. It is so hard when you can't escape the worst bully because it's in your head. If anyone ever needs to talk about anything, please dm me. Life is hard, some people are Amber's and feel good making others feel bad about themselves but don't take them seriously especially if people say stuff with a sneer. Sneers are red flags. Up Thank you wattpad and netgalley for the e-ARC for honest and voluntary review.
I was given this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I settled into this book not sure how I would like it. As someone who is bigger, books that cover this subject matter are few. Jo Watson did a fantastic job at describing Lori’s own struggle with accepting her body. I adored Lori. She had a lot of trauma and I am thankful for the trigger warnings at the start of the book. I also loved Lori’s relationship with her brother Zac. I loved following Lori’s artistic journey as well. Let’s talk about Jake for a second. He’s the perfect guy honestly. He’s kind, attentive, athletic , attractive. He liked Lori for her personality and that huge I think. Overall, this book sends out a positive message. It’s important to love ourselves and Big Boned does just that.
Big Boned is a staple that should be part of every school library. Jo Watson was able to take many profound topics, dissect them, and empower the reader through them in this light and breezy read. Our protagonist Lori Palmer's entire life has been uprooted when she is forced to leave her hometown of Johannesburg following her parents' divorce. She finds herself in a picture perfect beach town, with the small problem being, she does not fit this picture. Everyone here is so polished and thin and "perfect". She is big, has a special needs brother, and is not someone that people want to hang out with. Especially not people like Jake, the hot athlete from school. Except maybe she is. Except maybe Jake volunteers to help kids with special needs, because his sister falls in that category and he is actually more than a shell of a human. Lori learns so much on her journey of self-love. She learns her self worth. She learns about her needs that have been neglected through the divorce, and finds her voice to express those needs. While the story is focused on Lori discovering her own voice, the author touches on many issues such as neglected needs of children that can happen through a divorce, autism, mental health, psychiatric diagnoses in general at a young age, alcoholism, the nasty shaming and bullying that accompany fat phobia, the dearth of resources for prototypical siblings of those with special needs, and the political issues that are part of South Africa. The author also touched on really important topics like safe sex in teenagers. The only thing I wish was different was the need for a guy to really show Lori her worth. It seems like even the greatest of stories still require a guy to rescue the heroine. I also wonder if this is because the main character is a teenager, so perhaps I wouldn't have minded that as much if I was closer to that age group. Overall, this was a great read and I highly recommend it!
4.5 stars I’d been looking forward to reading this one, and I wasn’t disappointed. I always appreciate books that feature characters with a multitude of body types, and there was a pretty good mix of representation for some other identities, including LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse characters. The story itself was good, and although it didn’t initially pull me in quite as much as I thought it would, I did still finish most of it over a 48-hour span and did enjoy it. I’ll look for more work from this author, and I do intend to purchase a physical copy at some point after its publication date (tomorrow!) for use in my classroom.
I am a MASSIVE fan of Jo Watson's writing, so when the opportunity came along to read an advanced copy of her debut YA novel, I grabbed it with both hands. Big Boned tells the story of Lori, the titular 'big boned' teenager who's just moved from her specialist art school in Johannesburg to the pristine seaside town of Clifton in Cape Town. Immediately she feels out of her depth, conspicuous in her own skin as apparent perfection surrounds her everywhere. I would caution that the first few chapters are a little heavy going. Lori really doesn't have a great opinion of herself at the start of the book, but as we learn more about her, many of these reasons become apparent. What I particularly loved about this story was Lori's acceptance of herself over the course of the book. Rather than changing herself, Lori learns to love the unique things about herself, embracing those differences. The growing romance is Jo Watson's speciality, and doesn't feel at all forced. I also loved the interactions between Lori and her younger brother, who is on the spectrum. Those scenes felt particularly authentic, and I particularly liked the way Lori focused a lot of time encouraging her brother's positive autistic traits. Watson has this ability to effortlessly intertwine romance, humour, and a social critique of modern South Africa. She tackles weighty issues ranging from racial discrimination to gender-based violence with sensitivity. Layered among these important themes is a focus on body positivity, and I was so excited to see @fullerfigurefullerbust name-checked, as she's one of my favourite Instagram accounts! Ultimately, this is a positive story of self-acceptance, beautifully told. Highly Recommended. *Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to leave an honest review* I would love to leave a review on Amazon UK but it shows as not yet released yet?
This coming-of-age story is so much more than just that. It is told with heart and honesty and leaves the reader feeling happy and hopeful. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, we get to know Lori, the new girl at school who gets off to an awkward start. While facing challenges at home, Lori's main challenge is within herself. After experiencing terrifying bullying in her old town, Lori now sees herself as unworthy and unlikeable. The bullying in her own head proves to be much worse than what comes from others and threatens to take her down. When she becomes friends with Jake, the high school star athlete, she has to start seeing herself through other peoples' eyes. This YA romance is mature and smart with nuanced and multi-layered characters. The raw, emotional, imperfect characters are well-written and honest which allows for a basic plot line to get new life.
Loved this book. So adorable and has real substance. It's important for girls of all shapes and sizes to see themselves as the main characters. Love seeing size struggles discussed more in books these days.
I loved this book. It was refreshing to read a book about a girl my age that doesn’t romanticise being skinny and instead of ‘fixing’ the main character’s body issues, it shows her emotional journey of coming to terms with it, which I loved. The romance was really cute too, but I loved the fact that Lori’s sibling was autistic; I feel as though you rarely get to see the perspective of someone on the spectrum’s sibling, and it was interesting to see. I loved this book and how it dealt with certain issues, and I highly recommend it to anyone!
I liked this book so much. As a person in a larger body, I often feel empowered when I see positive fat representation in books. I love how real and relatable the main character is—her problems and triumphs feel like mine. One of my favorite things about this book is the mental health/neuro divergence topics. Sometimes books fail to portray these sensitive topics with accuracy and tactfulness, but thankfully, this book paints a realistic picture.
I wish stories like this had been around when I was a teen - we need more YA writers like Jo Watson.
From the first paragraph, I knew this book would be a good one. I immersed myself into the book from the first chapter and I cannot say enough good things about this book! Honestly amazing! The writing is incredible and the plot is just one to die for. I am absolutely obsessed with this book. My favorite part would have to be the character development throughout the book. Character development is something I look forward to and this book did not disappoint.
I actually wasn't too sure what to expect when I requested this book but the summary sounded interesting to me. Lori has just been forced to move from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Her autistic brother needs to school better suited for his needs and her parents have just had a messy divorce. She's her brothers biggest fan and knows that this is truly what is best for him. But on her first day of school, she knows this school is not for her. No one looks like her, everyone seems as if they should be walking the red carpet, and sports is what this school thrives. This is completely different than her last school of artist, dancers, and all things artistic. Lori is the only overweight person in school and instantly makes a enemy out of the most popular girl in school. After seeing the most popular guy in school, Jake, volunteering at her brother's school, he takes a sudden interest in Lori. Lori struggles to love herself, find her voice, and realize her artistic talent. I absolutely loved this book! I think this is a book that the world needs. More real body positivity. More talk about how autism isn't a curse. More talk of how helpful therapy can be. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I would easily rate this a 4 out of 5 star read! *Thank you Netgalley for this ARC for an exchange of an honest review*
Thank you Wattpad Books & NetGalley for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. ‘Big Boned’ follows our protagonist Lori Palmer following her parents divorce, as her mother uproots their life in the city and transplants them into a seemingly idyllic beach life paradise… if Lori fit the Malibu Barbie mold; which she most certainly does not. Cue a ‘coming of age’ exploration as Lori learns how to find her own voice and accept herself for herself despite her surroundings—ingredients include: a sibling on the spectrum, absentee parents, bullying, anxiety, an incredible therapist, plus a dash of accidental activism, adolescent rebellion and first love, all for good measure. So… Part of me loved this book! And part of me wanted just a little bit more—or arguably less actually? As I almost felt like the author tried to tackle too many threads in this narrative and ultimately proved unable to do all of them justice. Plus it felt like the ‘ending’ of the book went on far too long; with seemingly every single thread receiving its own chapter so absolutely every little piece could be tied up in a perfect little bow. That all said? I loved the relationship between Lori and her little brother Zac, and how his unique needs and consequent diagnosis on the spectrum impacted their family. And I loved Lori’s personal journey—attending therapy, overcoming her own past trauma, learning to see herself as beautiful, and build connections with friends who see her and love her for herself. I truly appreciated so many little moments and the complexity of Lori as a character and all her feelings about herself, her life, her future, her family, her friends—that felt quite realistic to me as a reader. Even if the ending felt a little too neat and tidy. All together? 🌟🌟🌟💫
This book is super cute! You can’t help but love Lori, Zac and Jake. Lori struggled a lot and I loved how supportive Jake was especially with her brother Zac. This book made me laugh and blush. Ugh! I just really liked the story!
ok ok okkkkkkk we love this! This was like watching a romcom but in the best way. It scratches that itch. Now, I really really really enjoyed this and here are my reasons why: - non-western setting -wonderful mental health rep (for Lori anyways) -therapy in a book *chefs kiss* -Fat representation that made me feel seen and soothed my younger self's soul -Getting to be the main character in your own story -Different levels of family dynamics (its giving me range) - the atmophere was just lovely -ooey gooey cinnamon roll for a love-interest Things that I would be remissed to mention is that I am a fat white lady, so in terms of dealing with that rep, YES, STUNNING, we love to see it handled well. The other bits of representation, such as the neurodiversity, race, different family dynamics, those bits of representation are outside my purview. But I do think that the more poignant issues are handled with care and nothing I read really gave me pause. (Although you can see that I do have privelege so although it does not excuse my blind spots, they can be there). The only thing that I can see some people saying is that it might lean a little white savior-y, because there is a certain amount of privelege the main character does have for being white, but it is addressed at one point so at least it's mentioned, I haven't read any of Jo Watson's other works, but I'm defintely going to be checking out more. This was a chicken soup for my soul and I would have felt so seen as a teenager if I had this in my hands at the time. So vibes are on point. Going to run off and find myself a copy now....
4 stars Big Boned is a heartfelt coming of age story about Lori, a young artist whose life was turned upside down several years ago when her parents got divorced, and she is still struggling with the fallout of it during her senior year of high school. Uprooted from the comfortable school life she had built at her art school with her small, tight-knit group of friends, Lori finds herself dropped into a world of glitz and glam and perfection which she feels very much out of place in. All her life, Lori has dealt with body image and self-esteem issues as a “big boned” girl, and when the most popular, good looking guy at her new school starts showing interest in her, she finds herself confused and in denial, because how could he possibly find someone like her interesting and attractive? As a coming of age, young adult romance, this book does include many of your typical high school drama cliches, yet there is depth to the plot that was refreshing for the genre. I have to admit that I usually stay away from high school romances since I am not part of the targeted demographic and often am unable to completely relate to the circumstances and mindsets of the characters. Lori’s insecurities and negative perceptions of herself were often hard for me to read because they seemed so naive and somewhat ridiculous, but then once I forced myself to step back into the shoes of high school Miel, I felt less disconnected. Overall, I really enjoyed Lori’s relationship with her autistic younger brother, and the slow-burn relationship that she formed with Jake. I also liked the social justice aspects of the story as well. I feel the writing is very strong and the descriptions of places in the book made me want to pack up and travel to South Africa! TWs: Bullying, fat shaming, discussions of gender-based violence, suicidal ideations, anxiety/panic episodes
The strongest message to get out of this book is its emphasis on body positivity and loving yourself for everything you are, flaws and all. I was in tears at the end of the book, as Lori learns to love herself for the person she is. ALSO, JAKE?!?!! HE IS A DREAM. A TOTAL HUNK, THAT'S FOR SURE. The way he teaches Lori to love herself for who she is makes my heart swoon. I think my favourite characters from this book are Zac and Lisa. They are some of the most adorable children you will ever meet. I love how Jake and Lori connect through their siblings; their friendship is a strong and powerful one, that's for sure. The book ended perfectly, and I love how the author emphasized society's obsession with constantly being perfect all the time. We need more people like Lori who are not afraid to speak their mind, whether its verbally or through their art. A MUST READ FOR SURE!
This book was an adorable read about the journey of self love and accepting love from others. The main character, Jo, was personally relatable to how I felt about myself growing up (and honestly even still today). She dreamed the dreams that girls that don't fit the normal beauty standards don't dare to dream - because it won't come true. Only...maybe this time it can. The side characters added a special sparkle to the story without distracting from the main character. Each of their additions proved their importance in our heroine's life, good or bad. Her love interest, Jake, was about as perfect as can be and exactly what she needed at this time in her life. He was patient, caring and understanding. Overall, it was a heartwarming book about relationships, friendships, heartache, insecurities, anxiety, love (of all types), and acceptance. A fantastic read that I will probably even read again one day.
Meet Lori Palmer, the newest addition to Bay Water High in Capetown, where all of the students radiate Lori’s idea of what it means to be beautiful: athletic, shiny hair and thin. She is an artist and is able to find beauty in everything around her – except herself. Lori has always struggled with accepting her body and loving the skin she’s in. After being maliciously bullied, Lori suffers from panic attacks and attends therapy to heal from the trauma her bullies have instilled in her. She misses her life back in Johannesburg where everything seemed easier. She was in her element at art school when she had daily adventures with her two best friends and her parents were still together. Now, her life has been turned upside down and nothing is the same. While her mother is too busy building a realty empire and reinventing herself, Lori is fulfilling the motherly role for her nine-year-old autistic brother, Zac. While picking him up from school one day, she meets Jake Jones-Evans, the water polo star athlete at BWH all the girls drool over. Their friendship slowly develops over playdates for Zac and Jake’s younger sister, Lisa. Through a series of miscommunicated text messages, nights spent at together at parties, and stargazing, their connection grows into something Lori never thought she deserved (or thought was possible). As she begins to find her footing in her new town, Lori begins finding her voice as well. She starts a movement through her artwork, which gains the attention of the media, her community, and her mother. Lori grows into who she was meant to be all along. “Big Boned” is an incredible journey we all go through at one point or another: learning to love who we are, finding our voices, embracing our hobbies, and learning to stand up for ourselves. Watson gracefully represents neurodivergence, mental health, sexual orientation, race, and body diversity with a meaningful, yet not overwhelming approach. Thank you to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for this ARC! TWs: alcoholism, anxiety, panic attacks, bullying, divorce, fat shaming, infidelity, mental health, neurodivergence, underage drinking