What’s worse than being fat your freshman year? Being fat your sophomore year.
Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky—hang with the Model UN guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He’s used to not fitting in: into his family, his sports-crazed school, or his size 48 pants.
But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of his life! He wants to find a way to win her over, but how? When O. Douglas, the heartthrob quarterback and high-school legend, saves him from getting beaten up by the school bully, Andrew sees his chance to get in with the football squad.
Is it possible to reinvent yourself in the middle of high school? Andrew is willing to try. But he’s going to have to make some changes. Fast.
Can a funny fat kid be friends with a football superstar? Can he win over the Girl of his Dreams? Can he find a way to get his mom and dad back together?
How far should you go to be the person you really want to be?
Andrew is about to find out.
From School Library Journal
Grade 8–10—Andy, an overweight high school sophomore, is bullied by his peers, overprotected by his mother, and ignored by his type-A, absent father. As the school year begins, his friend Eytan has plans for the pair to shine as representatives of Estonia at the model UN meetings, but Andy has his eye on new girl April. When he is recruited as center for the football team, everything changes. For the first time, he experiences parties, girls—including April—and popularity. Initially bogged down by the teen’s self-deprecating comments and jokes, the plot begins to develop as Andy describes his new experiences with humor and wit. He is realistic as he shovels food into his mouth to assuage pain and embarrassment, struggles to maintain his friendship with Eytan after abandoning Estonia, and allows himself to be manipulated by teammates. But the author does not lead Andy down the expected path. When forced to make a decision, his choice is unique and the conclusion satisfying. Although these characters lack the intensity of Eric and Sarah in Chris Crutcher’s Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (HarperCollins, 1993), many readers will relate to Andy, his desire to be popular, and his insecurities. The possibly offensive locker room language is typical and lends credibility. More importantly, Andy’s character is thoughtful and refreshing.