You know those covers that just grab you? That was me when I saw Fat Chance, Charlie Vega. And I’m so glad I ended up grabbing this e-ARC when I had the chance. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is about not letting our fears and insecurities hold us back, about Charlie’s relationship with her weight, and the chances of first love. Keep reading this book review to read my full thoughts!
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: fatphobia, restrictive eating of a side character
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is an entertaining, hilarious, and heartfelt debut. I ended up reading this one in about a day because I was so captivated. Not only is Charlie incredibly relatable, but she is so endearing. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a multi-faceted debut. Featuring conversations about Charlie’s biracial identity, the ways her mother is trying to change Charlie’s weight, and the ways our fears can hold us back, this story delivers a range of emotions. Charlie wears her heart of her sleeve.
At the heart of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is that relatable fear we have of being picked second. Of being someone’s last resort. Charlie’s own feelings are only complicated by the fact that she always feels like she’s coming up second best to her best friend Amelia. To everyone. One of the strongest part of the story was the friendship between Amelia and Charlie. Not only was it endearing and hilarious, but the tensions and that unwary feelings of resentment were relatable.
Don’t we all have that one person in our life who can make us feel second best? And, when they’re someone we love, isn’t that a complex feeling to hold in our hearts? I also can’t even begin to describe how swoonworthy and precious the romance story line is! I truly loved all of these side characters in Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, all their scars and mistakes.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is a story that doesn’t wrap us in a false sense of security. There are some things that never seem to be resolved the ways we might want – how lifelike! But the ending delivers a thematic resolution that celebrates not only self-acceptance and love, but realizing we cannot let our fears hold us back.