While growing up, best friends Maggie and Olivia were both overweight. Although Maggie didn’t want to be lumped into what she feared was a fat duo, she was drawn to Olivia who was a lot of fun despite being much bigger than she was. They had great times together, dreaming up fantasy futures of the perfect man and the perfect life.After a humiliating incident, Olivia decided to get gastric-bypass surgery and today, she is the perfect size two. She is also engaged to one of the most gorgeous doctors Maggie has ever met and tells of a past Maggie knows definitely did not take place. It seems Olivia is hell bent on living the fantasy life they had dreamed about—even if it means having to lie about it.
Maggie, on the other hand, is struggling with a nowhere job, an intense crush on one of the busboys at the coffee shop where she works (while going out of her mind because she can’t understand how he can just be a busboy, conveniently forgetting that she works there as well), and a best friend who seems to have morphed into a totally different person.
The novel is told from Maggie’s point of view as she tries to figure out where to take her life, her insecurities about her weight, and what could be a very promising future—if only she could get past being the fat girl.
Because the story is told from Maggie’s perspective, you are invited into her innermost thoughts. She reveals how she has always tried to be invisible, how she can’t bear going shopping with her petite mother and sister, and how she may feel beautiful but instantly realize she isn’t when she happens to catch her reflection in a mirror. Her voice is so real, it keeps you cheering for her till the very last page.
Some chapters begin with a paragraph on Maggie’s past, then flow back into the story. Although they may seem a bit strange at first because these paragraphs don’t quickly flow into the action, you will grow to appreciate this literary device. You will also enjoy the peek into Maggie’s past that explains why she is the way she is.
Though it is pretty clear from the start that there is something wrong with Olivia, it can come as a surprise just how horrible she is to Maggie towards the end. The reason for this could be that since you are reading the book from Maggie’s point of view, you too are not privy to what Maggie is in denial of. At the same time, the way Maggie treats Olivia in the end—though a clear statement of how far she has come in gaining confidence and belief in herself—can make one mourn their friendship and wish for a more positive turnout for both of them.
It’s understandable that the focus in the end was on the relationship between Maggie and Olivia but it makes one wish that more scenes were devoted to Maggie’s romantic relationship as well. With the strong build up, it would have been more satisfying if the reader could rejoice a bit longer in Maggie’s happy ending.
Bookshelf Meter: 3 stars
1 star – Don’t even bother.
2 stars – Since there’s nothing else to read…
3 stars – Worth a borrowing from a friend, but not buying your own
4 stars – Deserves a spot on your nightstand.
5 stars – Grab this book now and forget the one you’re reading!
Olivia Yao has been writing ever since she can remember. She has written for health, teen, parenting, and children's magazines. Her latest endeavor is being a mom to her three-year-old daughter—her toughest assignment yet. Swap stories with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.