To say that I was disappointed in this book would be a huge understatement. What started off with a great premise and the hope of being a champion for body positivity turned turned into a cringe-y, ill-paced, trope-ridden, should-not-have-been-YA mess.
Mean, I know. But, the letdown of this book was meaner (at least to me).
In Fat Girl on a Plane, Cookie Vonn’s story is told in two alternating timelines– one where she’s “fat” and the other where she’s “skinny.” During “fat,” seventeen-year-old Cookie is motivated to loose weight after the trauma of being told that she’s too fat to fly to New York in one seat on the plane and must buy a second seat with money that she doesn’t have. To make matters worse, cue the mean girl trope, where a girl her age calls Cookies “cankles” and then proceeds to conveniently show up for the rest of the novel to ruin everything about Cookie’s life. Meanwhile, during “skinny,” it’s two years later and Cookie is at her goal weight after dieting with a Weight Watchers knock-off and now looks like the younger version of her supermodel mother. Trying to make a name for herself as a designer in the fashion industry, Cookie is thrust into a world the only reason that people stare at her on the airplane now is because she’s beautiful.
I did try really hard to like Fat Girl on a Plane. In fact, I actually kind of enjoyed the “fat” timeline, where Cookie balances her fashion and weight goals while dealing with family drama and the usual scenario of being in love with her best friend who is in love with the mean girl arch-nemesis. Cookie’s heartbreak and struggles felt very real and sincere, despite the tiredness of her attitude towards everyone else.
It’s the “skinny” timeline that throws a wrench in this novel. It’s here where Cookie, a now annoying character who is bitter towards everyone, quickly gets together with a thirty-five year old, who is also her fashion design idol. This is where you totally loose the Young Adult part of the novel and it starts reading like one of those e-book romances that you can get for free on the Kindle. I’m usually okay with age differences between characters, but when it’s fifteen years, supposed to be a teen novel, and the guy refers to himself as “Uncle Gary” when speaking to his nineteen-year-old girlfriend, it gets a little weird. I mean, I’m twenty-four and the thought of dating a thirty-five-year-old makes me go ew.
The reason that this novel is getting two stars from me is because it pulls through at the end. Despite the roller coaster of weird and flat characters behaving randomly, Cookie does learn to love herself, fat or skinny, and that’s what we came here for, right?
I received a free e-ARC of Fat Girl on a Plane from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.