‘No. You can’t just buy two seats in advance. That would be easy.’
In the world of fashion, being fat is a cardinal sin.
Nothing about Cookie’s new life is turning out like she planned. When the fashion designer of the moment offers her what she’s always wanted—an opportunity to live and study in New York—she finds herself in a world full of people more interested in putting women down than dressing them up. Her designs make waves, but her real dream of creating great clothes for people of all sizes seems to grow more distant by the day.
Will she realise that she’s always had the power to make her own dreams come true?
What I thought
I really enjoyed how this book portrayed Cookie as a person, objectively she was the same person in the before/after timelines but there are distinct differences. Both are weight obsessed but where Fat-Cookie is obsessed about losing it Skinny-Cookie is obsessed with keeping it off and at times she forgets just how hard of a struggle it was for her and enjoys being treated differently by people around her.
I found the way that this book was written was cleverly done and for me made this book stand out from other YA books. It would be very easy to start the story where Cookie had lost all the weight and for the time before to just be done in flashbacks or by her talking about it. But instead this book tells the two stories in one, each chapter flicks between ‘Fat’ and ‘Skinny’. By telling the story like this it leads to you finding out the clues to how Cookie reached certain crossroads without her having to explicitly tell us, and it gives each story line the weight it deserves. It the book just told one of them I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much as I did and it could have been a lot lighter in tone or very one directional. It’s a great storytelling device that was used really well, and I love how the last ‘Fat’ chapter happens almost directly before the first ‘Skinny’ chapter. It brings the story full circle and neatly ties up any loose ends.
Now days everyone is aware of the lies that are constantly being peddled by the media and advertisements about how being a certain weight and size means your life will be perfect. But just because it’s known doesn’t mean that they stop doing it, and they don’t stop focusing their attention on the more vulnerable members of society such as teenagers and people who are body conscious. As an adult you can make that distinction but as a teenager or child if you don’t see anyone who looks like you and you have no role models it does make you think that everything will be fixed if you just look like people on TV. The idea of ‘can’t be what you can’t see’ and that representation is important is only just starting to be really pushed in regard to gender, racial, and sexual inequality but there really isn’t much out there for people who are fat. Many people tell stories of going to doctors about one thing and it being brought back to/ignored because of their size. To have a book that directly deals with these issues is a breath of fresh air.
Cookie is determined to show that fashion doesn’t have to be for the small proportion of society who are stick thin and instead should be available to people of all sizes, just because you’re large doesn’t mean who shouldn’t have nice clothes. I love her passion for fashion and about making it accessible, she pushes against lots of difficulties because she makes a point to keep her fashion for ‘plus sized’ and doesn’t fit the traditional look of a designer.
I thought the relationship between Cookie and designer Gareth Miller was really interestingly done. She’s not the only young and uprising star to fall for the successful mentor. But the reason their relationship was interesting is it did slide to being an abusive and controlling one. And it happened very slowly and gently so that if you were in it you wouldn’t notice. X made sense because of Y because of Z… and so on. Of course he wanted to make sure she looked good, they were fashion designers. Of course he would take over the fashion show, she was his apprentice. Even when her best friend said something Cookie shrugged it off.
It was done subtly which is how it happens in real life. Abusive relationships can be shown in the media is being really black and white and that wasn’t done here.
Finally, I love how the resolution of the story didn’t rely on anyone else and their perceptions of herself. The story wasn’t about Cookie losing weight and ten making her life perfect, it was about how her life still wasn’t perfect after losing the weight. She didn’t didn’t have the confidence in herself and that was where the problems came from, she was constantly looking to others to justify herself.
Why I read it
This was one that I pre-ordered and therefore earnt a place on the immediate TBR. Most of the books I pre-order are either because I love the author or because of Twitter and #UKYAchat. In this case it was #UKYAchat and the premise interested me enough that it became an instant pre-order.
The strength of this book is in the authors way to spin both parts of the story at once never letting either one drop to focus on the other. And the way she tells the romance story line is brilliantly subtle, much like these things happen in real life. It’s not as simple as one obviously wrong thing happening, its lots of smaller not that bad things happening until it all becomes normal and you don’t notice that things are wrong and getting worse. Cookie is a great and realistic character and I’m really glad that the story ended on them making a ‘no fucks to give’ club. Because as long as a person’s size isn’t impacting their health or negatively impacting their life then it shouldn’t make any difference at all. It’s about her comfortable you are in your own skin and not looking at other people’s sizes to make yourself feel good
This isn’t a book about being fat and needing to diet to make your life better, although it’s about a ‘Fat’ & ‘Skinny’ character it’s not Cookie’s size that makes her life better, for her it’s about learning to be comfortable in her own looks and body.
Would I recommend: This is a great fun story, with representation of ‘plus-sized’ characters that is rarely seen.
PopSugar: Published 2018, Problem facing society today
Day 6 of my NaNoBookBlog and I’m staying on target even though today has been difficult. Writing a blog a day is harder than you’d think, unlike normal NaNo when i can just do half par and catch up later in the month.
Let me know what you think of my review and I’ll be back again tomorrow
P.S Day 7 of NaNoBookBlog is ‘Way Down Dark’ by JP Smythe