April wants nothing more than to escape the large tubs of peanut butter and Crisco that fill the pantry. She and her mother are overweight and April has had enough. She saves enough money to go to the posh fat camp called Wellness Canyon. She’s determined to drastically change herself so she can fit in with the popular crowd at school.
Wil has the opposite issue. She’s fat and proud of it. Her parents are less than thrilled. It is bad for business to have an overweight daughter. They own Excalibur Gym in Malibu. Wil is going to Wellness Canyon because her parents are making her. They are even remodeling her room with a new closet for all her skinny clothes. With her secret stash of goodies she just might gain weight instead of lose it.
The two girls end up as roommates.
Huge is the funny story of finding out who you really are and that the ugliness inside can be harder to shed than the pounds.
I am so glad Sasha Paley makes this story about more than weight loss. When April gets close to her goal her social climbing bad habits don’t go away. Although she feels better and has higher self esteem, she realizes she should have changed her insides along with her outsides.
Wil has a huge chip on her shoulder and who can really blame her with her overbearing parents. They put so much pressure on her. They are more concerned who Wil is on the outside rather than the inside.
“When I lose 50 pounds my life will be better.” How many times have you heard people say that, or said it yourself. Both girls find out that is not so simple.
Some ideas when discussing this with teens:
1. Which do they indentify with, Wil or April?
2. Which would be harder, changing your appearance or your personality or attitude?
3. Have you ever rebelled against your parents to the extent that Wil did?
4. Would it be worth hurting yourself in the process?
You might want to offer healthy snacks with this book group. Or those smores on the cover look pretty darn good!