Title: To Be Honest
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Genres: Young Adult contemporary
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.
Thank you so much to Macmillan for sending me an ARC of this book.
To be honest, I was very afraid of reading this book. The main character in this book is fat, and her mom is constantly trying to lose weight to try and keep up with the weight she lost after being on an extreme weight loss program, and her mom tries to pressure her to lose weight too.
The reason why I was scared is because I’m a fat woman too, and I’ve been around people who try and pressure me to lose weight for a long long time. I’m trying to feel positive about my body, but it’s incredibly hard. And I thought reading the mom’s comments would get to me. And it did. Luckily the main character, Savannah, was very fat positive and made me feel a lot better. I loved that, and we need so many more fat-positive books.
There were a lot of other things I liked about this book: the amazing relationship between the two sister’s, the exploration of the mc’s relationship with her parent’s, journalism, a super cute romance, etc. There wasn’t a single moment where I felt even a little bored in the book because there was always another subplot I could focus on, and the fact that the MC had so many different things going on in her life made her into a very well-rounded character. But while all of the subplots were definitely a thing I liked about the book, they were also a thing I didn’t like. That probably sounds a little weird. Let me explain.
Because there were so many different subplots, I felt like we touched on a lot of amazing things, but we touched on them way too briefly. I wish we could’ve seen at least a little more of all of these subplots, because it felt like they didn’t get the attention they deserved. Especially the fatpositive story line. The book would’ve definitely been a bit better if it was, let’s say, 50 pages longer.
Also, let’s talk about the cover for a second because the person on the cover kinda looks like me?? At least, body wise?? The first time I saw the cover I couldn’t stop smiling, and I kind of want a poster of it so I can hang it in my room, to remind myself that my body is beautiful, too. And that, newsflash: fat isn’t a bad word.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and it meant a lot to me. This is one of those rare occasions where, even though I’ve already read the ARC of a book, I still really want a finished copy so I can reread it many times and look at the cover whenever I start feeling insecure. Please pick this book up.
(Trigger warnings: fatphobia, weightloss, mother with a eating disorder; admitted after starving herself, divorce, cheating father.)