Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
Reasons for reading: sounded good when I ordered it for the library; love the cover; Young Adult Challenge
Description: Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile. Rosemary resolves to lose the weight, but her journey turns out to be about everything but the scale.
First line: "Mother spent $700 on a treadmill 'from Santa' that I will never use."
My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book - it had sadness, humour, romance, and a Southern twang.
Above all, it rang so true, especially the beginning, with Rosemary really struggling with her weight and self-esteem. I've felt all the same things - self-disgust, frustration, anger at yourself, anger at the people trying to "help" you with suggestions like "You should exercise." and "You should stop eating so much." I was insulted about it at school (though not quite as badly as Rosemary) and I still get the odd crack from so-called adults today. While Rosie does start to conquer her problem, she takes some missteps along the way, including making herself sick with tainted mayonnaise on purpose.
The relationships in the book are well done; they're not one-dimensional. Rosie's single mother insists everything's fine, even when she's diagnosed with cancer and Rosie can't find a way to talk to her. Rosie's Aunt Mary is one of the biggest weight bullies around and her mother always seems to side with her sister over Rosie. Rosie's budding romance with sweet, sincere jock boy Kyle always seems on the verge of being sabotaged by either Rosie's self-esteem or the bitchy Bluebirds clique who have been calling her Fat Artichoke since middle school. And Rosie's new friendship with Kay-Kay, a gorgeous, athletic girl who is as much of a target for bullying as Rosie herself.
I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more by Suzanne Supplee.