2017 update: This book is rather fatphobic. I’ve decided to leave the review up, but wanted to make a note of that, since I highly doubt if I read it now I would have such glowing praise for it.
Series: Unloved Ones prequel #1
Author: Kevin Richey
Katherine Blythe is an overweight teenager who, on her sixteenth birthday, wishes to be thin, only to find her wish coming true with alarming side effects. As she loses over half her weight in the span of a week, she finds the world is a different place when you look the way you’re told you should. But is her wish responsible for all this? Or is there something else going on—something distinctly supernatural?
I picked up this book for the idea – girl makes a birthday wish to be thin and suddenly becomes thin. I got the impression it would be a makeover-type fat-girl-gets-thin-and-pretty story, with a healthy dose of something-weird-is-going-on. But as an Indie book written by a guy, I was a little unsure how the female narrator would sound.
Kevin Richey nailed it.
I’m not as heavy as Katherine, but I’m not thin, either. It’s like Katherine was me, plus 100 pounds. All my body insecurities were there, amplified. Her self-image, her relationship with food, her cravings…they were like mine, only much, much worse. And I felt so bad for her because I knew what she was going through.
I admit it – I almost felt jealous when she started losing weight for no reason. But I loved her so much that I mostly just felt happy for her.
Plot…I think there was a plot. There might have been one. But the focus of the story was Katherine herself, her feelings and emotions as she battled weight issues and started practically dissolving. I loved Katherine so much that just watching her deal with everything was enough plot to hold my attention.
My only problem with the book is a slight negative body image issue. 270-pound Katherine shrinks down to 115. That’s practically model-skinny. The way I’m built, I can’t weigh 115 without looking malnourished. Not being overweight is a good thing, but a girl doesn’t have to be 115 to be pretty. For most girls, 115 isn’t reasonable.
Rants aside, I loved Unpretty. No, that’s not true – I loved Katherine. Her voice is the most impressive and authentic female narrator by a male author I’ve read in ages. The Unloved Ones series isn’t released yet (I’m looking forward to reading it when it is), but in the meantime, I’ll settle for the second prequel, Uninvited.
I received a free review copy of Unpretty from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.
The Unloved Ones prequels: