Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

Oh my goodness, what an outstanding debut book this was for Crystal Maldonado! I absolutely loved, loved, loved this book – the representation was amazing in every single way and Charlie Vega is about to be a leading female YA teen, that a lot of other young teens are going to admire and look up to. I found myself relating to Charlie, in the way that she constantly compares herself to her best friend, Amelia – I do the exact same with my best friend! Amelia is the most obvious choice of girl when it comes to getting all the attention and having a bunch of friends, whereas Charlie seems to blend in with the walls and faces the brunt of all the fat jokes made. There is very obvious bullying within this story towards Charlie – also from a family member – which all comes down to the way her body looks and one person in particular, really takes advantage of her vulnerability and dreams of being noticed the way Amelia is and it is extremely gutting to witness. 

That all being said, Charlie is a smart, kind-hearted, caring and confident individual, who has much to put up with her family and her peers, however, she is a strong-willed young woman and never lets the voices of others consume her mind. She fully embraces who she is and knew to ignore the insensitive comments being subtly directed towards her. I really loved that she followed a lot of body positive Instagram accounts and still wore whatever the heck she wanted and owned it every time! Despite Charlie always comparing herself to Amelia, I was really fond of their friendship and how much they supported one another. Sure, they had their ups and downs, but that’s what made them so real and relatable. 

I had to leave my new book boyfriend last, because we always save the best for last! Brian, a Korean boy at Charlie’s school was just every bit of perfection throughout this book. He absolutely doted on Charlie and made her feel special every chance he got. There’s a little valentine scene that made my heart absolutely swoon and it was from that very moment that I knew I wouldn’t settle for any less than a Brian. The standards are high! 

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega has some extremely important messages woven within for young girls including self-love and acceptance and also addressed a lot of important issues. The message that I think everybody needs to take after reading this book is that whether you are a girl or guy, you are beautiful, no matter your shape and size. 

Shelby x


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