In the theme of #FataThon this week, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite POSITIVE plus size stories. I have to be honest- when I started to put this list together using my Goodreads read shelf, I got really discouraged. I thought I’d have a big long list…but I only have 8 (not including everything I’ve read so far this week). Of course, this is just 8 that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed AND prominently feature plus size/fat characters, but fact is definitely encouraging me to be more mindful and deliberate in my choices of books, and I’m definitely going to prioritize more body positive/fat/plus size narratives!
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite body positive reads! I’d love to get recommendations too, so please leave your faves in the comments below!
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
It’s been months since I’ve read this book, and yet it still sits with me. I know it’s cliche to say that this is a book I wish I had as a teen, but that’s exactly what I’d use to describe my relationship with it. I listened to it on audio and had to stop multiple times to cry and let the words sit with me, because I’ve never identified more with a character than I did with Molly. This is also one of the only books I’ve ever read that features a potential relationship between two plus size MCs, which apparently is harder to find than a four-leaf clover (seriously, I’ve tried very hard to find them). Let this serve as a call to writers that plus size MC/straight size MC doesn’t need to be the only storyline you write! Nonetheless, this is my favorite book from Becky Albertalli and it certainly will be with me for much longer. More about The Upside of Unrequited:
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?
Also check out Leah on the Offbeat– another tale in the Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda universe featuring a badass plus size lady ❤
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, & Joy San
Looking for a sweet love story spanning decades? Bingo Love is a perfect pick for you! Bingo Love is a wholly unique and beautiful story and thanks to an amazing Kickstarter campaign, it was able to go to print! This is a short, yet incredibly impactful title and the characters fully embrace themselves and their bodies, though society certainly tries to dictate their feelings about themselves and each other. This is a great read for fans of romance and of historical fiction! More about Bingo Love:
Bingo Love is a story of a same-sex romance that spans over 60 years. A chance meeting at church bingo in 1963 brings Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray together. Through their formative years, these two women develop feelings for each other and finally profess their love for one another.
Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid 60’s, Hazel and Mari are reunited again at a bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Okay, so technically this book isn’t coming out until November, but I can’t stop (and frankly won’t stop) singing its praises. I was fortunate enough to get approved for an advance copy of this title on Netgalley, so PLEASE request it on there if you’re interested! Finding a romance about a chronically ill heroine is hard enough, but a romance featuring chronically ill plus size heroine? A diamond in the rough! Talia Hibbert does an amazing job of not only describing the struggles and experiences Chloe faces on a day-to-day basis, but also builds Chloe into a full-fledged, relatable, and frankly badass character. This is without a doubt one of my top reads of the year, and I literally recommend it to anyone and everyone. More about Get a Life, Chloe Brown:
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?
- Enjoy a drunken night out.
- Ride a motorcycle.
- Go camping.
- Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
- Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
- And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.
Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit. But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
I loved When Dimple Met Rishi, so when I saw this GORGEOUS cover I knew I had to read it! Sweetie is such a realistic and believable character, and you can’t help but fall in love with her (and root for her). Sandhya Menon also does a great job of breaking stereotypes or misconceptions of plus size people through Sweetie, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful (and yes, wish that I had at this book as a teen). You don’t need to have read When Dimple Met Rishi first (though the two books are related and there are some shared characters), but it is just as delightful as this one! More about There’s Something About Sweetie:
Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?
Open Earth by Sarah Mirk, Eva Cabrera, & Claudia Aguirre
Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre worked together on one of my fave graphic novel series, Kim & Kim, so I had to pick this one up! Once I did, I didn’t want to put it down! Open Earth follows a community in space after the collapse of the planet Earth, and the society is completely different from what we’ve known on Earth. This is one of the few body positive AND sex positive titles I’ve seen and while it’s a short volume, it’s packed full of gorgeous art and meaning. More about Open Earth:
Rigo is a young woman of her time: specifically, the time just after the collapse of Earth. After living her whole life on a small space station orbiting the planet, the cultural norms and rules of her Californian parents are just history to her. In between work shifts at the station air farm, Rigo explores her own desires, developing openly polyamorous relationships with her friends and crewmates. When she starts to feel one of those relationships change, however, Rigo must balance her new feelings with the stability of her other relationships, as well as the hard-earned camaraderie of a small crew floating in the vastness of space. But, as the ship motto goes, “Honesty keeps us alive.”
A heartfelt, positive, and erotic look at one woman’s adventure in love and sex, as a new generation learns to make their own rules and follow their own hearts.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Julie Murphy is actual body positive goals! I love following her Instagram and seeing her confidence in both her body and herself exude through photos. I first picked up Dumplin’ because I had heard it was going to be made into a movie, and it gave me serious heart eys. Clearly plucky and sassy plus size heroines are my thing, because I fell wholeheartedly in love with Willowdean, and Bo and Willowdean’s romance was both realistic and swoonworthy. Willowdean’s struggles with insecurity and self-worth were familiar to me (as I definitely experiences them myself…and am still working on it), and they just made her feel like a real and fully-fledged character. While I don’t think the movie did the book justice, it’s still a fun watch (and available on Netflix!) More about Dumplin’:
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Also check out the follow-up to Dumplin’, Puddin’! It’s full of heart, laughs, and of course radical self-acceptance and body positivity!
The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
I just read this a few weeks ago, and I can’t believe it took me so long! Abby is the effervescent, bubbly girl I wish I had been when I was a teen (or should I say, the girl I wish I had the confidence to be), and she is unabashedly and assuredly herself. She has insecurities, sure, but she doesn’t let them get in the way of her passions and ambitions. Abby’s character development wasn’t based in any way on her losing weight, which I’ve found to be something rare to find in body positive lit (maybe I’m not looking in the right places???). This is a perfect summer read, and fashion lovers will eat it up! More about The Summer of Jordi Perez:
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. She takes her first step in the fashion industry by landing a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, but she doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi… then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique, and she’s making friends with people she’d never imagine; is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story? Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I’ve followed Noelle Stevenson since my infant days on Tumblr (@gingerhazing) so I was excited when her webcomic Nimona became a full-fledged graphic novel! Nimona (the character) can shape shift into any appearance and body type, and she chooses her absolutely gorgeous plus-sized figure! She’s also full of sass and spunk, and she knows what she wants and does what she can to get it (by any means necessary). This story is full of fun adventures and serious topics, and I recommend it for all who enjoy fantasy, coming of age stories, and dastardly villains. More about Nimona:
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
Check the progress of this week’s Fat-a-Thon by checking my Bookstagram (@qsreads) or by searching the hashtag #FataThon! And don’t forget to send me your fave body positive books below ❤
Until next time!