Sunday marked the end of the Fat-a-Thon reading challenge, and what an empowering (and odd…if you follow me on Bookstagram, you know what I’m talking about…) week it’s been! I just want to say thanks to Erin (@_everysecondbook), Elena (@bookish.procrastinator), Amber (@bookishamberlynn), and Caitlin (@caitlinfullybooked) for putting on this challenge and being some of the greatest cheerleaders- I sincerely hope y’all put on this challenge again because it’s been one of the most fun and uplifting reading I’ve done all year!
Without further ado, here are the books I completed for this challenge, their ratings, a few comments, and good readalikes for each title if you enjoyed them too!
Meal by Blue Delliquanti & Soleil Ho
Rating: 4/5 stars
What I Thought: I’ve never read a book on entomophagy before, so that in and of itself made this book memorable (and very interesting), but there’s one thing about this book that set it apart from the rest: there was plus-sized rep in this book, but it was really never discussed! So often in books, if a character is plus-sized, a conversation about their size and weight is inevitable, but that wasn’t present in this one. Because this book didn’t have that, being plus-sized/fat felt normalized, accepted, and just a part of life instead of being THE MAIN TOPIC! It was honestly refreshing, and the basic and simple illustration helped to make this story soar for me.
Readalikes: Eat the Beetles!: An Exploration of our Conflicted Relationship with Insects by David Waltner-Toews, Kim Reaper, Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley, Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss
Rating: 3/5 stars
What I Thought: Okay, I went into this wanting to love it…because honestly, I haven’t seen many plus size ladies on the covers of rom coms! But to me, the romance all felt like a fetishization of the plus size girl-straight size guy narrative, and that gives me the heebie-jeebies. The main character had a ton of confidence and went after what she wanted, which I loved, but the romance to me felt just…off. This definitely made me to seek out more romances featuring two plus size MCs, which so far hasn’t proven very successful. This is a good quick read and a nice character-driven romance but in the way I interpreted the writing and messaging, it just wasn’t for me.
Readalikes: Size Matters by Alison Bliss, The Perfect Dress by Carolyn Brown, 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Rating: 5/5 stars
What I Thought: I’ve heard many people sing this book’s praises (I mean, it won the Morris Award for goodness sake!), and I’m so happy that it lived up the hype. I feel like plus-size male MCs are so rare in literature, so I loved being able to get a glimpse into that experience (even for this short amount of time). Of course, the thing I appreciated most about this book was the depiction of mental illness (in particular, depression). As someone who has dealt with depression and generalized anxiety disorder for the near entirety of my life, I’ve never seen it so acutely and accurately portrayed in a book before this, especially by a plus size MC- seriously, I cried when reading it because I felt so seen and understood for the first time. The family dynamics, as well as cultural lens, that this book provides makes it a diamond in the rough and I can’t wait to see more from this author.
Readalikes: Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Rating: 5/5 stars
What I Thought: After Darius the Great is Not Okay, I didn’t expect to love another book in this challenge as much…but of course I was wrong. Claire Kann got me with her first book, Let’s Talk About Love, as I’m an asexual woman and that was the first book I read featuring an ace protagonist. I thought I couldn’t love her more after that book…and then she gave me Winnie. Winnie was the fat female MC I needed when I was a teen, and certainly the one I need now. The obstacles she faces, the way she responds, and the people surrounding her…she not only is #goals, but she’s my new favorite character! Claire Kann is officially my newest must-buy author.
Readalikes: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (if you haven’t already), Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju, Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens, The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
This challenge was so ridiculously fun and fulfilling, and I have my fingers perpetually crossed the creators will bring it back next year! If you want to see what others read for the challenge, check the hashtag #FataThon on Instagram and if you would like to learn more about these books, check out my Fat-a-Thon Reading List post here. If you’re on the search for more plus size narratives, check out my previous blog post here of recommended books.
Until next time!