Synopsis from Goodreads
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
This book frustrated me from a very early point. At first I was really loving Ashley’s confident voice. Even her obsession with being perfect didn’t really bother me initially. It was her refusal to defend herself to her grandmother that really ticked me off. She claimed to be totally okay with how she looked, but she was so easily swayed by what her grandmother thought.
“It’s not her business. Your body is not her business.”
Thank God Ashley had her friend Laura. Laura at least tried her hardest to make sure that Ashley realized that the decisions about her body were to be made by her and her alone. She also had her boyfriend Hector and her other friend Jolene, neither of them thought weight loss surgery was necessary, and they were angry with her grandmother for offering it in exchange for paid tuition at Harvard. They were even angrier at Ashley for considering it.
Ashley really didn’t understand that her grandmother was not thinking of her best interests at all. She was trying to control Ashley. It was maddening to see Ashley not have a backbone. She needed a backbone. I just wanted to hear Ashley tell her grandmother off. Her grandmother needed to back off, and Ashley needed to make sure that happened. But she was so focused on being perfect that she didn’t realize she was being controlled by her grandmother.
I’m utterly frustrated that Ashley was this quiet, meek teenager. Where was her fire? Where was her her fight? Why didn’t she fight for what she knew was right? If she was truly confident and happy in how she looked, why did she even allow her grandmother to think she had won?
It took her so long to realize that her grandmother wasn’t really thinking of her. She was focusing too much on pleasing society. In society, thin is gorgeous and fat is ugly. She just couldn’t appreciate the granddaughter that she had.
I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s brothers. I think they were interesting and they could have brought some complexity to this story. They brought more about Ashley’s mother into the story. I wish we had seen more of Ashley’s mother in this story. I think there was a lot they didn’t delve into that could have made this book more interesting to me.
“And you’re pissed at Mom for not having gone to Harvard instead of Clara for lying to you?”
When she realized that her grandmother had lied to her, she realized her grandmother wasn’t as perfect as she claimed to be.
She started to become more aware of what she really wanted for herself. She started to realize that she could really be herself, and she didn’t have to be perfect.
But it was all just a little bit too late for me to really care about the characters in this book. The only people I really liked were the secondary characters Laura, Jolene and Ashley’s brothers. So unfortunately I have to give this book 2 stars. It was a total letdown for me in many different ways.