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45 Pounds (More or Less)    by K. A. Barson order for
45 Pounds (More or Less)
by K. A. Barson
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2014 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Jessica Maguire

Ann Galardi's life is difficult. At sixteen years old she wears a size seventeen in clothing. That makes swimsuit shopping, in fact any clothing shopping, with her perfect size six mother excruciating. Because of her size, Ann is not popular with her classmates at school and only has one really good friend. When her aunt announces her intention to marry and wants Ann to be in the wedding, Ann decides to lose 45 pounds in just ten weeks.

Wanting to keep her diet plans from her mother, Ann starts out by falling into the trap of a diet scam infomercial. All she eats is their preprepared, portioned out, packaged, food-like substances. And she does lose weight, but it's too expensive to keep up and even the job she gets to pay for her diet program cannot cover the cost. Despite the usual diet setbacks, she starts an exercise program and even learning dances for her aunt's wedding. But will diet and exercise be enough?

Along the way, Ann discovers that the behaviors both she and her mother display towards their weight are deeply affecting Ann's four-year-old sister. For the sake of her sister, Ann realizes she needs to stop focusing on diets and set a good example - and her mother needs to do the same.

This novel for young adults is more than just a story about a girl who struggles with her weight. Author K.A. Barson also touches on the realities of divorced and blended families, struggles with popularity and which friends to trust, and the roller coaster of uncertainty and emotion that comes with one's first love interest. This book is so well written and easy to relate to that I felt like part of the story, not just a reader looking in.

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