To Be Honest
by Maggie Ann Martin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 21, 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound | Wordery
The author of The Big F is back with another snappy, utterly relatable contemporary novel about loving yourself and forging your own path, perfect for fans of Julie Murphy and Rainbow Rowell.
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.My rating:
News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom.
When Savannah’s sister went off to college, she experienced a life-changing moment of her own. Having only Fiyero the monster poodle and her mom around, Savannah had to deal with her emotions and anxiety that was filled by her mom’s one-track mind to count calories and food restriction.
From her parents’ divorce to her mom joining a weight-loss reality TV show, Savannah felt her insecurities skyrocketed but I love how well she handled everything that has happened in her life. She’s funny, understanding and most of all accepts who she is—what body she has. Even if her mom says her otherwise, Savannah is confident enough and believes that beauty is not defined by weight or size but rather comes from loving herself first.
Having said that, Kim, Savannah’s mom, for me was the complete opposite. She chose to go through an unhealthy transformation, and who am I to judge? The very person, who should have been there for her, broke not only her heart but also her trust. But her lack of confidence was not mainly rooted with her ex-husband cheating on her but with how she was raised to hate herself. So, Kim tried to earn her validity by being something she was not and living a fake reality brought by the media.
On a positive note, I adore the relationship between Savannah and Ashley. They accept each other’s quirks and queer, and always have each other’s back no matter what. That same goes with Savannah’s friendship with Grace. I love the humor they brought in to the story because they totally complement each other.
And let’s not forget how Savannah meeting George, her best friend’s cousin and an absolutely talented saxophonist, gave a light and fuzzy spin into the story. The chemistry between them was 100% delightful. I love how they started off as friends like how real romance sparks and thankfully that family’s summer cookout with the Morenos happened. It was dreamy, sweet and feels like it’s truly meant to be for both of them.
Moreover, I love George’s character not because he’s nice, charming and kind but because he likes Savannah by simply being her true self without pretenses. This gives us the realization on how we could easily like a person base on their outward appearances but what’s far greater than that was how we truly know them and falling in love with someone for all the right reasons.
Unmistakably, this story brought a powerful and positive fat representation in YA that every one of us deserves to have. In an interview I did with Maggie Ann Martin, where she talks about body positivity and how this book hit very close to home for her, she clearly pointed out the issues we have today about perceived beauty and body image.
Sadly, this fat stigma often begins during our childhood where parents project their own insecurities on their children. As a result, they were the ones who threw the first negative impression that being fat is ugly.
The author significantly highlighted this and the effects of media through Kim’s experience and gave emphasis on how we could change the culture towards size diversity the way Savannah did.
To Be Honest is a fun, breezy and affirming story about how you #LoveYourBody because #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. From being fat to openly and happily living as gay, the story immensely surrounds itself with an attitude of acceptance and gave readers a strong message on self-love and importance.
There’s no expiration date on acceptance.
Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Maggie Ann Martin for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!
About The Author:
Maggie Ann Martin hails from Des Moines, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She has a shiny new BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. The Big F is her debut novel.
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