Title: Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies
Author: Erin Dionne
Dial, February 5 2009
Genre: Realistic fiction
Recommended to: Tween girls, 12-14
Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and her daily dosing of chocolate cookies suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn't entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. As if being forced to walk the runway as an overweight model for all to see wasn't bad enough, now Celeste's best friend is ditching her for the mean-girl leader of the popular crowd, who also is Celeste's number-one enemy. Now she's got to think of a plan to win her best friend back as well as getting out of the contest....Enter Operation Skinny Celeste--she'll do whatever it takes to lose a few pounds (even if it means giving up her cookie obsession) because, after all, a thin girl can't be a fat model...What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone...or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight. *
I have to say, the first half of this book was not exactly enjoyable: I didn't like how there was nearly no leadup to the action, so that I felt like I was just being plunged in without any background information on any of the characters, a little too forced into the plotline for my taste. For the first few chapters, I found that some of the characters like Sandra were too underdeveloped. Because of this, it was hard for me to understand Celeste's frustration over losing her best friend because I hardly knew anything about Sandra in the first place. It was also hard for me to get deep into the plotline because of how slow the story moved.
However, by the middle of the novel, I started enjoying myself. I loved seeing how much Celeste grew and learned as a character, and I loved her spunky attitude and positive take on the world. When she was being bullied for her size, I was rooting for her all along: she was so strong and brave. I loved how she narrated the story and how the author reflected her growing confidence in her weight loss. I also enjoyed all of the quirky characters that Celeste met when entering the HuskyPeach competition: Christian, Gail, Ashley, Bay-be, etc.
And then there was the whole pageant aspect, which was so fun for me. Ms. Dionne clearly knew what she was talking about, and so the story moved along quickly, dotted with humor (Boxes of bras falling on heads? Ripping skirts? Peach Monstrosity dresses?) that made Celeste even more lovable and hilarious as she gathered friends, competition, and confidence.
From friendship to bullying, from modeling to the disasters along the way, Models covers it all, making a thoroughly enjoyable read for teen girls. And don't you adore the cover? Every time I look at it, it makes me hungry! (:
Thank you Erin for sending me a copy, and congrats on the release!
* from Amazon, added on to/edited by Bookworm