Jesobel Jones is fat. Yes, she’s a perfect straight-A student, never gets in trouble, and has two amazing best friends, Hannah and Izzie. But Jesobel has always been labeled as the fat girl. Being bigger than those around her has never made Jesobel feel lesser than, but a spiteful confrontation from some mean girls has her rethinking her positive connotation of “fatness.” Struggling to understand what to do, Jesobel soon meets Matt, the guy she’s been falling head over heels for. With her rebellious attitude starting to come to light, will Jesobel still give in to societal beauty standards to be with her dream guy? Or will the power of love overcome her desire to love her body?
I originally thought that this novel’s plot would be about Jesobel finding love; however, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it also focuses on her identity and self-worth. In a world where larger people are shamed for their bodies, Jesobel Jones is the epitome of rising above the hate and proving that success comes in all sizes. I enjoyed that Jesobel seemed out of place among her “perfect” family members; these foil characters brought out the qualities of Jesobel even more. However, I wasn’t fond of the fact that her sister, Cat, barely ate any food throughout most of the novel. On the brighter side, food seemed to be the catalyst for Jesobel’s growth throughout the novel, and that was interesting because it’s different from similar books I have read. All in all, I would recommend this book, as I gained quite a few life lessons from this story.
There are definitely some underlying hints of body positivity throughout the plot, which is an important topic that needs to be spread to a wider range of audiences. I think Anna Mainwaring did a great job of showing that healthiness is important, but healthiness does not always equate to the size of your body. You can be skinny and unhealthy, bigger and healthy, or vice versa. Yet, she also shows that, not only is it important to be healthy, but you must also be happy in life.
Reviewed by Mitali Barik, Grade 11, Twin Hickory Area Library