To Be Honest
Maggie Ann Martin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 21st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.
Savannah Alverson is about to start her senior year without her best friend and sister, Ashley. Ashley is starting her first year of college leaving Savannah alone for the first time in seventeen years. Ashley is the voice of reason and always kept their family in check and now Savvy doesn’t know how she will get through the year without Ashley as a buffer between her and their mother. Ever since the divorce, Savannah’s mother, Kim, has made a lifestyle change since being a contestant on a weight loss reality show. Since then, Savannah’s mom has been fixated on eating healthy and monitoring Savannah and her eating habits. Savannah, on the other hand, is all about body positivity and doesn’t understand or agree with what her mother is doing to herself. Can Savannah and her mother ever find a happy medium and restore their fractured mother/daughter relationship?
I absolutely loved Savannah. Savvy is not ashamed of her body. She knows she is chubby and embraces her body in ways that many people in today’s society can’t. She wears bright colored clothes, she doesn’t try to hide behind black clothing to appear slimmer. She is fat and not afraid to say it either. It was really interesting to see the differences between Savannah and her mother who is obsessed with being skinny and eating healthy. Savannah believes you should be happy with the way you look and that alone prevents her and her mother from seeing eye to eye.
Not only is Savannah going through a rough patch with her mother, she still hasn’t totally forgiven her father after the divorce from her mother. Savannah is just feeling so alone until she meets George, her best friend, Gracie’s cousin. For the first time she is actually interested in a boy that might even like her back. I have to say that the author, Maggie Ann Martin, really did a great job at making Savannah not only relatable, but also showing her fears as well. Just because Savannah was okay in her body, doesn’t mean that she still did not have the same fears of being accepted or of having a boy actually be interested in her in more than a friendly way.
The plot really had me hooked right from the beginning and while I love the whole body positivity vibe, it was only one aspect of this story. There is so much more to this book from family relationships and family dynamics to eating disorders, and navigating high school and all the trials and tribulations that go right along with it. I also loved how we see Savvy grow as a person and change for the better. She does a lot of growing up in this story and I never felt and was glad for the fact that there was no body shaming. Sure, there were parts of insecurities peeking through on Savvy’s end, but It was very realistically done. Regardless if you are a size two or a size twenty-two, everyone has fears or something they do not like about their body. So Kudos to the author for keeping the story real and relatable.
To Be Honest is a heartfelt and authentic story that shows the struggles we all go through with daily. But, it also shows the positivity in accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable in your own skin. This story is well worthy of Five stars especially for the message it sends out to young girls on both sides of the skinny/fat scale. It is real and honest and a story that every woman young and old should read.
Maggie Ann Martin hails from Iowa City, 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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