MODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES
by Erin Dionne
Released March 5, 2009 by Dial (Penguin imprint)
AT A GLANCE:
Hardback, Paperback or Library: I'd say that this is a book to get from the library. Although I would buy it for a tween girl without hesitation.
The Next Person I'm Giving This To: My friend Jenny who's daughter has just entered the tween years.
To Read or Not To Re-Read: I'd like to re-read this with my daughters when they get older.
MODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES is about how 13-year-old Celeste decides that the best way to get out of the Miss HuskyPeach pageant for plus-sized girls is by losing weight. Celeste learns that weight loss is not a quick fix, either physically or mentally; that beauty comes from confidence, not dress size; and the importance of friends who support you for who you are.
There were lots of things that I thought were great about this book, but I don't want to spoil it for you, so I'll write about one in particular that really struck a chord with me. Celeste's success in feeling better about herself is due in large part to great friends who support her, encourage her, and like her for who she is.
Whether or not we like ourselves and our bodies is ultimately up to us to decide. But isn't it easier to think better of ourselves when we are surrounded with people that like who we are, who are positive, who encourage and support us? Of course it is! If I am trying to eat healthier, it's easier if all my friends don't constantly tempt me with chocolate, sugar, and fatty foods. If I'm trying to be better about exercising, it's easier if I have someone to walk/work out with, give me different exercise ideas, and are interested in my progress.
In MODELS, Celeste has to deal with a long-time friend, Sandra, who gets caught up in trying to be popular and finally tells Celeste that they can only be friends outside of school. Ouch. Celeste ends up becoming closer friends with Katy & Millie. When they find out Celeste's plan to get out of the pageant (that Celeste's aunt mis-guidingly enters her in), they offer ideas to help (walking together around the track) and are positive and encouraging when Celeste gets down on herself.
Towards the end of the book, Celeste and the other Miss HuskyPeach finalists watch Violet Page (a plus-size super model) demonstrate walking the runway. They had met he previously, but Celeste didn't think much of her at the time. Here's what Celeste saw:
From Page 171 (of the ARC ... emphasis added):
Ashley gripped my arm. "She's gorgeous!" she whispered. Her voice was so light and airy, I almost didn't hear her. I glanced at her: eyes wide, face slack,she was locked on to Violet Page like a missle to its target.
And she was. Violet the Model was nothing like the almost-bored, always-flaky judge from the previous session. This person was focused, direct, and sexy. She walked with a determined stride, peering at the audience from under narrowed lids. She kept her mouth pursed for the trip to the end of the runway. Mid-spin, she paused and flashed a dazzling smile. It was then that I realized: Her looks were only part of what made Violet beautiful. Confidence took care of the rest.
As an adult reader, I enjoyed this book. It was a tad more juvenille than I usually like to read (or least re-read), but the subject matter was great. It would be a great mother-daughter book club pick.
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