While this book isn’t especially my cup o’ chai, there are aspects about it I particularly like. I like that the main character is supposed to be fat, but I’m bothered by the clearly not-fat girl on the cover. (Did the publisher chicken out?) I like that her love interest is in a wheelchair.
Kid-lit today does an increasingly good job of portraying human diversity, and that excites me. It’s refreshing to see characters given believable flaws, things we see in ourselves and our friends, but haven’t always seen in book characters. Often, these lifelike flaws become the subject of the story–a story with a fat MC becomes a story about how her weight affects her life and relationships–and while that’s certainly true to life, it doesn’t need to be the main thread all the time. A fat MC could be well-adjusted and the one a community turns to when mutant centipedes attack. The fat girl’s story doesn’t have to be about her weight.
Right now, one of my critique partners is writing a novel in which the MC has a common real-life flaw that is not a common character trait in novels. It has no significant bearing on the story; it’s just part of who she is. I love it!
I also like the Australian setting and the little bit of lingo that made me scratch my head as I constructed meanings based on the context. It’s exciting to peek into other cultures through literary windows.
Your turn. What are you reading?