It’s summer vacation, and that means I am tackling a TBR Pile (To Be Read) a mile high. You know that I love a good book featuring an empowered, Plus-Sized person in the starring role. While there is still a long way to go till this is common, it’s becoming easier all the time to find stories that hold characters that look like me up in a positive light. (Thank goodness that the world is becoming wide enough to accept and love people as they are!)
Imagine how excited I was to stumble upon an advertisement on Instagram for a whole SERIES of books featuring amazing, powerful fat girls! The Curvy Girls Club, by Kelsie Stelting is a series of YA Romances with a group of Plus-Sized girls as the main characters. Over the course of 10 novels (and counting), this group of high school friends tackle societal pressure to fit the mold, while dealing with the usual pressure of plans for the future, grades, family, romance, and learning to love yourself. After finding the books on Amazon, I immediately ordered the first two to dig in to the series.
Book #1: Curvy Girls Can’t Date Quarterbacks tells the story of Rory, a student at Emerson Academy, an affluent California prep school. Rory has a serious crush on Beckett Langley, the high school quarterback. She is constantly bullied for her weight, especially by mean girl, Merritt. One day, Rory has had enough and takes the bait from Merritt who bets her that she cannot get Beckett to take her to Homecoming. While trying to win his attention, Rory finds a group of Plus-Sized friends who become her cheerleaders and her support system… thus The Curvy Girl Club is formed. Throughout the story, there is tenderness, chaos, heartbreak, and ultimately the right girl gets the guy.
Book #2: Curvy Girls Can’t Date Billionaires follows Jordan, another member of the Curvy Girl Club. Jordan’s biggest struggle throughout the book is fighting the stigma of being the girl on scholarship at her prep school. She and her mother work as house cleaners to help pay a series of large medical bills and keep a roof over their heads. So when they start cleaning for Kai Rush, a billionaire who attends her school, Jordan is incredibly embarrassed. After spending some time together, Kai starts to fall in love with Jordan, and she must combat her own prejudices and decide if she is willing to let his love in.
Ultimately, I just don’t think this book series is written for readers like me. First of all, the books feel like they are written for a very young audience. I know they are YA books, but I am not sure they would keep my high school student’s attention. The romances are saccharine and cliche. Any kind of conflict is resolved too quickly and easily, even things that would be a serious issue in real life.
I also had a serious problem with Merritt, the bully from Book #1. Her actions were really cruel… too cruel, honestly… and there was very little reaction from the adults, or consequences for her behavior. This really did not sit well with me as a teacher and left a really bitter taste in my mouth.
I also felt frustrated… and frankly, annoyed… that the girls’ size still needed an excuse, or a REASON that they were fat. Rory is constantly talking about how she is bigger because she has PCOS and so she can’t help her size. Like, why can’t she just be happy and plump with no excuses. (Guess what… that happens!)
In the end, two books were enough for me. I don’t think I will continue to read the series. I think it is a great idea, and it will definitely appeal to those who like sweet stories with always happy endings. Honestly, I would recommend them to my middle school students. I’m glad that more body positive stories exist. Sadly, these just weren’t for me.