Fat Angie
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Candlewick Press ● 2013 ● 264 pp
Hardcover ($16.99)
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6119-9
Ages 14 and up

With Fat Angie, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo has accomplished what many would say is impossible in a single novel: to present a strong female protagonist who feels vulnerable in every aspect of her life, to create a complex narrative that reads as elegant prose, and to throw just about every “issue” at a story while keeping young adult readers focused on what matters most—the internal journey of the characters.

When we meet Angie, it is her weight that defines her. Then, we learn about her attempted suicide (in front of the whole school), her sister who enlisted in the military, her mother who can’t be bothered, schoolmates who torment her, and Angie’s difficult relationship with just about everyone, and realize that Angie is carrying every single one of those layers within her. To complicate matters, KC Romance walks into her life—someone to love who understands her is certainly not what Angie expected.

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Life doesn’t get easier for Angie, but her focus does become clearer as the story evolves. KC’s ability to see past Angie’s exterior gives the latter the freedom and strength to find her own place in the world. However, even that road is not free of bumps when KC’s own personal issues bring some unexpected turns. The author’s detailed descriptions of the moments inside Angie’s mind are beautifully rendered, allowing us to understand the main character from the inside, out—just as KC does from the second she sees her.

Charlton-Trujillo’s third novel is masterfully crafted and her characters and situations are brilliantly touching and realistic. Fat Angie is a must-read.

—Reviewed by Marietta B. Zacker, Book Curator at Sparkhouse in South Orange, NJ