I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.How I Got Skinny, Famous, & Fell Madly In Love by Ken Baker
Published by Running Press Kids on 04-22-2014
Genres: Coming of Age, contemporary, Family, realistic fiction, Romance, tough issues, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
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"Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.
Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes.
Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame.
Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?
Today we’re featuring How I Got Skinny, Famous, & Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker. This young adult contemporary novel was released 4.22.2014 by Running Press Kids.
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
I haven’t laughed quite so hard in a long time, and it is all due to How I Got Skinny, Famous, & Fell Madly in Love. I took the kids swimming (it really is summer now!) and this was my first official pool-side read. While it isn’t all about summer, it is about California, so the sunshine definitely put me right there with Emery and her family. I highlighted so many one liners, jabs, and just hilarious comments that no one but Emery got. It was like watching a comedian in a room full of penguins. She’s hilarious, but the penguins just aren’t gonna get it. And that is half-sad, but the other half of it adds to the hilarity.
I also have a confession to make — at times I have been guilty of watching reality television shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Trust me, I’m surprised as you are. To be fair, I also love shows like Big Brother and Biggest Loser, but I’m vocal about those obsessions. It started with my husband watching the family America loves to hate on, and now if nothing else is on, I don’t mind peeking into their lives. I’m more like Emery in my thoughts on shows like this, but then again, it is a fun escape from time to time. Ironically Emery’s show was pitched as a mixture of the very three reality tv shows I like — so I found myself laughing that I picked up a book that knew me so well. I also know who Ken Baker is from E! and mostly the Chelsea Lately show. However, I didn’t make the connection between who he was and being the author of this book until after I signed up for this tour. And when I DID find out, I knew that his experiences were going to make this a great book.
And I wasn’t wrong. This is a great book — full of wit, irony, hilariousness, and a dash of social commentary. It’s a smart book and will make you think. Ken Baker understands “Hollywood” and everything that goes into it, but he’s also able to see it from the outside looking in. His journalism skills were an invaluable tool in creating this world that we can understand and appreciate for its connection to reality, but also know that we aren’t being immersed in cliques. It’s the perfect balance.
Emery doesn’t want to do the show — I love that about her. Sure, she hates the fat-shaming she gets from people, but she knows she is fat and she is afraid to talk about it. She isn’t afraid to be who she is. Sure, she’s not always happy about it, but as she said, she’d be skinny in West Virginia (ok so, I’ve never been there, but the idea is she’d be normal anywhere but LaLa land. Which is true.) I love that even though her family treats her like a science experiment, she does the show to help them. I also liked the fact that the show (aka Fifty Pounds to Freedom) is about her losing 50 lbs, which would make her 150. It’s a healthy weight at 5’6 unlike her sisters 119.2 at 5’9. I think having Emery goal to be healthy instead of like an underwear model helped make Emery a good role model.
I loved that there was a critical eye on the entertainment world. Things like “Celebrities tweeting for themselves is so 2010” and the other intricate details about how an “unscripted” television show is actually made were interesting. I mean, we know these things are happening, but knowing it and seeing it play out are two entirely different things.
“I might be happier being a Not Fat Human. I don’t even need to be skinny. I just don’t want to be fat anymore. I am over it.”
I loved Emery — I loved her when she was sarcastic, funny, even when she was being judgmental. I loved her, because she was just so real and raw. Even when she was a bit off-character from what I came to know, I felt it was genuine, because she was a teenager dealing with a lot of stress. I don’t think I would have reacted any differently to a family like hers. And as someone who is *enter the F word here*, I know what it is like to live like Emery. And I live in Texas, not ground central of the beautiful people.
It’s funny, when I read the title to this book, I didn’t expect Emery to already have a boyfriend. However, it was an interesting twist and I think it was the right move for the book. While the title says “Madly in love” the book wasn’t focused on romance. And I was REALLY okay with that (guys, I know I say this a lot – but it is true), because this wasn’t about that. It was about a girl coming to terms with who she is as a person and becoming a stronger person.
I found myself reading this book so quickly — I didn’t want to put it down. I expected something different from this book and my expectations were exceeded. I am definitely going to be reading more Ken Baker books from here on out!
Guest Post with Ken Baker
“My Creative Space”
I am not yet a bestselling author who lives in a mansion with a special writing wing, nor do I have the space for a cute guest house where I can write in Emersonian bliss. I also don’t live alone in quietude. That means, I often must leave the house to write, and that’s why you can usually find me within a few miles of my house at a coffee shop, typing away on my laptop. The combination of caffeine with being invisible in public is a creative formula that works for me.
I also tend to write best with earphones stuck in my head. I am normally not even listening to music, though I have written some decent material while jamming out to my playlists. I think the earphones (you know, the white buds that come with iPhones) act to close me off from the world just enough so that I can focus on my story and not the lady next to me gossiping with her girlfriend (though I have gotten some great material by eavesdropping on conversations!).
I find that I write better with a baseball cap on. I think it is because it reminds me of my hockey playing days in which I would don a mask and helmet, which would focus me on my battle. Writing, after all, is the most excruciating battle I have ever endured. I can use all the protection I can muster.
But quite possibly the most productive place for me to write is on airplanes. Especially in first class. Especially with no turbulence. Especially when it’s not a red-eye. But even writing on a plane, which used to be a blissful place of isolation with few distractions, is now fraught with the challenge of satellite TV, movies and Wi-Fi. One of these days, I might just have to rent a hyperbaric chamber to get away from all the external stimulation that keeps me from writing!
There is a tour-wide giveaway happening and YOU could win! One lucky winner will receive an iPod Shuffle.
Please see the Rafflecopter’s terms and conditions. Be sure to follow the instructions as the winner’s entries will be verified!
Must be 13+ To Enter – Open to US Only
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