Young Adult Books With Plus-Size Characters

Hello lovely readers! I’m back with another topic post that’s close to my reader heart. As a Plus Sized avid reader, I love reading about people who look just like me. There’s absolutely no shame in being any shape, any weight, any version of yourself – and that’s definitely what this post’s intentions are, to love yourself regardless of physical appearance and attributes – and today, I’ll be sharing a highlight of what my favourite (or want-to-reads) books with Plus Sized characters are! Read on. . .

Big Bones by 

The latest teen novel from the sparkling Laura Dockrill, introducing Bluebelle, and her moving, hilarious take on food, body image and how we look after ourselves and others
A heart-warming teen story from the unique voice of Laura Dockrill, about Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. Moving, memorable and hilarious.

Why I want to read: Already a staple on my TBR shelf, Big Bones is the exact mesh of tropes that I adore in YA fiction. Even though I tend to read the higher teen level of books (with characters older than the characters in Big Bones) this is exactly what I would’ve loved to read especially when I was in my early teen years. I can’t wait to delve into this beauty!

If It Makes You Happy by 

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she’s spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”
Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it’ll go away if they can’t make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn’t want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

Why I Want To Read: If It Makes You Happy doesn’t focus solely on the fact that Winnie, the main character, is Plus Size. It focuses on her shooting for her dreams, striving to be more than just “the fat girl” trope that has been giving us eye-rolls for days. I can’t wait to get this book – it’s highly on my to-get list soon! I can already feel like just from the blurb that I’m gonna love Winnie so much.

No Big Deal by 

‘It’s not my body that’s holding me back. I think it’s more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.’
Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.
With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.
A warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

Why I Want To Read: No Big Deal has only been on my radar very recently and I’m already kicking myself that I haven’t read it yet! I took a little sneak peek inside on Amazon with the look inside this book feature and I didn’t wanna stop reading. So on my next trip to Waterstones, I’ll definitely be popping this lovely in my basket. Emily is a character that I wish I had written: facing an inner battle between what the world sees her as and how she feels inside. With huge body positive vibes, this one is not to be missed!

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.
The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?
Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.
Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.
Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

Why I Want To Read: Sandhya is one of my favourite YA authors. After reading When Dimple Met Rishi, I knew that anything that followed was going to be incredible. And then Sandhya made one of her leads, the beautiful Sweetie Nair, Plus Size. The novel touches on her being “fat” and that this is a breaking point of her ever finding someone to love her, according to her Parents. So, ultimately, even though we all know Sweetie is gorgeous – and that others find her beautiful – someone else’s opinion on beauty can be so detrimental to us, especially those closest to us. 

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Why I Read This: This was one (maybe even the first) book I read with a character who was described as “fat” or bigger than the other girls. And despite feeling like this (the DUFF) in my own life growing up, with thin friends, reading Bianca’s story and the journey of self-love that she goes on, was so incredible, cementing The Duff as one of my favourite books (and books into movies) in YA lit.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Why I Read This: there was no stopping me when I was offered the chance to be on the blog tour for Dumplin’ when it first came out. I received a big box of Dolly Parton-esque things and a beauty queen crown and felt like the luckiest girl ever. Then I read the book – flicking pages faster and faster, falling in love with Willowdean’s personality and her friends and love for Dolly – and for a second, I forgot that being fat had anything to do with someone’s quality of being beautiful. Willowdean is a character that is beautiful inside and out, and as she grows closer to finding love, feeling pretty and singing songs loudly, I just couldn’t wait until the day they’d make a movie of it. And then they did – and it was incredible!

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.
Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

Why I Read This Book: Savannah is one of those characters that stand out as someone who you’d love as your best friend. And the pressure from her mother to diet – to the extremes – because she is fat, is a highlight of the novel that personally I have never had to deal with, but I have definitely felt the pressure from society to “get thin fast” and have a “bikini body”. But as with most YA Contemporary books, Savannah finds love – and because they both have insecurities, they bond over their shared fears and grow closer, reminding each other to live in the moment, because after all, if we’re always worrying about the way we look, act, talk, etc, we’ll never remember the things that we’ve done. 

So that’s my list of favourite YA Books with Plus-Size Characters!

Did you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Let me know in the comments below or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!

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