Manstealing For Fat Girls -- Michelle Embree
Great title, right?
Combine Melvin Burgess' Doing It with a prose version of Ghost World. That'll get you about halfway. Like Doing It, the book has a ton of characters, but none of them are two-dimensional. They're all pretty well-developed. Even Heather, the girl with one enormous breast. Har har.
It reminded me of Ghost World both in dialogue and plot. I don't think I need to explain the dialogue similarities -- if you've read Ghost World (and you should if you haven't), you probably know what I mean when I say that Angie and Shelby walk around town having Enid/Rebecca conversations. Like Ghost World, it isn't a particularly plot-driven book. It has more of a day-in-the-life feel. (Except that it spans a few weeks.) Strong themes and explorations, but not so much with the plot. That isn't to say that things don't happen, of course.
Sixteen-year-old Angie Neuweather is the heroine. She's called 'Lezzylard' (among other things) at school, she's dealing with her mother's mustachioed fiance, Rudy, moving in and invading her space. She experiments with dieting (if you want to call wolfing at least nine Dexatrim over the course of twelve hours a diet) and with relationships -- a platonic one (assuming fantasizing doesn't count) with a popular anorexic girl named Carrie who has the ultimate goal of teaching her body how to photosynthesize and another (not so platonic one) with a car wash attendant boy on probation named Mantis. She's also an excellent shoplifter. Shelby, her best friend, is a lesbian -- out at school but not with her parents. Inez, a more periphery friend, smokes a lot of pot and talks on payphones:
Inez Oliver was outside the liquor store, leaning into a pay phone, talking with her hands.
"I'm not having your rape baby, DAD! You either give me the money for an abortion or I'm gonna have you KILLED!"
Shelby and I shot each other a look.
"Hey, you guys!" Inez hung the phone up immediately when she saw us. There was never anyone on the other end. Inez Oliver used your standard payphone to make artistic statements.
But the best (and I mean BEST) character is Robyn, Shelby's psycho older sister. She has bleached-blonde hair, skin-tight jeans and a baby-blue Cutlass. She's terrifying. I adored and feared her.
My only real complaint was the editing. As far as I could tell, my copy isn't an ARC, but I spotted quite a few typos -- if not out and out misspellings -- examples being 'shinning' for 'shining' and 'dinning' for 'dining'. And, granted, this is a pet peeve, but it's still a problem... the it's/its thing. Okay, I totally suck at grammar, but I know when not to use an apostrophe in the word 'its'. It was distracting. And frustrating. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.