Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee. (Grades 7+)
Rosemary Goode is a sweet, optimistic girl. She loves her family. She gets good grades. She helps out at her mom's salon. But people don't seem to see any of that because they can't see past her weight. Even her mom and her aunt sometimes act like losing weight is all that matters. She doesn't really have any friends at school and she lives in perpetual fear of the nasty girls in the Bluebirds clique - they're always on the lookout for humiliating opportunities. Oh, and everyone calls her Artichoke because of an incident involving a green down jacket in the sixth grade. (One problem with living in a small town: nobody ever forgets anything.)
So Rosemary resolves to lose weight. It won't be an easy journey. And she'll discover some things that will surprise her. Life isn't easy for anyone, even the perfect girls at her high school.
I am picky about my fat-girl books and I enjoyed Artichoke's Heart. Rosemary is a likeable character who's dealing with her problems, albeit not always in the healthiest ways. She doesn't always succeed in her struggle with weight loss, but she doesn't always fail. And the book's not all about calories and treadmills either. With the exception of her weight, Rosemary's issues are the same issues that any girl might be going through: making friends, starting a relationship, dealing with family. That's what I really liked about it. I hate to get all message-y on you, but the fact that Rosemary starts a relationship while she's fat was a big plus for me.
I also liked the cast of quirky, small-town characters that make up the background of the novel. And I have to say that this is one of the more delicious-looking book covers I've seen. It makes me want to do a book display with food covers (Artichoke's Heart, Shug... what else?).
Read more reviews at Becky's Book Reviews, Librarian by Day, and Little Willow. Also be sure and stop by Suzanne Supplee's website.