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To Be Honest

Review

To Be Honest

After her older sister Ashley heads off to her freshman year of college, there is nothing that Savannah dreads more than returning home without her. Savvy and her mom never got along after her mom went on a televised weight loss competition, but without Ashley to break up the fights, her mom’s obsession with weight and controlling Savvy’s health only grows more. As Savvy struggles with her worsening relationship with her mom, figuring out senior year and missing her sister, she already has enough to stress. Then she meets George. When the two grow closer, Savvy’s senior year takes a turn as she learns she needs to live in the moment and sometimes that means saying the truth.

"Maggie Ann Martin creates a book with lots and lots of humor while also bringing light to many serious issues, overall creating a unique and interesting yet authentic portrayal to a high school senior."

I think the most interesting time period for an author to write about in YA novels is senior year and the summer before college. There’s a sense of importance to the time period, it carries an enormous feeling of change on the horizon. As someone who just lived through it, I can speak from experience. A teenager’s day to day life is full of ups and downs. There are fun and cute and happy moments but there’s also lots of stress, leading to plenty of chaos and contrast. TO BE HONEST represents this chaos, dealing with many serious issues, like anxiety, eating disorders, fat shaming and tense parental relationships. However, the book also features a cute romance, excellent female friendship and plenty of wit and humor. One thing Maggie Ann Martin, the author, has perfected is a balance between these two things, making for an enjoyable read that is as fun to read and serious without ever being too heavy. Overall, this makes the novel extremely enjoyable and makes it full of heart.

As I mentioned previously, this book deals with issues like fat shaming, making it a challenging read at some points. Savvy, the protagonist, is fat and deals with these issues head on. I loved the fat representation that was featured in this book and that truly made the book standout among others. I loved seeing a main character who was fat but did not let that become a major insecurity. Savvy embraced her weight and championed body positivity, something I wish more books attempted to do. One of my biggest takeaways from the book was that we needed more characters like Savvy.

Overall I highly recommend this to anyone looking for fat representation in a book. Maggie Ann Martin creates a book with lots and lots of humor while also bringing light to many serious issues, overall creating a unique and interesting yet authentic portrayal to a high school senior. TO BE HONEST is a well-crafted coming of age story that leaves me excited to see what Maggie Ann Martin has up her sleeve next.

Reviewed by Brynn S., Teen Board Member on September 20, 2018

To Be Honest
by Maggie Ann Martin