It's like the author, Jo Edwards, lived inside my head during my high school years. The main character, Ryan, is so believable and authentic. As a person who had to deal with not being the thinnest person in her circle of friends, I can say that the thoughts and emotions of Ryan were right on.
Ryan Burke is overweight. She completely understands that she is too heavy, but like so many other "chubby" people out there, it is very difficult for her to do anything about it. Diets never last, exercise isn't a pleasant experience, and it is too easy to fall into the trap of food when she gets stressed or depressed. Ryan has a best friend that seems to be pulling away from her for no reason (although it will seem obvious to the reader why), she is on medication for depression, and has a weekly visit with a psychologist/psychiatrist.
Ryan isn't an unpopular girl; in fact, she has been extremely popular ever since her ex-boyfriend hit it big in the music business. Noah is on the cover of the most recent issue of Rolling Stone and awaiting the release of a new album and word has it, he has written a song inspired by her. Everyone wants to know what it was like being Noah's girlfriend and she is sick of that monopolizing every conversation see has.
The one thing she feels good about is her photography and she has been chosen for a special, weekend course with a well-known photographer. Her next-door neighbor and ex-best friend, Josh, was also accepted for this class which allowes her to reconnect with him.
One scene in the book that rings completely true is when Ryan attends a party with her friend Kimberlee. She meets Jared, a super hot college guy that seems to be interested in her. She doesn't feel secure, but after drinking a few beers she loosens up enough to agree to go outside with Jared. After some spectacular kissing she begins to really enjoy herself - until Jared's phone rings - AND he answers it. Ashley is on the phone, the girl he has a total crush on, and he agrees to pick her up to bring her back to the party. Ryan knows the reason Jared left the party to go get another girl is because of her weight. She thinks that if she'd been skinny he would have stayed with her.
This book had me in tears several times. I sympathized with Ryan when she had to deal with her changing friendship with her best friend, watched others enjoy relationships when she had none, and feared she made a fool out of herself with Josh. Even though it ends with pretty much a fairy-tale ending, it still is a great novel for anyone to read, especially girls that have issues with food.