I have such intensely mixed feelings about Fat Girl on a Plane.
The book centers around a girl named Cookie Vonn. And she is a girl, since she’s between 17 and 19 for most of the book, though she reads as a 20-something young woman. Anyway, when you meet Cookie, she’s very overweight. I think she’s between 300 and 350 pounds at this time, and she’s about to board her connecting flight to New York, where she will meet fashion icons and talk her way into a huge scholarship to Parsons (supposedly). Unfortunately, she’s deemed “too fat to fly” before they even start boarding the plane, and is forced to buy another ticket.
After you’re introduced to Cookie, you meet… well, Cookie. But she’s the Cookie of the near-future, who has dropped most of her weight and is now a size six somehow. She is also boarding a plane to New York, but this time she’s in first class and riding next to a famous fashion designer.
The rest of the story is told in alternating POV chapters, some from Cookie after she drops the weight and others from before. This format is a little strange, but it actually isn’t too jarring or annoying, and it doesn’t really read as “thin people’s lives are so much better,” which I was afraid of.
One the one hand, it was really well-written. The character arcs were well-done, the plot was mostly interesting, and the past/present perspectives actually worked well for me.
On the other hand, there were some uncomfortable parts and some boring parts and the ending kind of left me feeling like there was no point to this book.
Cookie’s character is rife with flaws, in a good way. She’s a very realistic young adult character who doesn’t really know what she’s doing and messes up some relationships on her way to success, which doesn’t end up being as glamorous as she thinks. The supporting cast is also fairly realistic, and I genuinely enjoyed the author’s character arcs.
But, then again, Cookie’s main love interest for most of the book is a middle-aged man. She is 19 at the time, and she loses her virginity to him. They get it on more than once. She lives with him for a long time, she depends on him for food, clothes, housing. She is literally at the mercy of a middle-aged man she is sleeping with. It’s a little gross, honestly, and definitely doesn’t seem right.
Also, no spoilers, but the ending of this book really fell flat for me. I feel like the big, driving force keeping me interested was uncovering the parts of Cookie’s before chapters that lead up to the after ones. The plot uncovering itself was a really dynamic way to write a story, but there wasn’t really anything at the end. Cookie just sort of goes on this her life, and it ends.
Overall, I’d say this book was a solid 3.5, but since we don’t do half-stars, I’m leaning toward a three. The reason I’m rounding down here instead of up lies mainly in the uninspiring ending and the weirdly uncomfortable love interest — but I did really enjoy the writing style, and I hope I see more from Kelly deVos in the future.