J.S. Wilsoncroft has a knack for writing very realistic and believable characters. There is a great line toward the beginning in which Annie is talking about escaping and getting into the 'real world' where she'd be with people that had their own problems and wouldn't worry so much about hassling her for having her own.
I think a lot of us fall into that trap at some point in time, and as the mother of two teenage girls I see it first hand. School can be a nightmare and other kids,especially other girls, can be cruel. Many of us become fixated on one thing about ourselves and believe if we can just fix that one thing, or get away from that one thing, then all of our problems are solved. In Fat Chances, Annie begins to understand that her biggest problem isn't her weight or even other people, it's her own lack of self worth and that's something she can't escape.
Cory is her Zumba instructor, handsome and fit, and he takes an immediate interest in Annie. He finds her beautiful and Annie goes on the defense right away. She assumes he's not sincere, that he's one of those hot guys that thinks it's funny to play mind games with fat girls. She can't wrap her head around the concept that a guy like Cory would ever be interested in her. She's torn between wanting to believe him and a lifetime of humiliating experiences telling her that she shouldn't.
Mixed in with her internal struggle is her relationship with her twin sister who has the 'I saw him first' attitude and is angry that Cory has chosen Annie as the object of his affection. The fights, the screaming, the family drama is very real. These girls could've been my own daughters.
The author makes it easy for me to put myself in Annie's shoes. There is a time when Cory gets a peek at her unshaven legs and she's horrified, and another time when she's self-conscious about him feeling her rolls when he holds her. One part made me almost cry with laughter but I won't mention which one because it falls into the spoiler category. Loved those little touches that are both funny and heart-breaking in their realism.
My only complaint is that I wish I had more time with these characters. The ending was satisying but it felt a little rushed and didn't give me the 'closed door' feeling I prefer. I wonder if there might be a follow-up story at some point.
Overall, I loved Fat Chances for it's realism, for tackling an issue that hits very close to home for so many, and for doing it so well. Oh! I can't go without giving praise to the cover. It's beautiful and absolutely perfect. Five stars!