Big Bones

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Publication: 8th March, 2018

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s a food diary. I have to tell the truth. That’s the point.

A heart-warming teen story from the unique voice of Laura Dockrill, about Bluebelle, aka BB, aka Big Bones – a sixteen-year-old girl encouraged to tackle her weight even though she’s perfectly happy, thank you, and getting on with her life and in love with food. Then a tragedy in the family forces BB to find a new relationship with her body and herself. 

Tuck in for best mates, belly laughs, boys and the best Bakewell tart.

Blog Yellow Text Break

Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy of this book! This in no way affects my review – all opinions are my own and honest.

When I was given the opportunity to read this book, I jumped at the chance. I’m a strong believer in the idea that the world would be such a better place if everyone could just embrace kindness and not have to drag people down for how they look (or who they are and who they love), so the promise of body positivity in the blurb had me instantly interested. Aside from Jennifer Niven’s Holding Up the Universe, I haven’t really come across that many books that focus so centrally on body image issues either, so I was really excited to give this one a go.

As soon as I started reading it, I was worried I wasn’t going to like the writing style though. I tend to avoid YA books where the characters are still quite immature (as in with the way they talk – I’m not a big fan of things like text speak and all that) purely because it’s just not relatable to where I am in life. At the same time, truthful representation of the age of a character is really important – immature characters aren’t a bad thing if that reflects their age, but I was worried that the way the characters interacted would annoy me a bit.

However, whilst the writing style isn’t one I naturally gravitate towards, it felt so authentic to the main character’s personality that I found myself settling into the flow of it easily after the first few chapters. It was nice to be able to read something that didn’t need every bit of my attention to understand it, as well.

‘Everybody is wandering around just as lost as a person ahead and the person behind. We are all winging it. You are always waiting for somebody to tell you if you’re doing it right but you never know.’

This is one of those books where I really wished there were half-star ratings on Goodreads, because whilst three stars seemed too low, it wasn’t quite up there with books I’ve rated four stars before. But I did enjoy this book – it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but that made it a much more unique read.

It’s set out as if it’s the food diary Bluebelle is tasked with keeping at the beginning of the summer holidays. Each chapter is entitled with a various food or drink (I did laugh quite a lot when I came across chapter Crumpet, I won’t lie), and I found this was one of my favourite things about the book.

There was only thing I struggled with in Big Bones, and it was how graphically food is spoken about. If I hadn’t been a vegetarian before reading it, I definitely think I would’ve been afterwards. Some of the descriptions were just a bit much for me, as I’m easily put-off food, but I’m completely aware that others who read this probably won’t feel the same – I just felt like it was something to mention because I found myself cringing quite a few times.

‘Eating is a story of your life, so when people say food is a comfort, they are right in a way; it’s always there with you. It’s always a friend. Your favourite foods travel with you your whole life, taste everything you do. Even if you’re crying over a plate, the plate is still there. Full of hope.’

By using Bluebelle’s experiences throughout the book, the author explores the way in which bigger people are treated by others, and it also tackles a really important societal issue: that ‘skinny means happy’. Being a smaller size doesn’t equal happiness. As the author mentions in the book, being skinny doesn’t mean your life is wonderful and you’ve got no worries in the world. And fat doesn’t mean you hate your body image and are a greedy person with no self-control. This is something that is portrayed in the media and it just isn’t true.

Big Bones shows Bluebelle loving herself for how she looks and who she is, whilst going on a journey that made her grow emotionally. It promotes such a wonderful way to perceive body image, and shows that it doesn’t matter what size you are – really, it doesn’t. As long as you’re happy and healthy (and being fat isn’t the same as being unhealthy), who cares? The only thing that matters is the type of person you are on the inside.

This book made me laugh, cringe, and feel emotional. It has such an important message within its pages, and I think a lot of people could learn something from it. I definitely recommend giving this one a read if you’re a fan of YA contemporaries!

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Content Awareness:

  • Accident within the family
  • Bulimia
  • Talks a lot about body image and is rather graphic about food

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