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To Be Honest

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Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her ev Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats. Between her mom's diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.


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Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her ev Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats. Between her mom's diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

30 review for To Be Honest

  1. 5 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I don’t read “fluffy” contemporary titles very often; if I do, it’s probably either because it’s a random, rare exception, a nostalgic favorite, or diverse in some way that I can’t pass up the opportunity to promote the story and author. To Be Honest falls into that last category, and as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on it. “News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom. It’s the twenty-first century. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. I’m fat. Literally not I don’t read “fluffy” contemporary titles very often; if I do, it’s probably either because it’s a random, rare exception, a nostalgic favorite, or diverse in some way that I can’t pass up the opportunity to promote the story and author. To Be Honest falls into that last category, and as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on it. “News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom. It’s the twenty-first century. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. I’m fat. Literally nothing about my life is changed because that word is associated with my physical appearance. I’m sorry that someone taught you to hate yourself because of your body somewhere along the way, but I’m not going to let you pull me down with you.” To Be Honest is an own-voice story about a fat girl named Savannah, who’s learned to love her body regardless of its size. Fat rep is not something we see often in stories, but it’s slowly becoming a little more common, and I think that’s so important, because we’re finally getting to see in YA books that, just because a character is plus-size, doesn’t mean they’re a villain, or a slob, or a bad person. How was I supposed to follow up to that? Say that the thinspirations around the house were good for everyone? That her tiny backhanded comments about my weight inspired me to become fit? All both of those things did was make me feel worse and completely discourage me. Not only does Savvy deal with her weight and the way the world interacts with her, she also has a very toxic home life with a mother who, ever since going on a fad weight loss reality television show, has brought home an obsession with fitness that has reached an unhealthy level. She starts off by promoting a balanced diet and exercise, but it gradually ramps up until she’s trying to coerce Savannah into disordered eating habits. The entire issue stems from something that fat people are very familiar with, something we call “concern trolling”, which is where a person uses the guise of health concerns to harass, belittle, and/or mock overweight people. “I know that parents shouldn’t be allowed to make their kids feel like shit unless they buy into their culty dogma.” It’s not only crucial that Savannah breaks down why her mother’s actions are harmful, but also that it comes from her mother in the first place. A lot of people will say that “concern trolling” comes from their own family members most often. Not only can it cause some pretty hurtful effects, but it rarely works, instead making people feel discouraged, self-conscious, and attacked. It took everything within me not to add some extra hashtags, like #LoveYourBody or #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. Savannah has some incredible quotes here and there as she talks about how she has grown to love her body, even if she still has her moments of self-consciousness. We get to see firsthand that being plus-size doesn’t make her unhealthy, but that she also doesn’t have to obsess over weight loss and eat nothing but salads to deserve the basic air she breathes. She’s so empowering, and every time she ranted or went on a tangent, all I could think about was how much a younger Destiny needed stories like this, instead of cruelty from extended family members and crash diets that let to eating disorders. I want to put this book in the hands of every young girl, regardless of size, as we can all use a friendly reminder that we deserve to love our bodies and the amazing things they do for us. This was why I very rarely hung out with new people—their unknown reactions made me more nervous than it was worth most of the time. Savannah’s story isn’t all about her weight or her strained relationship with her mother; it’s also about her sister Ashley (her best friend, who happens to be queer and proud), her friend Grace and Grace’s cousin George (who both are Colombian), and how the three of them help Savvy not only with life in general, but with her anxiety disorder, too. As someone who also has severe anxiety, I thought the representation of Savannah’s symptoms and panic attacks was done so well, and I loved that her loved ones never treated her like a burden or as though she could just turn off her anxiety. There’s also a really fun underlying story arc as Savvy and Grace, as school journalists, investigate some unfairness between the boys’ and girls’ sports teams. Of course he wasn’t interested in me. He was adorable, charming, and actually nice. I was a sometimes-mean and generally unagreeable chubby girl. Finally, there’s the romance, which was absolutely adorable. I don’t want to get too personal (I think I’ve done that enough in this review already!), but the interactions between Savvy and George reminded me so much of myself and my partner when we first met! The friendship graduating into awkward, sweet flirting, and the fact that neither of them seem to be able to grasp how they landed the other—it’s so sweet and fluffy and cutesy, and I really enjoyed watching them come together. I blushed a deep red all over. “Can I appoint you as my official hype man?” To Be Honest was one of the cutest things I’ve read in ages. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer, but I think that’s a pretty good “complaint” to have, since it just means I loved the story so much, I wanted even more of it. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a cute contemporary read, but especially to anyone who’s looking for a little body positivity in their life. Thank you so much, Maggie, for writing this story—it meant so much to me. All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Swoon Reads for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    So much about this book hit me SO close to home, but not in the ways that I was expecting! The main plot of this one and the romance are honestly pretty average, but I ended up LOVING it because of the realness of the relationship between Sav and her mom. Their relationship in this mirrored my relationship with my own mother to a T and it was honestly a little jarring. Such an odd reading experience for me, but I definitely recommend checking this one out when it releases later this year! I recei So much about this book hit me SO close to home, but not in the ways that I was expecting! The main plot of this one and the romance are honestly pretty average, but I ended up LOVING it because of the realness of the relationship between Sav and her mom. Their relationship in this mirrored my relationship with my own mother to a T and it was honestly a little jarring. Such an odd reading experience for me, but I definitely recommend checking this one out when it releases later this year! I received an early ARC copy of this at YallWest; it releases publicly in August!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    4 stars!! I’ve been in a huge YA mood lately, and To Be Honest really hit the spot. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was great. She voiced Savannah perfectly. Savannah is a normal teen. She’s a little overweight, but it’s never bothered her. That is, until her mother went on a reality show for weight loss and everything changed in her house. Now, she’s being pressured constantly to eat a certain way. What I loved most about Savvy is that she could see beyond that and was able to st 4 stars!! I’ve been in a huge YA mood lately, and To Be Honest really hit the spot. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was great. She voiced Savannah perfectly. 

Savannah is a normal teen. She’s a little overweight, but it’s never bothered her. That is, until her mother went on a reality show for weight loss and everything changed in her house. Now, she’s being pressured constantly to eat a certain way. What I loved most about Savvy is that she could see beyond that and was able to stand up to her mom. “News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom. It’s the twenty-first century. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. I’m fat. Literally nothing about my life is changed because that word is associated with my physical appearance. I’m sorry that someone taught you to hate yourself because of your body somewhere along the way, but I’m not going to let you pull me down with you.” 
I also loved the friendship aspect of this book. Grace was the best best friend and she and Savvy’s relationship was great. Also, Savvy’s relationship with her sister, Ashley was great. The romantic aspect of the story wasn’t the biggest part of the book, but GEORGE. Sigh. I adored George. I really liked how this one turned out. Overall, a fantastic YA book I would highly recommend.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    The story was a bit simple for my taste BUT I read this for the fat rep, which I thought was great. The rep is necessary, but it could be triggering because the main character faces a lot of abusive fat-shaming from her mom, who has an eating disorder. Her weight had no role in the rest of the story or in any of the other relationships. Though there is a romance, there wasn't the 'getting a boyfriend made me finally like my body' trope. In addition to the fat rep, the main character has anxiety. The story was a bit simple for my taste BUT I read this for the fat rep, which I thought was great. The rep is necessary, but it could be triggering because the main character faces a lot of abusive fat-shaming from her mom, who has an eating disorder. Her weight had no role in the rest of the story or in any of the other relationships. Though there is a romance, there wasn't the 'getting a boyfriend made me finally like my body' trope. In addition to the fat rep, the main character has anxiety. Parts of how she handles crushes and her anxiety were reminiscent of The Upside of Unrequited, so if you were a fan of that book I would definitely recommend checking this one out as well!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    To Be Honest, this is one of the top three best YA contemporaries I've ever read. See what I did there? I have never read a book about a plus-size protagonist who didn't want to lose weight, nor has the story line ever involved anything other than the protagonist being fat. It was so freaking refreshing to read about Savannah, who is totally happy with her body the way it is. And what's even better is that this book isn't about Savannah being fat. Instead, it's about a toxic mother-daughter relati To Be Honest, this is one of the top three best YA contemporaries I've ever read. See what I did there? I have never read a book about a plus-size protagonist who didn't want to lose weight, nor has the story line ever involved anything other than the protagonist being fat. It was so freaking refreshing to read about Savannah, who is totally happy with her body the way it is. And what's even better is that this book isn't about Savannah being fat. Instead, it's about a toxic mother-daughter relationship, a high school romance, and an awesome take down of misogynistic gym teacher! Wow! It's like a plus size character was actually allowed to have a regular story without their weight defining them. What a concept! Also, anxiety rep! In high school and my early twenties, (along with major body image issues) I suffered from debilitating panic attacks that made me feel crazy and incredibly alone. It would have been so amazing to read something like this when I was younger. Unfortunately, anxiety just wasn't talked about then, (and thin was in!) but I am so thankful that it is being talked about now, and that young people now hopefully won't feel so desolate or ostracized. Savannah is such a wonderful character. She is happy, friendly, funny, and smart. I am OVER the sarcastic, sassy, closed-off girls that are rampant in YA. I want to read about someone that I would actually be friends with! And I want girls to know that they are free to be fun and silly and people will like them! You don't need to be sullen or fluent in biting sarcasm to be interesting! Mild spoilers ahead! The only thing I'm disappointed about is George. I am so torn about George. On one hand he was such a great guy for the majority of the book; they had such an adorable friendship and I'm thrilled that they were able to have a sweet high school romance without necessarily defining their relationship and having it overshadow Savannah's excitement for attending university in the fall. On the other hand I think Savannah deserved way better than a guy who ended up being afraid of his feelings for her. The scene that took place after he bailed on homecoming where he tells her how he's "never felt this way about anyone before" did not impress me. Savannah is freaking awesome and she put her feelings on the line and he really let her down. I think it's a bad cop out that a lot of guys use, and while in the end George was sincere, he still made her feel like he was playing around with her feelings and that is never okay. The bottom line is, this is a fantastic, diverse, and adorable book and if you like YA contemporaries, you should definitely read this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fizah(Books tales by me)

    Actual Rating 4.5 I would like to thank Xpresso Book Tours, NetGalley and Maggie Ann Martin for the digital arc in exchange for an honest Review! I didn’t expect that I thought this book will revolve around body shaming, It was but equally with other elements. What wasn’t there? Close bonding of sisters? Body-shaming? Best friends? Anxiety? Romance? Complex relationship with parents? Everything was there. I like the cover, It was vibrant. The friendship between Savannah and Grace is so precious. Sava Actual Rating 4.5 I would like to thank Xpresso Book Tours, NetGalley and Maggie Ann Martin for the digital arc in exchange for an honest Review! I didn’t expect that I thought this book will revolve around body shaming, It was but equally with other elements. What wasn’t there? Close bonding of sisters? Body-shaming? Best friends? Anxiety? Romance? Complex relationship with parents? Everything was there. I like the cover, It was vibrant. The friendship between Savannah and Grace is so precious. Savannah, Who owns her body with pride, she is so comfortable in her skin and frim in her believes, She has issues but facing challenges with high chin is not on of these. Romance is part of the story, but the story doesn’t rely on it, It mainly moved around relations and hardships of a family. I like the chemistry between George and Savannah, It was cute and the thing I like most is after their meetup, Savannah didn’t just ignore school stuff, which mostly happens in YA when MCs met each other school or college just become part of the background. Her mother’s character is complex but written so well, Sometimes I pity her, Sometimes I feel her but mostly I hated her. Her father was the worst character for me, He was simply mean and selfish, I know he has his own reasons but that didn’t convince me. The thing I didn’t like was the last scenes of Savannah and George, I wasn’t convinced. Overall I really enjoyed the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    andrea caro

    Firstly, let me thank Goodreads and Fierce Reads for sending me this ARC! This cover is gorgeous. "News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom." Savannah is fed up. You know those diet shows where people spend several weeks locked away from their families getting yelled at by trainers and mocked because they like doughnuts? Yeah, her mom was on that show and is exacting everything she’s learned on Savannah. This, coupled with Savvy’s big sister Ashley headed off to college, she has had enough. This book, Firstly, let me thank Goodreads and Fierce Reads for sending me this ARC! This cover is gorgeous. "News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom." Savannah is fed up. You know those diet shows where people spend several weeks locked away from their families getting yelled at by trainers and mocked because they like doughnuts? Yeah, her mom was on that show and is exacting everything she’s learned on Savannah. This, coupled with Savvy’s big sister Ashley headed off to college, she has had enough. This book, to me, was very much about being fat, body image, self-love, anxiety, and how all of it plays into a person’s self-worth. And it all felt very authentic. I really loved Savannah. She is fat and she’s okay with it, but she understands what being fat means about how she’s perceived. Savannah’s mother is another key figure in this book; a woman once fat, this book establishes through her story that a number lowering on a scale doesn’t correlate with learning to love yourself. "I’m sorry that someone taught you to hate yourself because of your body somewhere along the way, but I’m not going to let you pull me down with you." Secondary to the conversation about weight is anxiety and how it can play in to our fears about who we are and how the world looks at us. It was nice to see a character having panic attacks on the page. It was nice to see a character push others away out of fear. It was nice to see a character compare herself to others around her. It was nice to see a character build their own lives around another because being with someone you trust means you’re safe. These are all things that I’ve personally experienced and they made this book feel very real to me. A couple of notes: the romance was very cute, but not the most powerful element of the book. Savvy’s sister is gay and her best friend is Columbian. These were nice additions, but these characters weren’t really explored in a way that makes me feel comfortable in suggesting that it’s “rep”. Ultimately, a very good contemporary that felt personal and real to me. --- "You are one of our Giveaways lucky winners! You will soon receive a free copy of To Be Honest in the mail. Oh my god, I won my first Goodreads giveaway!!!"

  8. 5 out of 5

    ambsreads

    this was powerful. i may write a full review but i honestly don’t think i could do this justice tbh

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lilly (Lair Of Books)

    ARC provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review FULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKS 🖤 Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review 🖤 PLOT We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she ARC provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review FULL REVIEW MAY ALSO BE VIEWED ON LAIR OF BOOKS 🖤 Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review 🖤 PLOT We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she also has to deal with a difficult, strained, and just plain toxic relationship with her mother. Savvy’s mom went through a life changing event after her husband/Savvy’s dad cheated on her with her best friend. Her mom won a spot on a weight loss TV show & was flown across the country for intense weight loss training. Upon her return, her whole outlook on weight was toxic and Savvy was unfortunately the person she affected most. We see Savvy miss the relationship she used to have with her mother prior to the drastic weight loss. Savvy is vocal with her thoughts on the unhealthy weight loss these TV shows promote which causes her to butt heads more often with her mom. “It took everything within me not to add some extra hashtags, like #LoveYourBody or #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. I walked such a fine line with her because, yes, she was my mom, but I also did not agree with her views on her body and my body, for that matter” That being said, Savvy really does love her mom & since it’s just the two of them home now, she tries her hardest to not cause friction or let her mom’s comments get to her. We follow their relationship & the very real fights that take place leading to days of silence. Maggie Ann Martin also did a A+ job of showing us Savvy’s mom & her battle with body image. I felt terrible for her mom because you know she’s a good mom but life’s curve ball really threw her off & her self esteem really took a hit. I wanted so badly to see her mom get the help she so desperately needed & be a positive role model for Savvy. Savvy is in High School & we also get to follow her life outside her home which balances out against her home life. Savvy has an amazing best friend who she enjoys spending time with. She’s also a math tutor on the side but her real passion is journalism. There’s a a really caring teacher who encourages her not to drop out of working on the school’s paper & it leads to the sub-plot of this book. We see Savvy uncovering some under the table dealings with one of the athletic departments. We also see her tutoring turn into something more than & I cannot tell you the number of times I found myself smiling for Savvy CHARACTERS Savvy- Our MC stole my heart! she’s her own level of cool & doesn’t even realize it. Savvy is fat, tall, blue eyed and blonde with no interest in losing weight in the same unhealthy manner her mother has. She definitely has her inner monologue of self doubt running in the background but she knows that to love her is to love ALL of her & nothing less will do! This made her all the more relatable cause we all have those moments of self doubt but to see her love the skin she’s in meant everything to me. Savvy is also very funny, knows all the lyrics to every Eminem song, and is a math wiz even though she’d much rather be writing to make a difference in the world of journalism. Ashley- aka Big Sis, I LOOOOVE the sibling relationship between Savvy & Ashley who is now in college & trying to be there for Savvy even while college life is taking place. Ashley is described as being tall, slender, and a beauty by Savvy herself but never does Ashley make Savvy feel anything less than a beauty herself. Ashley is Lesbian & seeing Savvy encourage her to show interest in her college crush was the sweetest! Grace- Savvy’s best friend & partner in crime when it comes to journalism. Grace is Colombian & part of a BIG family who has welcomed Savvy into their circle whole heartedly. What I loved MOST about Grace is how supportive & in tune she is with Savvy when it came to her anxiety/panic attacks and general discomfort. She also isn’t afraid to give it to Savvy straight when she sees her bestie self sabotaging her own chances. Grace legit got Bestie Award Of The Year from me at the very end when they went shopping for Homecoming dresses… George- The love interest here who also happens to be Grace’s cousin. I knew this guy was going to be a favorite of mine the minute he corrected Savvy for thinking he wasn’t part of the family based on his more Caucasian appearance. George is also blonde, tall, and slender and very much Colombian. George is tutored by Savvy in math & all throughout we see him take a real interest in Savvy. Legit I wish I had a George in my life at 17 WRITING & FINAL THOUGHTS To Be Honest (see what I did there? HAHA!) this book hit very close to home, I wasn’t expecting it to stir the feelings that it did in me but by the end I was left asking where was this book when I needed it MOST?!?! growing up as a plus sized gal myself. This book introduced me to Savvy, a fat MC who isn’t fiercely confident in the skin she’s in but she isn’t NOT confident either if that makes any sense. Well it did to me since this was the attitude I adopted in High School, I was Savvy & the things she experiences in this book with her mother and even in her love life, are things that feel all too familiar to me as a grown woman looking back. I wish this book had existed back when I found myself in a toxic home & turned to books as a way of comfort. Within these pages I see strength & courage for those who just want to love themselves but keep getting dissuaded at every turn. I see a MC who although she battles internally with what others may think…knows that she won’t allow anyone to love her any less. This book handled a variety of topics well, body image & mental health being at the forefront. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to read this book as I am currently on my own personal weight loss journey. This book lifted my spirits & reinforced my confidence in my own path to healthy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    TL

    Thinking it over, overall I did enjoy the book but I wish some things had been elaborated on more (view spoiler)[Stuff with Savvy's Dad and Mom, the newspaper story couple examples (hide spoiler)] . There were some great moments in this and the banter between the characters was lots of fun and I loved Savvy/Grace but sometimes it felt too... light. When the book ended I had to blink a few times because I wasn't expecting it. I turned the page before the acknowledgements to be sure I hadn't missed Thinking it over, overall I did enjoy the book but I wish some things had been elaborated on more (view spoiler)[Stuff with Savvy's Dad and Mom, the newspaper story couple examples (hide spoiler)] . There were some great moments in this and the banter between the characters was lots of fun and I loved Savvy/Grace but sometimes it felt too... light. When the book ended I had to blink a few times because I wasn't expecting it. I turned the page before the acknowledgements to be sure I hadn't missed anything. My brain's first thought "Oh, its over?" Not saying this isn't worth the read, just saying it could have been better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. *4.5 stars* I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Content warnings: fatphobia (addressed); eating disorders Wow, I enjoyed To Be Honest so much more than expected. This book had #ownvoices fat representation, excellent family dynamics, and a swoonworthy romance. It gave me everything I enjoy in a YA contemporary. Plus, it was thoughtfully done and deceptive This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. *4.5 stars* I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Content warnings: fatphobia (addressed); eating disorders Wow, I enjoyed To Be Honest so much more than expected. This book had #ownvoices fat representation, excellent family dynamics, and a swoonworthy romance. It gave me everything I enjoy in a YA contemporary. Plus, it was thoughtfully done and deceptively deep, based on the brightly-colored cover. I really enjoyed Savannah herself as a protagonist. I saw a lot of myself in her, both as a fat woman and just as a person. Her anxiety, her fears about the future, her love of school and her family… I just related to so much of her experience. Though she is plus-sized, she doesn’t hate her body or want to change it, and that isn’t her entire character. Savannah’s relationship with her mother was definitely one of my favorite parts of the story. Her mom recently appeared on a weight loss reality TV show called Shake the Weight, and ever since has been obsessed with keeping off the weight she lost on the show (and also forcing her new beauty standards onto Savannah). Though, thankfully, my parents have never shamed me about my weight or tried to change me, I definitely felt for Savannah. It’s hard to exist as a larger person when you don’t hate your body, but it feels like everyone else does. Fatphobia is so ingrained in our culture, and this book touched on that in a big way. I love that, over the course of the story, Savannah was able to speak out against her mom and the offensive comments she made about both Savannah’s weight and her own. She stays true to who she is, even in the face of all of these hurtful criticisms from one of the people she loves most. The book also focuses on Savannah’s relationship with her older sister, Ashley, who has just gone off to college. In her sister’s absence, Savannah is forced to learn to stick up for herself around her mom and to become more of her own person. This doesn’t make her relationship with her sister any less close or meaningful, but it shows a natural growth in her as a person. (Ashley is also queer, which, thought it doesn’t play any major part in the story, I loved.) Also, THE ROMANCE. I loved it. Savannah and George’s banter was adorable, and I love that so much of their relationship was formed when Savannah tutored him in math (YAY for girls in STEM! and for boys who aren’t assholes about girls being better at them in STEM fields!). Plus, George was a band nerd. Be still, high-school-Madalyn’s heart. All of Savannah’s fear about entering into a relationship/developing a crush/etc. felt SO true to my own experiences. Omg, and I can’t forget about the journalism side plot! Savannah and her best friend team up to investigate a scandal involving the old, misogynist baseball coach at their school for the school’s newspaper. Even though this plot was entirely unrelated to the rest of the story, I loved reading about it (and obviously, I loved seeing the douchebag of a baseball coach get his ass handed to him by two teenage girls). Overall, To Be Honest ticked all the boxes for me. It’s a YA contemporary with great representation, adorable romances, and a lot of heart. I can’t recommend it highly enough to fellow contemp lovers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Norah Una Sumner

    I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    4.5 stars. This book ended up hitting so close to home for me, and I really loved this. Will probably do a dedicated video review very soon. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karlita | Tale Out Loud

    Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram “News flash: fat isn't a bad word, Mom.” When Savannah’s sister went off to college, she experienced a life-changing moment of her own. Having only Fiyero the monster poodle and her mom around, Savannah had to deal with her emotions and anxiety that was filled by her mom’s one-track mind to count calories and food restriction. From her parents’ divorce to her mom joining a weight-loss reality TV show, Savannah felt her insecurities sk Full Review at Tale Out Loud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram “News flash: fat isn't a bad word, Mom.” When Savannah’s sister went off to college, she experienced a life-changing moment of her own. Having only Fiyero the monster poodle and her mom around, Savannah had to deal with her emotions and anxiety that was filled by her mom’s one-track mind to count calories and food restriction. From her parents’ divorce to her mom joining a weight-loss reality TV show, Savannah felt her insecurities skyrocketed but I love how well she handle everything that has happened in her life. She’s funny, understanding and most of all accepts who she is—what body she has. Even if her mom says her otherwise, Savannah is confident enough and believes that beauty is not define by weight or size but rather comes from loving herself first. Having said that, Kim, Savannah’s mom, for me was the complete opposite. She chose to go through an unhealthy transformation, and who am I to judge? The very person, who should have been there for her, broke not only her heart but also her trust. But her lack of confidence was not mainly rooted with her ex-husband cheating on her but with how she was raised to hate herself. So, Kim tried to earned her validity by being something she was not and living a fake reality brought by the media. On a positive note, I adore the relationship between Savannah and Ashley. They accept each other’s quirks and queer, and always have each other’s back no matter what. That same goes with Savannah’s friendship with Grace. I love the humor they brought in to the story because they totally complement each other. And let’s not forget how Savannah meeting George, her best friend’s cousin and an absolutely talented saxophonist, gave a light and fuzzy spin in to the story. The chemistry between them was 100% delightful. I love how they started off as friends like how real romance sparks and thankfully that family’s summer cookout with the Morenos happened. It was dreamy, sweet and feels like it’s truly meant to be for both of them. Moreover, I love George’s character not because he’s nice, charming and kind but because he likes Savannah by simply being her true self without pretenses. This gives us the realization on how we could easily like a person base on their outward appearances but what’s far greater than that was how we truly knows them and falling in love with someone for all the right reasons. Unmistakably, this story brought a powerful and positive fat representation in YA that every one of us deserves to have. In an interview I did with Maggie Ann Martin, where she talks about body positivity and how this book hit very close to home for her, she clearly pointed out the issues we have today about perceived beauty and body image. To Be Honest is a fun, breezy and affirming story about how you #LoveYourBody because #AllBodiesAreGoodBodies. From being fat to openly and happily living as gay, the story immensely surrounds itself with an attitude of acceptance and gave readers a strong message on self-love and importance. “There’s no expiration date on acceptance.” Thank you to NetGalley, MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group – Swoon Reads, Xpresso Book Tours and Maggie Ann Martin for providing me an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    3 stars I honestly have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. I loved Martin's debut--it was such a light, fun, and comical contemporary! It was sweet, funny, and a total blast to read. And in a lot of ways, To Be Honest shares a lot of similarities with The Big F. But in a way, I feel like the similarities took away some of the good things about To Be Honest. To Be Honest tackles a lot of more serious topics than just failing class--eating disorders and weight loss and divorce and a whole bunch 3 stars I honestly have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. I loved Martin's debut--it was such a light, fun, and comical contemporary! It was sweet, funny, and a total blast to read. And in a lot of ways, To Be Honest shares a lot of similarities with The Big F. But in a way, I feel like the similarities took away some of the good things about To Be Honest. To Be Honest tackles a lot of more serious topics than just failing class--eating disorders and weight loss and divorce and a whole bunch of other topics that carry a lot of emotional weight for people. But I feel like it kept the same sort of jolly tone that was present in The Big F, which made the story not really click for me. There are seriously a bunch of things jammed into this novel--Savannah's insecurities as one of them. And for something that's less than 300 pages, I felt like we just didn't get enough examination of any of the themes--her mom's fixation on weight loss, Savannah's news story about the funding gap between the girls' and guys' team, Savannah's own insecurities and her relationship with George, or Savannah's relationship with her dad after the divorce. I liked Savannah and thought she was definitely a fun protagonist--she has a strong voice and she's just a great person that you'd want to be friends with. I think Savannah herself is probably the best part about this book, because she really feels super genuine. That being said, I still think Martin did not do nearly enough examination on any of the major themes. It made it feel like Martin wasn't taking the topics seriously, and I wish this book was longer and more drawn out. Some of the scenes felt rushed--even the Very Big™ scenes that would be life changing events. It wasn't just that these scenes didn't get enough page time--it was also that the emotional weight to these circumstances didn't match the severity of the event. What Martin did address of these themes though, I think she did very well. We learn a lot about Savannah's insecurities and the romance is frankly, adorable, and it all wraps together pretty nicely, if not somewhat shortly. I love how Martin talked about body positivity and weight loss especially, not just because of an #OwnVoices standpoint, but also because she points out the issue with those extreme weight loss shows and really asserts her view of loving your body. The contrast between the view on weight & being fat of Savannah and her mom was drastically different, and this is probably one of this novel's themes that I think Martin did the best with. I did want a little more on this, but I think this was one of the themes that was most explored with Savannah's concern for her mother's health and trying to find the happy medium between boundaries and concern. Overall, I think the premise was good, but the execution made this book not as good as it could have been because the tone matched a romantic comedy rather than the more serious novel To Be Honest. If you think the premise sounds interesting, then I definitely recommend you check this out! It's still a quick and easy read, regardless of depth. Thank you so much to Swoon Reads @ Book Con for providing me with an advance reader's copy in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ad Rocks Socks

    YES, YES, YES! Finally a YA book which promises a curvy girl AND has a gorgeous curvy girl on the cover! Can’t wait to read this one! *so excited*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura (bbliophile)

    I managed to read this book in just one day, which says a lot. I loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This was a lot of fun! Great fat rep, great discussions about diet culture and fatphobia and the expectations of family. I wish it was a little longer because there were a lot of subplots I wanted to see more from, but otherwise it was wonderful. Great friendships, sweet romance, STEM + liberal arts mixing, discussion about jock stereotypes. Lots of things I adore. TW for fatphobia, eating disorders (anorexia/starvation), a few mentions of homophobia, emotional abuse

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    Positives: the sister relationship, the open discussion about weight, body image, and disordered eating. I wish that the subplots (one about Savvy's journalism investigation and the other about Savvy's mother) had been better developed, but I think YA readers will enjoy this! Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for r Positives: the sister relationship, the open discussion about weight, body image, and disordered eating. I wish that the subplots (one about Savvy's journalism investigation and the other about Savvy's mother) had been better developed, but I think YA readers will enjoy this! Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds! Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    I will alway support a book that promotes body positivity, and this one also happened to feature a main character I totally fell in love with. • Pro: Savannah was too fabulous, and charmed the pants off me. She was smart and full of life. She was driven, confident, and lots of fun. I absolutely loved her, and I loved her, because she loved herself. No approval needed. • Pro: The sisterhood Savannah shared with Ashley was really wonderful. These two were pretty adorable together, and supported eac I will alway support a book that promotes body positivity, and this one also happened to feature a main character I totally fell in love with. • Pro: Savannah was too fabulous, and charmed the pants off me. She was smart and full of life. She was driven, confident, and lots of fun. I absolutely loved her, and I loved her, because she loved herself. No approval needed. • Pro: The sisterhood Savannah shared with Ashley was really wonderful. These two were pretty adorable together, and supported each other through their parents' divorce and their mother's weight loss journey. They were so much more than sisters to one another, they were best friends, and even though Ashley was away at college, she was there when Savannah really needed her. • Pro: I really found George sort of adorable, and the scenes he shared with Savannah were precious. I loved his nerdy t-shirts, his pineapple pizza, and his musical prowess. • Con: This may just be me, but there were some loose ends, and some of the resolutions seemed a little rushed, but I still really enjoyed all these subplots and just wanted more. • Pro: I really liked the way Martin challenged the reality weight loss industry. Those shows have created unreasonable standards and expectations for people, and it was an interesting way to explore healthy/unhealthy weight loss as well as the impossible beauty standards that exist. • Pro: The fat rep was pretty great. Martin really touched on those things, which I think a lot of people, who have never been overweight are not aware of. Your jiggly bits being exposed and touching someone else, not being able to shop in the same store as your thin friend, being made to feel self-conscience when you eat in front of people, being thought of as invisible or "less than", because you don't fit the size-0 beauty standard. • Pro: Grace and Savannah were a great team, and I always love a healthy and positive female friendship. Overall: A rather charming and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and loving yourself. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  21. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    MY MIND AUTOMATICALLY GOES AFTER SEEING THIS! UPDATE! I received a DRC of the book through NetGalley, Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours. Thank YOU! Spoiler-free thoughts: (1) There was a strong display of family dynamics: among Savvy’s mom, dad, and sister. Her mom had gone distant after she joined the television show and gone divorce from her dad. Her dad whom now lives away from them. And Savy’s sister Ashley who just left too because of college. Savy’s relationship with them was rocky and unsteady. I MY MIND AUTOMATICALLY GOES AFTER SEEING THIS! UPDATE! I received a DRC of the book through NetGalley, Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours. Thank YOU! Spoiler-free thoughts: (1) There was a strong display of family dynamics: among Savvy’s mom, dad, and sister. Her mom had gone distant after she joined the television show and gone divorce from her dad. Her dad whom now lives away from them. And Savy’s sister Ashley who just left too because of college. Savy’s relationship with them was rocky and unsteady. It was an adjustment for all of them. It can be tough but Savy was trying to be strong for everyone. Honesty, there were two scenes from these that made me tear up. I felt it. I connected with Savy. (2) It was narrated through Savy’s most personal thoughts. She has insecurities and she did not sugarcoat it for the people around her. And her experiences with her panic attacks were shown. How she deals with it in her life, and her development throughout the end. She’s strong, stubborn, and smart! I really like the idea that the young adult who’ll be having this book in their hand inspired by this image of embracing yourself and being comfortable with your own skin. (3) Fluffy romance, and seekers of slow burn romance out there? You may want to see this one. It was so adorable. Bumps along the road, of course. And how it winds up to where it is now, seeing views of both parties come down to that decision was really beautiful and touching. All the blushing made me blush too. (4) Positive body image~ Today we’re are now being offered more representations in books and I love it. “News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom. It’s the twenty-first century. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. I’m fat. Literally, nothing about my life is changed because that word is associated with my physical appearance. I’m sorry that someone taught you to hate yourself because of your body somewhere along the way, but I’m not going to let you pull me down with you.” I love how Savy’s being positive and accepting of herself and trying to put some sense into her mom too. We all deal differently with our insecurities. Basically on everything. The way Savy did with hers empowers the reader too, or just me. Pretty sure not only me though. “There is no expiration date on acceptance.” (5) In the book, there is an intense passion shown over, writing, learning, teaching, and playing a musical instrument. Savy’s love for writing. And George’s intense music love over clarinet and saxophone. (6) It really was a diverse set of characters, all shapes, color, and sexual orientation. I hope to see this couple, maybe in another book? (7) Kick-ass supporting bestie, Grace. Okay, another maybe? I love her already. She’s been supportive and had displayed a hell-lot of enthusiasm over writing too. I’d love to see more in the same literary universe, something. (8) Plot. It was a short read. A bit baffled that I was already reading last bit of it. But it did flow on satisfactory for me. (9) Concluding the issue of fatphobia. It was addressed and wrapped splendidly. (10) I am repeating myself over but, I really love the idea of young adult understanding and feeling represented by a book. I hope they’ll connect with the MC and themes of the book. (11) There is also this adorable poodle named Fiyero! To Be Honest has to be one of the most honest read out there today!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sara (A Gingerly Review)

    3 stars. While I gushed about the book as I progressed through it, I ended with mixed feelings. I'll do a full review but here is the short list: - The ending felt rushed - The big event of the story felt even more rushed and wrapped up with a neat bow - Too many serious topics in a short book - Story lines needed to be explored more than they were I liked this story, loved the MC, but walked away more confused than feeling good about what I read. FRTC ------------ Full review can be found here: https:// 3 stars. While I gushed about the book as I progressed through it, I ended with mixed feelings. I'll do a full review but here is the short list: - The ending felt rushed - The big event of the story felt even more rushed and wrapped up with a neat bow - Too many serious topics in a short book - Story lines needed to be explored more than they were I liked this story, loved the MC, but walked away more confused than feeling good about what I read. FRTC ------------ Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com... Where to start with this story. I still have so many thoughts and feelings that it is tough for me to properly organize them. While I did gush about the beginning of the story, the middle and end had me ready to DNF and never look back. This went from “Where was this story when I was in school?!” to “What in the actual is going on. COME ON”. Short recap: Savannah “Savvy” is having a rough senior year. Her big sister and best friend has left for college, leaving her at home to maneuver her relationship with her unstable Mom. I say unstable because her Mom was a former contest on a reality weight loss show and is obsessed with “losing that extra 15 pounds”, all while fat-shamming her daughter into losing weight. On top of that home life drama, Savvy has started to develop feelings for her best friend’s cousin while trying to figure out where she wants to go to college and uncovering some very juicy story about her school’s athletic department. WHEW. Do you see how much was happening in this story?! I didn’t even mention that Savvy (not the biggest fan of that nickname) was also dealing with her parents being divorced and the outrageous fact that her dad has little to nothing to do with her. The further I got into this story, the more of a steaming hot mess it became. This was the textbook definition of “Too Much Happening In One Story”. This book had far too many topics that it tried to cover and ended up missing the mark on all of them. I’ve mentioned most of the topics above so you could see how all over the place it really was. The first half of the book did an alright job talking about Savannah’s struggle with her Mom always making snide and rude comments about her weight. Talk about downright rude. I wanted to punch her Mom so bad it made my hands shake. But, Savannah never, ever said anything to Mom about how hurtful her comments were. I quickly grew tired of Savannah always being the verbal punching bad and never standing up for herself but mentally she would verbally spare with whoever was hurting her. Either you stand up for yourself or you don’t. You don’t get to be both in this story, Savannah. She constantly – and I absolutely mean constantly – gave people permission to talk to her and treat her badly because she refused to say something about it. During one scene, Savannah had a cute boy over and he brought pizza while she was making cookies. Her Mom comes downstairs and has an outright blow up session about how she doesn’t want “that kind of food” in the house. She goes on to take the cookies out of the oven and throw them away while threatening to throw the pizza away that the boy brought over. Instead of confronting her Mom or saying something, she made an excuse and left the house. She simply took the boy and the pizza and left the house to go somewhere else. Then she made an excuse for her Mom’s behavior. That, my dear readers, sounds like “enabling” to me. The last half of the story was filled with too many topics to keep straight: corruption at the high school, Savannah’s mom being admitted to the hospital, boy troubles for Savannah, nobody listening to Savannah (being ignored by all adults), problems with her father and his new home life, and more. All of this was fit into the last 150-ish pages and it was not well done. Because there was so much, the ending was absolutely rushed and given a sloppy bow to bring it together. It was not believable and it was not plausible. Nothing was truly resolved at all. It did nothing but make me shake my head and wonder what I read. There was so much potential but it fell so short. I wish some of the topics had been explored more, like how Savannah dealt with her parents divorcing due to cheating or how she dealt with the nasty comments from her Mom. I don’t regret reading this story but I am upset by what I read. The premise promised one thing but the actual story delivered something else. It was not what I was expecting and therefore I don’t want to recommend this. If you are still curious, please give it a go because I know there are a lot of positive reviews. Maybe the story just hit me differently but I caution you before you do. Know that this may not be the warm and fuzzy feeling story you are hoping for.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dani (Dani Reviews Things & Love in a time of Feminism)

    CW: fat shaming, disordered eating, panic attacks Hello. This here is a book about a beautiful, intelligent high school senior who must deal with the opposing forces that are the Body Positivity movement and Diet Culture that has possessed her mother's body. Oh, and she does this while also kinda sorta falling in love with an adorable saxophone prodigy who is supportive and perfect and did I say adorable? Despite my little content warning up there, this book was emotional at times but ultimately CW: fat shaming, disordered eating, panic attacks Hello. This here is a book about a beautiful, intelligent high school senior who must deal with the opposing forces that are the Body Positivity movement and Diet Culture that has possessed her mother's body. Oh, and she does this while also kinda sorta falling in love with an adorable saxophone prodigy who is supportive and perfect and did I say adorable? Despite my little content warning up there, this book was emotional at times but ultimately delightful to read. Have I convinced you to read this book yet, or do I need to keep going? I think the first thing to talk about in a book with a fat protagonist, regardless of age or genre, is how her fatness is portrayed. And I say fatness as an adjective that she herself uses, not as a judgemental term. As a fat person myself, including when I was a teenager, it's super amazing to see protagonists like myself on the page. But it's important that their weight is not The Problem, and that the message of the book isn't that their size and worth go hand in hand. What To Be Honest does really well for me is portray Savannah as a fat girl who strives to enjoy her life and her body, but has to do this while coping with the messages she's receiving at home from her mother that aren't so positive. It's incredibly relatable, as I'm sure many other curvy people will attest to. Many of us have "concerned family" who weigh in on our food choices (ha, see what I did there) and try to drop hints about our lifestyles. For Savannah, that's her mom, who went into a spiral of her own after Savannah's dad had an affair and divorced her mom. Ending up on one of those atrocious weightloss reality TV programmes, Savannah's mom comes home a changed woman, and not for the better. What's so amazing about how Savannah is portrayed is just how aware she is of the damaging nature of the reality TV show and the messages her mother tries to impress upon her. I think this is the biggest win for the Body Positivity movement: giving teens the awareness and tools to recognise and cope with other people's negativity. For a long time, I hated Savannah's mom. Well, it started with shock, moved on to hatred, and then mellowed out into just an overwhelming sense of sadness for her. Because what Savannah's mom exhibited quickly unveiled itself as disordered eating tied with depression. I cried hardcore during any scenes with Savannah's dad. Your mileage may vary, but this book was incredibly relatable on this front, too, as what happened to Savannah's family happened to mine, albeit when I was 24 and not 17. Her relationship with her dad was strained, and she missed what they used to have before he revealed himself to be a human who made mistakes. Wow. I'm crying just reliving that because I still haven't accepted the woman my dad cheated on my mom with, and he's been with this woman for 5 years (3 openly). Adultery can really screw up a family, so just don't cheat, especially if you have kids, ok? All this talk about food and body issues and cheating makes this book sound like a real downer, but actually, it was funny and uplifting and cute enough to bring the whole tone up. Savannah is clearly a smart 17-year-old with a lot going for not, not least of which is her ability to love her friends and family. She's also awkward and hilarious at times, and I could follow her trains of thought so easily, especially since I recognised my own teenage thoughts in hers. Savannah also happens to have the world's coolest big sister (aside from me, of course). I loved her relationship with Ashley, and it broke my heart to recognise the signs of Ashley becoming an adult with her own new life at college. It made me want to go back in time to when I first left for university so that I could remember to call my brother every day and let him know he is the most important person in my life. And finally, George. Oh my. He slowly snuck into my heart with all his gawkiness and heart. Where others would have backed away slowly, he was there for Savannah through some tough situations, including panic attacks and parental meltdowns. Honestly, that boy was awkward gold. But then he also had his own issues, and he acted like such a boy sometimes! Ugh. So do I recommend To Be Honest? To be sure. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth Summer

    I am a massive fan of Maggie Martin's debut, THE BIG F, so I knew going into this I was in for a treat. Her light and funny voice is the perfect contrast to the deeper subject. Savannah is an amazing protag. She's hysterical, brilliant, and STRONG. She can get through absolutely anything. Maggie has an ability to create such real, layered characters with humor and heart. The romance is beautifully executed and extremely swoonworthy. I'm already impatiently waiting Maggie's next book!!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Savannah Alverson is about to start her senior year without her best friend and sister, Ashley. Ashley is starting her first year of college leaving Savannah alone for the first time in seventeen years. Ashley is the voice of reason and always kept their family in check and now Savvy doesn’t know how she will get through the year without Ashley as a buffer between her and their mother. Ever since the divorce, Savannah’s mother, Kim, has made a lifestyle change since being a contestant on a weigh Savannah Alverson is about to start her senior year without her best friend and sister, Ashley. Ashley is starting her first year of college leaving Savannah alone for the first time in seventeen years. Ashley is the voice of reason and always kept their family in check and now Savvy doesn’t know how she will get through the year without Ashley as a buffer between her and their mother. Ever since the divorce, Savannah’s mother, Kim, has made a lifestyle change since being a contestant on a weight loss reality show. Since then, Savannah’s mom has been fixated on eating healthy and monitoring Savannah and her eating habits. Savannah, on the other hand, is all about body positivity and doesn’t understand or agree with what her mother is doing to herself. Can Savannah and her mother ever find a happy medium and restore their fractured mother/daughter relationship? I absolutely loved Savannah. Savvy is not ashamed of her body. She knows she is chubby and embraces her body in ways that many people in today’s society can’t. She wears bright colored clothes, she doesn’t try to hide behind black clothing to appear slimmer. She is fat and not afraid to say it either. It was really interesting to see the differences between Savannah and her mother who is obsessed with being skinny and eating healthy. Savannah believes you should be happy with the way you look and that alone prevents her and her mother from seeing eye to eye. Not only is Savannah going through a rough patch with her mother, she still hasn’t totally forgiven her father after the divorce from her mother. Savannah is just feeling so alone until she meets George, her best friend, Gracie’s cousin. For the first time she is actually interested in a boy that might even like her back. I have to say that the author, Maggie Ann Martin, really did a great job at making Savannah not only relatable, but also showing her fears as well. Just because Savannah was okay in her body, doesn’t mean that she still did not have the same fears of being accepted or of having a boy actually be interested in her in more than a friendly way. The plot really had me hooked right from the beginning and while I love the whole body positivity vibe, it was only one aspect of this story. There is so much more to this book from family relationships and family dynamics to eating disorders, and navigating high school and all the trials and tribulations that go right along with it. I also loved how we see Savvy grow as a person and change for the better. She does a lot of growing up in this story and I never felt and was glad for the fact that there was no body shaming. Sure, there were parts of insecurities peeking through on Savvy’s end, but It was very realistically done. Regardless if you are a size two or a size twenty-two, everyone has fears or something they do not like about their body. So Kudos to the author for keeping the story real and relatable. To Be Honest is a heartfelt and authentic story that shows the struggles we all go through with daily. But, it also shows the positivity in accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable in your own skin. This story is well worthy of Five stars especially for the message it sends out to young girls on both sides of the skinny/fat scale. It is real and honest and a story that every woman young and old should read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aura

    I wish I would have had more books about positive body image when I was a teen. The main character Savannah is an overweight girl who is pretty, smart and she likes herself. The problem is her mom. After a divorce, mom loses weight by participating in a reality TV weight loss show. When the mom comes home, it is obvious that there is something wrong with her and her obsession with losing weight. Her obsession is affecting the relationship with her daughter. This is a book that many teen girls wo I wish I would have had more books about positive body image when I was a teen. The main character Savannah is an overweight girl who is pretty, smart and she likes herself. The problem is her mom. After a divorce, mom loses weight by participating in a reality TV weight loss show. When the mom comes home, it is obvious that there is something wrong with her and her obsession with losing weight. Her obsession is affecting the relationship with her daughter. This is a book that many teen girls would like. I enjoyed reading it myself even though I am not a teen but I think positive body image for young women is important. When I was teen, I dont think this book would have been written. The teen fiction in my time would have been about transformation from fat to thin, from ugly to beautiful. I am glad to see this kind of fiction that encourages self acceptance and promotes self esteem in positive ways in a story that would interest girls and teens. I received this ARC ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kris

    4.5 RTC

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    Stay tuned to School Library Journal for my review!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Banks

    Content Warning: Eating Disorder w/ Hospital Stay (this is NOT the protagonist but her mom), Emotional & Psychological Child Abuse/Neglect >>Fat girl on the cover!!!!! >>Savannah is great. She's withstood her mother's bullshit and is firmly body positive, but does come with insecurities and defense mechanisms. I love how she put herself out there and did the work of progress. She's forced to live and deal with an unhealthy mom that's honestly cruel to her and struggling with mental Content Warning: Eating Disorder w/ Hospital Stay (this is NOT the protagonist but her mom), Emotional & Psychological Child Abuse/Neglect >>Fat girl on the cover!!!!! >>Savannah is great. She's withstood her mother's bullshit and is firmly body positive, but does come with insecurities and defense mechanisms. I love how she put herself out there and did the work of progress. She's forced to live and deal with an unhealthy mom that's honestly cruel to her and struggling with mental health issues. >>Great fat & anxiety rep >>I love how the shallow, competitive "health" bullshit is put on blast where it belongs. >>The eating disorder is handled well. I haven't had the same type tho so YMMV. >>I think her mom was crafted and portrayed well. She's got a tragic event in the past and damage from growing up fat. She does love her daughters but clearly plays favorites and tries to "fix" Savannah. She's very relatable and understandable but not clean and easily forgiven to me. She's a victim of the TV show praying on people, but she's also emotionally and verbally abusive and neglectful. She does have a mental illness but she has to own to her actions and their effect. >>Grace is a GREAT friend. I adore her. >>George is a sweet, shy, musical nerd that likes to eat his foot every now and again. It's nice to see a guy that isn't the typical sex crazed, emotionally stunted posturing fool. >>The dress shopping worried me, but it was a dream of a scene. Love loved it. >>I was totally with Savannah the whole way through. From her reactions to George, her dad, the journalism story, Grace, etc. >>I love how she's good at math, but it's not the end all be all. She chooses and excels at her passion which happens to be humanities, not STEM. >> I love the journalism investigation, interviews, and turn out. It's really cute and heartening. >>Dad was a let down at first and I really didn't think I'd change my mind about him, but I did. >>Totally would read more of Savannah, prequels, sequels, short stories, w/e. And her sister and Yael too! I'm really curious what would happen next. This book is wrapped up nicely and it's great, but there's threads to follow for more content that's worthwhile IMHonestO. (<---That abbreviation would be a great next title maybe?!?) Not So Great Things: >>I do wish there was more therapy and apology shown from her mom. More acknowledgement on how badly her mom (and her enabling sister) treated her, making her cave and hide when her mom was in the wrong the whole time. I hope Savannah would get therapy too. She's fine on the page, but living through that causes real deep scars and shit. Making it so easy for her mom feels like a cave in to the fatphobic society because "it's about health, she's wasn't that bad!". Yes, yes she was. It has nothing to do with health. Stop excusing abusive harmful shit. Her mom has to confront, cope, and change to properly deal with her mental illness. Letting her off the hook doesn't help anyone. >>I feel bad the second place people did a story on immigration and the winning story was about sexism, money and abuse of power. Totally realistic, but given the current events with Trump Camps, bans, ICE, and white feminism...I just feel uncomfortable with it. Kinda wish the immigrant story had won or more about it was included, like having Savannah and Grace talking to the other students at least instead of a one line throwaway. >>Ugh, Eminem. Look, I loved him growing up a loooong time ago but I've gotten better. Savannah is a huge fan and there's not a single moment of acknowledging how problematic and offensive the he is. Even when I was a die hard fan that defended him, I felt like shit with his fatphobic and sexist lyrics. I find it hard to believe she'd be that ignorant and not have any qualms or second thoughts about it. I'm surprised there was no angsty blasting of his music. But maybe that last part is me projecting. Quotes: She thought Yael was cute - Sister is gay, have w/w relationship "Has anyone told you you'd make the perfect Miss Frizzle in a Magic School Bus reboot?" he asked, smirking a tiny bit. "Very few people get to witness Savannah Shady. You should feel honored." "I know that parents shouldn't be allowed to make their kids feel like shit unless they buy into their culty dogma" "Like I'd known him for years, like we'd put a bookmark in our friendship and we were picking up where we left off. "They should put a warning on all clarinet cases: May Cause Sexual Tension." "She'd even called ahead to make sure that the stores we ended up going to carried my size of dresses, which took off another level of stress from my plated." "My goal today was to find a short dress that looked as if it was made for a fun-size, five-foot-tall human."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Annabel

    If I could give this book a thousand stars I would! I loved reading about Savannah and her life. This book is so good and it is a really important book in a time where it's still normal to bully fat girls. I loved how the story progressed and how we got to know the characters. I can think of only one thing I didn't like about this book....it was to short!!! I want more from these amazing characters.

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