Review: Fat Cat by Robin Brande

Fat Cat

Fat Cat is full of cute science geeks, caffeine withdrawal symptoms, and great best friends. I loved the concept at first, started doubting myself half way through the book, but ended up still enjoying the book at the end. I have to say that I like Cat’s relationships with her friends and family a lot more than her romantic relationships, but that’s not a bad thing!

Introduction

Seventeen-year-old Catherine Locke has her mind set on doing really well in Mr. Fizer’s Special Topics in Research Science class this year and winning her category at the science fair, then going on to internationals – a perfect plan to secure the scholarships and recommendation letter she needs to get into college. However, Cat’s plan flops when she pulls out a photo of naked neanderthals out from Mr. Fizer’s stack of magazine pages… what kind of science fair topic can she get out of that? It doesn’t help that Matt McKinney, Cat’s ex-best friend who has been consistently beating her at the science fair, is also in Mr. Fizer’s class, and has been trying to talk to her again. And when Cat’s project turns out to be not so disastrous after all and she starts catching the attention of other cute guys, she has to decide if she’ll forgive Matt or hold onto her grudge forever.

Discussion

The premise of Fat Cat is one that interested me because it’s about health and diet, and seemed kind of science-related. But that ended up to be one of the issues I had with this book – which science teacher willingly approves of a student experimenting on his- or herself?? It doesn’t feel like a realistic situation, and Cat’s science fair project is basically her going on a diet. Yippee. Oh, but maybe this book came out before the paleo diet fad took off, so I can kind of forgive the plot for being what it is.

Other than that, I really like the characters. Cat is a lot of fun, and she has so much spunk and attitude that made the narrative very entertaining to read.

I’ve now spent the last several hours researching this, and there’s just no way around it: I have made a monumental mistake.

Because what did Homo erectus eat? Was it tasty fruits and vegetables and nuts and berries?

Um, no.

They ate carrion. Also known as dead and putrefying flesh.

Cat has some body image issues, as some overweight girls might have, and I like the confidence she gains as her body changes throughout the story. But even without the weight loss, “fat Cat” is still a great person, and I’m glad that Brande didn’t make Cat a weak character at the beginning. I’m also impressed by how Brande added so much support for a positive body image through dialogues between Cat and her (new) best friend, Amanda, as well as Cat’s family members.

The romance is kind of there, but not really. As Cat becomes skinnier, she attracts more guys. A lot of them are douchebags, in my opinion, and I got very annoyed when Cat started accepting all of their advances.

But this time I have been kissed by two different guys in the past few months, multiple times each, and a third one probably would have gone for it, too.

Like, really, girl? And Cat’s grudge against The Boy was a huuuuge obstacle in their relationship, so by the time anything happened between them, the story ended. I didn’t get to know The Boy because Cat refuses to acknowledge him, so I didn’t get too attached to him. But from what I know of him, he’s definitely a step up from the other guys in the story. (Am I spoiling anything? I hope not, since any romance that has a boy and a girl in the summary usually ends up with the boy and the girl together. Enough said.)

And this is another story in which I love the female friendships to no end – Amanda is a great friend, and her relationship with her boyfriend, Jordan, is also very happy and sweet. I really like how much Cat’s friends care about her, and how much she cares about them, despite everyone’s differences.

Conclusion

Fat Cat is a cute contemporary romance with an interesting and nerdy premise that tied in something similar to a paleo diet. The narrative was entertaining and appropriately sarcastic, and even though the concept and the romance felt a bit over the top at times, I still really enjoyed this book. If you like nerdy characters, best girlfriends, and weight loss journeys, give Fat Cat a try!

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