Fat Chance, Charlie Brown
by Crystal Maldonado
Published by Holiday House
Releasing on February 2nd, 2021
YA FICTION-Contemporary, Romance
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard.
Harder when your whole life is on fire, though.
Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.
People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.
But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? UGHHH. Everything is now officially a MESS.
A sensitive, funny, and painful coming-of-age story with a wry voice and tons of chisme, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega tackles our relationships to our parents, our bodies, our cultures, and ourselves.
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021.
By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra.
She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Congratulations on your debut! What was your inspiration for Fat Chance, Charlie Vega?
Thank you so much! The inspiration for this book came from my own high school experience, my journey to self-acceptance, and my love story with my now-husband. Like Charlie, I grew up in a town where I felt like I really didn’t fit in. Though my classmates were nice to me, I personally just felt like I wasn’t what the world viewed as “normal” in any way at all—I was brown, fat, wore glasses, and didn’t live with my parents. There were so few positive depictions of fat characters in media then, too. Though there are more now, it still feels like fat girls deserve better. I wanted to do what I could to change that and show that fat girls everywhere are worthy of a happily-ever-after!
What has been your favorite part of being a debut author so far?
Hearing from readers has been hands-down my favorite part. I’ve already been fortunate enough to have folks reach out and say they see themselves in Charlie and in her story, which means the world to me. Those are exactly the people for whom I wrote this story!
What are you hoping readers take away from your story?
I really hope that readers finish this book feeling seen and validated. It can be pretty lonely to consume media but never quite see yourself reflected back at you. To me, if this book helps even one person feel worthy and understood, then I’ll have done exactly what I set out to do. I’d also love for Charlie and her story to start conversations on things like fatphobia and Latinx identity, and how there is no one right way to be fat or Puerto Rican. There’s only your way, and that’s completely valid.
What was your favorite part of writing Fat Chance, Charlie Vega?
Brian is based on my real-life husband, so I’d say that writing that love story was my favorite part because it helped me to relive my own love story with my husband! Like Charlie and Brian, my husband and I met in high school, so it was fun to remember what that was like and to put moments from our real life into the story. For example, Brian’s valentine to Charlie is inspired by a valentine my husband gave me my senior year!
If you could spend one day with Charlie, what would you do? Are there any places you would visit?
I would love to spend the day with Charlie! I think it’d be fun to visit some of her favorite places in the book, like her beloved used bookstore. We could grab something to drink (and maybe a sweet treat) at Jake’s and then we could spend some time shopping for some cute clothes. Since we’re both fat, we’d have the added joy of being able to shop at the same stores! Once we were good and tired, I imagine we’d either listen to some music and write or just relax and watch Netflix. Sounds like a pretty great day to me!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot! Figuring out what you like to read can help you determine what you like to write. Which kind of voices resonate with you? Which genres? What similarities do the stories you revisit have in common? Knowing all of that can help you in your own writing. And remember there’s no wrong way to write a book. Absolutely no one can write your story the way you can!
Is there anything else you would like to let the readers know about Fat Chance, Charlie Vega?
Thank you! Thank you for the support for the book, for Charlie, for me, and for stories like these.
BOOK BLOG TOUR
Turn the Page Tours – Welcome Post/Author Interview
Turn the Page Tours – Welcome/Blogger’s Choice
Up for grabs during this book blog and bookstagram tour will be one finished copy of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado! To enter to win, follow along on the blog tour. This giveaway will begin on February 8th and end on February 15th at 12:00 a.m. CST. It will be open to USA readers only. There will be 1 winner.