August 2010

Gaining the Freshman Fifteen, and a new life, too

By Veronica Chambers
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Bee should feel like the luckiest girl in the world: She’s a first-year student at Columbia University, pre-med; she lives in New York City; and she’s got a handsome, older, politically active boyfriend who seems really into her. Until . . . he’s not. Suddenly, Bee’s book smarts don’t mean a thing, and in traditional broken-hearted fashion, she’s stuffing her face when she’s not crying her eyes out.

Turns out, though, that gaining the Freshman Fifteen (plus some) is exactly what Bee needs to break into a whole new career. She’s always been a pretty girl, but the newly curvalicious young woman is getting a lot more attention—even from a modeling scout. Virtually overnight, Bee not only has a modeling contract; she’s also being featured as one of the faces (and voluptuous bodies) of an ad campaign for a new clothing line, with her own billboard in Times Square.

But will fame turn Bee’s head? In her new jet-setting lifestyle, will she forget about her best friend, not to mention the very cute and talented guy she tutors, with whom she has a seriously confusing relationship? And what about the cutthroat world of modeling? Does Bee have what it takes to make a name for herself?

Thanks to popular television shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway, the glamorous but grueling world of modeling has never been so in the spotlight. Author Veronica Chambers cleverly capitalizes on the Cinderella-story potential of an overnight discovery while also using Bee’s plus-sized physique to comment on industry and societal standards of beauty.

At times Plus goes over the top in its depictions of Bee’s glamorous new life, especially her ongoing feud with a crazily jealous model and her klutzy on-set mishaps. It’s also hard to believe that Bee could remain on the dean’s list at an Ivy League school while jetting to international photo shoots several days a week. But Bee’s story is, after all, a fantasy, and readers looking for a frothy beach read about wish-fulfillment, self-discovery and really fierce shoes will be more than happy to suspend disbelief.

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By Veronica Chambers
ISBN 9781595141651

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