Review: Every Body Shines // Fat acceptance that I needed

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Title: Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories about Living Fabulously Fat
Authors: Cassandra Newbould (Editor), Nafiza Azad, Chris Baron, Sheena Boekweg, Linda Camacho, Kelly deVos, Alex Gino, Claire Kann, amanda lovelace, Hillary Monahan, Cassandra Newbould, Francina Simone, Rebecca Sky, Monique Gray Smith, Renée Watson, Catherine Adel West, Jennifer Yen
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Anthology, Short stories, Contemporary, Science Fiction/Fantasy, POC, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication date: May 25, 2021
Content warnings: Fatphobia, bodyshaming, bullying
Goodreads synopsis: 

Every Body Shines book cover

An intersectional, feminist YA anthology from some of today’s most exciting voices across a span of genres, all celebrating body diversity and fat acceptance through short stories.

Fat girls and boys and nonbinary teens are: friends who lift each other up, heroes who rescue themselves, big bodies in space, intellects taking up space, and bodies looking and feeling beautiful. They express themselves through fashion, sports and other physical pursuits, through food, and music, and art. They are flirting and falling in love. They are loving to themselves and one another. With stories that feature fat main characters starring in a multitude of stories and genres, and written by authors who live these lives too, this is truly a unique collection that shows fat young people the representation they deserve.

With a foreword by Aubry Gordon, creator of Your Fat Friend, and with stories by:
Nafiza Azad, Chris Baron, Sheena Boekweg, Linda Camacho, Kelly deVos, Alex Gino, Claire Kann, amanda lovelace, Hillary Monahan, Cassandra Newbould, Francina Simone, Rebecca Sky, Monique Gray Smith, Renée Watson, Catherine Adel West, Jennifer Yen


(Read and reviewed in behalf of The Nerd Daily. You can find the original post here.)

Hello book nerds and bookmys! (Yes, I’m including bookmys now since I’ve been talking about BTS a lot now, too. Sorry not sorry? 😂) It has been a while, and I’m so sorry! I’ve been busy reading, working, and handling personal projects. And now I realized it has been a while since I posted a book review here!

So here is a treat for you, my review of Every Body Shines! I loved reading this book, especially as a fat person. Simply put, it’s the anthology about fat acceptance that I needed deep in my heart. I read and reviewed this for The Nerd Daily back in April and never had the chance to share it here, so here you go!

My thoughts on Every Body Shines

I was already emotional when I read the introduction of this anthology. I should have taken that as a sign that this book will truly have an impact on me, not just as a reader but also as a fat person myself.

Every Body Shines managed to hurt me and comfort me at the same time. It’s an anthology that spans across various genres, featuring a diverse cast, celebrating body diversity and fat acceptance. Throughout these stories, we see fat people face fatphobia and a lot of it (and please be careful, as it can be jarring). However, we also see them challenge other people and their prejudice, build confidence for themselves, and start to live their lives the way they want it. Reading these different stories was heartbreaking, and moving, and beautiful.

Guilt Trip by Claire Kann – This was really fun and nice! I loved that we see fat people singing, dancing, and being fashionable in this story. I also loved that family, even though not by blood, was highlighted here.

Shatter by Cassandra Newbould – This was really interesting! I love the blend of science fiction and drama, plus it was really symbolic in its own way. The sapphic characters and the subtle sapphic romance were also a nice addition.

Prom Queers by Alex Gino – Oh, this was so beautiful and so precious. I loved the nonbinary rep, and how this story showed how gendered our clothes are (which really shouldn’t be). This also highlighted how hard it is to find clothes that make us look and feel fabulous and we can work on that.

Dupatta Diaries by Nafiza Azad – This one hit hard. This one really hit close to home. It was hard for me to read this story, but at the same time it was necessary and affirming. The way family is our own enemy, the one who berates us the most about our weight.

Food is Love by Chris Baron – Oh, I wanted more of this! I love how food is the main theme here, and how the main character is trying to make new memories and start a new despite not-so-great memories from the past. There was pain in this story, and yet there was also hope.

Orion’s Star by Catherine Adel West – This was really precious. I love how it focused on family relationships and dreams, and how sometimes we have to work and put in an effort to achieve both.

Weightless by Sheena Boekweg – This has to be my favorite in this anthology! This was so cute, and precious, and otherworldly. The character development was awesome, the science fiction and math part was so cool (I can’t believe this made math cool for me!), and the subtle romance made it all fit together. I also loved how this just showed that fat people are more than just their weight, that they deserve to be everywhere they want to be, that their worth and their talent and skills have nothing to do with being fat.

Outside Pitch by Kelly deVos – This one was odd in its own way, but somehow still a very enjoyable and cute read about taking chances.

Filling the Net by Monique Gray Smith – I adored reading this one. Loved that the focus was a family coming together, even after grieving. And that fat, Asian girls also excel in sports so wonderfully.

A Perfect Fit by Jennifer Yen – This was really emotional. And probably hard to read. It’s a story that represents many fat girls and how we’re subjected to fatphobic comments even from our own family. That said, it was great to see the main character grow and overcome each and every unnecessary comment from other people.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Rebecca Sky – This was really fun, despite tackling a touchy subject at first. Still, family and sportsmanship were main themes here, which was great!

Letters to Charlie Brown by Francina Simone – This had such a unique writing style and story telling technique. Told through letters to the fictional character, this was an interesting story. One that showed the innocence of the main character, and how she navigated childhood and pre-teens.

Love spells and lavender lattes by Amanda Lovelace – Well, this was interesting as well. The setting can be a bit confusing, but this took me on a small journey of love and magic.

Breathe You In by Hillary Monahan – Oh, this was brilliant! The Little Mermaid retelling with a dark, exciting twist? I loved it!

Unpleasant Surprises by Linda Camacho – This was an interesting one. Love that friendship and family were the main themes, and it also gives us an insight to coping with change and dieting, and more.

Letting Go by Renée Watson – The perfect ending to this anthology. Really short, but the sweetest.

I felt like crying reading this book. I’ve gotten so used to fatphobic remarks and microaggressions that reading about body positivity and seeing fat people celebrate their bodies, felt like an honest-to-god breath of fresh air. Like being cooped up in a very small house for so long and then finally stepping out, moving about, and seeing the sun. That’s how it was for me.

These stories try to show that fat people deserve to be here, that we deserve to take up space, and we do deserve the same respect and kindness. These stories speak of love and life, of friendship and family, and it’s just wonderful to see these different authors get together to write this anthology.

Buy Every Body Shines

Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble


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