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Big Boned by Jo Watson

“A much needed narrative that looks at self discovery and self worth.”

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

Lori Palmer at 17 is a talented artist. Destined to attend one of the highest ranked art institutions after graduation. But when her younger brother needs to be placed at a more specialized school, to meet his special needs, their mother moves them to Cape Town.

And Lori is miserable.

With zero friends, a body image that makes her anxiety spike, and everyone bullying her, including herself, it seems that she’ll never find happiness.

Until, she meets Jake. Another senior at her school who happens to volunteer at her brothers new school and who has a sister who also attends.

Thrust into new territory, Lori must journey through this unexpected world and find something she never thought she could have.

My Review: Big Boned

Jo Watson takes a timely narrative and suffuses it with a character who views herself with a skewed lens. A young woman who compares herself to the world and sees everyone else as confident, beautiful, and loved. Whereas, for herself that’s not possible.

It’s unattainable.


Because she’s fat.

And there are deep trenches of insecurities and trauma, like the subduction of the earths ocean floor over the centuries, Lori has found it difficult to heal completely from those breaches. She defers to what her classmates, regardless of gender, seem to find as an ideal body type, and it’s not hers. When Jake, an attractive water-polo player, and popular boy shows interest in being friends and then begins to pursue Lori, readers, prepare for all the feels.

A Few More Thoughts

Though, those insecurities, traumas, inherent mistrust and self degradation begin to rear its snarling head the moment Jake enters her hemisphere. Voicing its negative opinions, to make her feel unwanted, unloved, and unattractive. This bullying of herself is buried within Lori’s psyche. Eroding her self worth like violent wind storms in a barren wasteland. And before Lori can truly begin to love herself, let alone anyone else, she must focus on her own inner bully. The voice that dampens her own worth and her own voice.

Watson very keenly shows that Lori’s struggles are authentic and real. A painful reminder of how cruel children can be towards one another. But, also gives an opportunity to help children become more compassionate and kind human beings. Imbuing body-positive messages that are inclusive and empathetic towards everyone.

Even though the book started off slow, with a bit too much inner reflection that tended to deviate from what was going on, overall, Watson’s narrative was a strong coming of age story readers will be ready for.

Happy Reading  ̴ Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blot – Satisfyingly Inked

Author: Jo Watson

Publisher: Wattpad Books 

Publication Date: September, 2021

Pages: 392

ISBN-10: 1989365299

ISBN-13: 978-1989365298

Audience: 12 and up

Jacket Design: Unknown at this time

Jacket Illustration: Unknown at this time

You can find Big Boned at Wattpad

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Need More Book Recommendations?

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A Cuban Girls Guide To Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

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Resources after reading Big Boned

Sheaf & Ink feels strongly in supporting victims of abuse or those who suffer from mental health illness. Big Boned discusses abuse, anxiety, autism, bullying, depression, and underage drinking. If at any time you are in need of support please go to one of these resources listed below to seek help:

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

For more information visit the website or call: 1-800-662-4357

Counseling Resources

Teen Line

Teen Line offers peer-to-peer counseling for teens. (Youth Yellow Pages, BULLYING)

CALL: 310-855-4673

TEXT: TEEN to 839863

National Institute of Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health website on mental health resources. If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help.

Pacer Centers Teens Against Bullying

The Teens Against Bullying is a website created by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (PACER’s NBPC). Since 2006, PACER’s NBPC has actively led social change to prevent childhood bullying, so that all youth are safe and supported in their schools, communities, and online.

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