Monday, October 13, 2008

Keeping the Moon / by Sarah Dessen

Nicole "Colie" Sparks is fat. Even if she no longer looks it, she still lives it; internally condemned by years as a social outcast amid abusive peers and an eroded well-being. It's her mom's fault, really, that she can no longer match her mood to her make. Currently a celebrity success story in the Richard Simmons mold, it was her mom, Kiki, who first deemed their standard of living--a stationary out-of-car existence--as unfit; thusly transforming their exteriors from obese underdogs into thin, healthy go-getters and popularizing a lucrative motivational mantra in the process. It's just that Colie can't quite follow suit (mentally), making it seem right that the 15-year-old spend the summer with Aunt Mira while mom tours Europe with her new boyfriend.

Aunt Mira's fat too, unashamedly so. And she's weird; riding her dateless Schwinn bike around her reclusive coastal town in an equally dateless flowered dress; never missing a meal at her favorite grease-pit restaurant--the "Last Chance". It's here, more or less by "Chance", that Colie's hired on as a waitress, ultimately befriending her two co-workers--beautiful Isabel and down-to-earth Morgan--who also happen to be neighbors (small town). Total opposites but firmly loyal to each other, it's Morgan and Isabel who introduce Colie to 'real life'; a life apart from her severely damaged conscious where confrontations needn't imply defeat and where meanness is exposed as the insecurity it often masks. Timidly at first, but assuredly does Colie realize the truth about herself; while as her first genuine relationships solidify, the morbid self-attention she's always accommodated is replaced by a boldness she never new existed.

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