Once Upon A Romance

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Plus by Veronica Chambers

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Cover art: Plus Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Plus
Author: Veronica Chambers
Publisher: Penguin Group
ISBN-13: 978-1-59514-165-1
Release Date: August 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 12 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 14 and up
Year/Setting: Present day, New York
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: None
Veronica's Website/Blog: www.veronicachambers.com


Bee is an over-achieving, highly intelligent girl who just started college. She has the best boyfriend ever, Brian. Bee is sure he’s ‘the one’—until he dumps her. With her heart in tatters, she turns to food in order to fill the void. She packs on that freshman fifteen plus ten more for good measure. Yet, it can’t be all bad when Bee is discovered by a modeling agent and picked up as a plus sized model.

She quickly catapults to top model status. She’s just shy of super model while still carrying a full pre-med load at school. She finds herself becoming friends with another one of Brian’s ex-girlfriends and while they make a pact to leave Brian in the past, a little crossed fingers on Bee’s part gives her absolution as she continues to try to woo Brian back with her new celebrity status as a famous model.

Bee becomes torn trying to figure out how to juggle everything. She tutors a great guy who is so attentive to her likes and dislikes…but he’s just not Brian. She also starts having to fend off jealous models, tabloid photographers and those who try to yank her career out from underfoot in order to get ahead.

Who can she trust? Will she ever win Brian back or is he lost forever? Can she find the balance between school and work and can she hold onto Bee in the midst of it all?

For a Young Adult title, I found this to be a very pleasant read as an adult. I did choose to raise the suggested age because in the beginning of the book, there are a couple chapters where Bee decides it is time to lose her virginity with Brian and all she goes through. While I appreciate the message of safe sex, I wouldn’t allow my 12 year old to read this.

Bee starts off seeming a bit weak as a person. I know she’s driven and brilliant, but she’s so easily pushed around by everyone who crosses her path. I wasn’t sure I’d like such a wishy-washy person. But as she becomes discovered as a model, she starts to gain poise and shows that she’s got a backbone. I really started liking her a lot more as she showed how adept she could be in the face of tragedy and doom.

Brian is such a jerk and I disliked him from the get-go. I was constantly searching out a better date for her from the people she meets. It’s the other characters that really help make this book a fun read. Her salsa-dancing new best friend, her friends in the modeling world all add the polish to the story that makes it shine. I alternately laughed and cried as Bee goes through so many unique situations. The travel she does as a model is realistically presented and we see, in an extremely humorous way, that modeling isn’t as glamorous as it seems. It’s a lighthearted read for women of all ages.

Robyn

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