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Teenage Waistland

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  229 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Told in the voices of patients Marcie Mandlebaum, Bobby Konopka, and Annie "East" Itou, Teenage Waistland is a story of betrayal, intervention, a life-altering operation, and how a long-buried truth can prove far more devastating than the layers of fat that protect it.
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Ember (first published 2010)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

Eating for comfort is just the tip of the iceberg for this group of obese teens. They've each qualified for a weight loss trial surgery - the Land-Band procedure is currently available only for adults. With this trial, the teens are required to keep a journal, write down a truthful account of their food intake, and attend weekly group therapy sessions, as the surgery is only a tool and not a solution.

Told in alternative perspectives, Marcie, East,
Feb 23, 2011 Izzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teenage Waistland is a support group for obese teens undergoing the Lap Band weight loss surgery. Marcie struggles not just with a big body size, but a big mouth, ultra-thin remarried mother, and super-skinny stepsister. Bobbie wants to lose the weight, but it means he won't be able to play football anymore, which will disappoint his dad. And East has the toughest situation of all - dark and morbid herself, she lives by herself with her depressed mom who refuses to leave her bed. These three tee ...more
Nov 02, 2010 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marcie Mandlebaum knows she is grossly overweight, and can't help feeling as though her mother would love her more if only she was thinner. Bobby is a mediocre football player with dreams of being a star, but he has his "moobies" and his father's expectations to hurdle first. Annie "East" Itou feels sad all the time since her brother moved away and her mother refuses to leave her bedroom. The only time she feels half normal is when she is pigging out with Char. Char is East's best friend who is ...more
Feb 10, 2011 Lora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult-lit
This was a good read, but nothing completely outstanding about it. I liked how it was told in multiple voices and really got into why each of the characters gained the weight in the first place and how they dealt with it. It read a little bit like a giant group therapy session, but a lot of the book actually takes place in a group therapy. It was nice seeing typical teenage issues (body issues, crushes, expectations, dealing with school, college) all handled here while staying true to the plot o ...more
Lori Cullen
Dec 14, 2010 Lori Cullen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was original in that it was about a subject that you can't find much background on. There is a lot of medical jargon on the internet but no real stories about lap band surgery and I am really interested to know more about it. The story is about four teenagers trying to get into the FDA trail and it really intrigued me to understand why they were so sure this would work for them.

Even though I am not sure if I will get the surgery, this book gave me food for thought. E
Jan 04, 2011 Stargazer5 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book for my daughter, Jackie, and decided it would be a good idea to read it before giving it to her in order to make sure she wouldn't take the gesture as an affront or criticism. While reading it I soon became very certain that it wouldn't offend her, and in fact, would (and did) do just the opposite.

My daughter has been struggling with her weight for practically her whole life. Now that she's a teenager, it's harder than ever. I'm so glad my friend recommended this book, and I'
Jan 06, 2011 Coffeeaddict rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm getting lapband surgery in a couple of months and finding this book was fated. I had so much fun reading it and it brought to life the experience of the lapband process that was swimming around as a personal dialogue in my head. Reading Teenage Waistland enhanced my journey toward getting skinny. I felt like I was sharing in this journey with the characters. I don't have enough drama in my life anymore (things are pretty predictable), so I relished in the drama between the characters in this ...more
Kimmy Oh
Jan 11, 2011 Kimmy Oh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best part of this book is the character East. And I say this because I am so much like her it's scary. I don't know if that's a good thing, but I was amazed at the way she was portrayed and how true to life a girl like her is. Her dark, shy, painful way of experiencing the world in contrast to her best friend Char who is bubbly and full of life reminds me of me and my best friend in high school. Although I have never struggles with being overweight, I do know what it feels like to have a con ...more
Jan 14, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is great! I have to commend Lisa Pazer and Lynn Beiderman on their quick, witty, fresh prose style. Well-crafted, dynamic, relevant. Being an eighth-grade English teacher and a parent of a 12 and 16 year-old, I've read many YA lit pieces. I think this one fits into the must-read for 2011 category due to its "chic" and dare I say risky subject matter. Pazer and Beiderman took the battle of the bulge to the limits with this one, while steering clear of any type of prescriptive or "preach ...more
Feb 08, 2011 Brandy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
*Very mature issues

Teenage Waistland centers on 4 morbidly obese teens that are in a clinical trial for Lap-Bands in teenagers.

Marcie - a girl who feels out-of-place with her new stepfamily and being taken away from her old home and father.
Char and East - a set of best friends that both have a horrifying event in their past that has left emotional scars
Bobby - a linebacker who is struggling with his dad's expectations for his future.

Throughout the trial, the teens are part of a support group t
Rachel Robins
Feb 02, 2011 Rachel Robins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lisa Pazer and Lyn Biederman exceeded my expectations in this fun, sassy, clever and Enormously revealing narrative about what can be lost and gained in the world of fat teenagers. I found myself laughing out loud to the defensive, self-deprecating humor and less than tame conversations among this group of overweight teens particiating in a trial lapband surgery program. Together, these characters are struggling to come to terms with the emotional weight padding their fears, traumas, and insecur ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Rakisha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I tried to read this book as I'm wont to read all young adult titles that feature fat kids either overcoming their weight (by losing weight) or fat kids accepting themselves as is. There have a been a slew of these over the past few years, and I've been chomping through them all. Most of them, I can't stand. I understand that I'm not the target audience but I don't like the over use of snark, slang, brand names or text language in my books. It takes me completely out of the story. Also, unlikabl ...more
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Caitlin Trepp
Not without merit; some of the backgrounds (of the characters) are more complex than they (at first) appear, and the way the book switches from POV to POV helps to make them appear pretty "straightforward". There is significant character growth, and an interesting way that the characters end up interacting. Teenage Waistland is not a perfect book, and is a bit of a slow start due to how privileged most of the characters are. I got something out of it though, and there were definitely parts that ...more
Mar 26, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book alot!! This book was different then I thought it was going to be about...

It follows about 5 overweight teenagers that go through (well, four really) lap-band surgery to help them with their weight loss. At first look I thought this book was strictly about their losing weight and what they go through pertaining to that, but I was wrong...

This does talk about their surgery and their weight loss progress, but there is more to this story then that. It talks about the under
Ellen Keim
Aug 20, 2011 Ellen Keim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
This book was unsparing in its look at the ways our society deals with childhood obesity. She covers just about every approach possible, from fat camps to parents' support groups, and ends up admitting that there is no one approach that is effective for all children and that fighting childhood obesity is a complicated, frustrating endeavor, especially for parents.

The author herself was never terribly overweight, but grew up obsessed about getting fat. This is actually a sub-theme of the book: th
Sep 06, 2011 Alexei rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Teenage Waistland is the story of 3 patients in a clinical trial for the Lap- Band program. Marcie is 16, 288 lbs, and stuck with her size zero mom. Bobby is a star football player with "moobies'' (Man-boobies) and still a virgin at 16. His mom and dad want him to lose weight, but his dad doesn't want him to get "girl surgery". Annie "East" is 278 lbs and living with her depressed mom who won't get out of bed. The book is about the journey each character takes in the program.

If there's one thing
Nov 16, 2011 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I thought this was a well done book for a high school audience. Teenage obeesity is a reality, and the reasons for it--such as tragic life events, family environment, and social isolation-- are all explored through these characters. The story follows a group of obese teens in a clinical trial of lap-band weight loss surgery (which I didn't know too much about, having only heard about the gastric bypass surgery) and their counseling sessions both before and after the surgery. It's a serious topic ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Kaethe marked it as stricken  ·  review of another edition
Despite what lazy novelists may believe, obesity is not rooted in emotional issues. It is rooted in genetics, where weight has exactly the same heritability as height.
Feb 19, 2012 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met the two authors of this book last year at a RI Library Association conference. I thought their intent was strong: to write a book that a did a good job of presenting the stories of teenagers who really work struggling with their weight issues in a realistic manner. This novel does just that. Written from the perspective of three obese teenagers who have joined a study to explore the potential use of lap-band surgery, this novel looks at the fact that weight issues are usually tied to other ...more
Xiu Ling
Mar 01, 2012 Xiu Ling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most people think that obese people are depressed. That is why they eat and eat until their weight puts their lives in danger. That is proven to be wrong in Teenage Waistland. Obese people have real feelings. They experience love, friendship, hate, betrayal, insecurities just like normal people. Fat people's lives are not necessarily depressed. Their happiness are there until they decide to lose weight. The process of losing weight pays a price. The obese characters have to go through emotional ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Wendolyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teens
Recommended to Wendolyn by: Abby
Shelves: young-adult
Pleasantly surprised.

Dates don't seem to match? Page 103 has 7/10/09 surgery day, and page 108 has 7/12/09 as birthday party.

I learned that "trouper" is the correct spelling when a person is loyal, dependable (page 160).

Good quotes:
"...if, can start focusing more on other people, even when you're in pain yourself, it will help you heal from this. I promise. And the next time someone you care about is in pain, you will be there for them." Page 246

"Okay - food is often used as an expression
Jun 21, 2012 Jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who has struggled with their weight, I really appreciated the it-isn't-that-easy perspective. I remember one book I read in junior high where the MC was a little chubby and didn't want to be, so she joined Weight Watchers and then everything was perfect. I also appreciated how this book got me thinking about my own eating habits and analyzing the possibility of an emotional factor to my snackitude. (Conclusion: If my hands aren't doing something, I eat.) I'm always appreciative of boo ...more
Liz Cee
The biggest problem I found with this book is that each patient had a huge 'AHA' moment in their lives that led to weight gain. As each "uncovered" their moment, they were able to deal with their weight issues.

I do believe for some people that there is one moment, however for most of us there is not. Perhaps there is a genetic predisposition coupled with many little moments. The solution to maintaining a healthy weight is not that simple.

Anyway, I found that part of the book unrealistic. I was a
Sep 02, 2014 Taylor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2014, cheesy, 2014
I found this book to very knowledgeable about lapband surgery the the psychological stresses surrounding weight. It was a delightful read! However it was very cheesy towards the end and the ending seemed rushed and a bit ridiculous? Also I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the middle part of the lapband process. My sister went through the procedure when she was 18 and she is now 22 with over 100 lbs lost and the process was not all sunshine and daisies as the ending makes it seem.

Chelsi P
Oct 17, 2014 Chelsi P rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Teenage Waistland written by Lynn Biederman is a very bad book and I would not reccomend. It is very boring and gives many pointless information. By the look of this cover, one would think that it is about is not. This book pertains to obesity and how teens feel about their weight. It is a fiction, however it is written as a non-fiction novel. Many high school students do not enjoy non-fiction which is why I would not reccomend. Teenage Waistland was very hard to keep up with and re ...more
Wasn't bad, wasn't great either.

I think my main problem with this book was that Marcie and East were both really naturally-written, organic narrators whose narrative just flowed really easily...

...And then we have Bobby.

My God, Bobby was two-dimensional. I physically cringed reading his narration. It was so unbelievably just... Not good. Poorly written. It's like the author sat down, decided to write from a male perspective, and said "Crap, how do you write a convincing jock?" and then had his s
Loveliest Evaris
Mixed feelings from this book.

At the very beginning it was somewhat compelling, but I got confused because I didn't notice the narrator shift between chapters. Once I cleared that up I was invested into the characters almost right away, with the exception of Bobby whom I really didn't care that much for. He just wasn't as compelling as the girls. Up until the middle mark I was having a good time reading it, and then when the "secret" came out I was floored by how out of left field it was. Then e
Apr 21, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
This was an everything novel. Yes, the main focus is on four teens who have lap-band surgery in order to lose weight, but within the lives of those four teens, just about everything happens. There's sibling rivalry, a parent living vicariously through his child, the big game, familial distance, and a terrible secret. Describing it in a list like that makes it seem like it's the description for the next episode of some popular soap opera. The good news is that all of these issues fit the characte ...more
Jay G
Jun 26, 2016 Jay G rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my YouTube channel:

2.5 Stars

This book follows a group of teenagers who undergo a weight loss surgery called LapBand. After their surgery, they attend a support group they call Teenage Waistland. The book is told from three perspectives: Bobby, East and Marcie. Through another girl in the support group, Char East's very bubbly best friend, they become friends. Only Char is hiding a secret that may change e
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I’ve worked as a waitress (best job ever), an insurance broker (worst), a Macy’s department manager (the discounts!), a child abuse litigator (heartbreaking), an adoption lawyer (most rewarding), a journalist for a nationally syndicated sounds-of-nature radio show (very cool), and an elementary and high school librarian (biggest inspiration for writing). The opening line of my co-authored Young Ad ...more
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