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3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  1,349 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Weight is a big issue in Carmen's life - not surprising when her mother is obsessed with dieting and is determined that her daughter will be thin. But with a long list of failed diets behind her and a mountain of empty wrappers under the bed. Carmen knows the comfort of forbidden food. Swept off to Birmingham by her mum. Carmen finds her old life disappearing - her home, h ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published June 6th 2003 by Young Picador (first published January 1st 2002)
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Some books are so good, they make you angry. Massive, by Julia Bell, is one of those books.

Set in England, Massive is the story of a teenager girl, Carmen, whose mother suffers from an eating disorder–one that she is slowly forcing upon her daughter. She’s moody, paranoid, and slowly unraveling at the seams. Honestly, sometimes you really want to punch this woman for what she’s doing to her daughter. And that’s part of the power of the book: hating Carmen’s mother while at the same time feeling
I really did not enjoy this. Really. I'd previously read a really amazing ED book ('Monkey Taming' by Judith Fathallah) so was interested in trying out more of the same genre. But the book is barely about Carmen's dieting or ED, it's mostly about her cruel, crazy mother and the crap drama Carmen goes through.

I felt the book didn't give a proper insight into Carmen's personality or motives, despite the entire book being in a first person narrative. Her actions seemed pretty random at times and e
I wanted to like "Massive," since I've always had a particular soft spot for characters with eating disorders, but there was something so bleak about the lack of character development here that I really can't say I enjoyed it. We see snippets of a severely disordered mother, passing along her anorexic/bulimic ways to her young teenage daughter, but it's all so heavily mixed with random scenes that nothing feels accomplished. I either want to have great character development or a great plot line, ...more
Often Partisan
The main thing I really enjoyed about this book is that it's mostly set in Birmingham which is great because I haven't been able to find much Birmingham-based YA (we're the second city people, start writing fiction about us!) I really enjoyed reading about places that I know where they are (or were, this book was published in 2002) and there was even a bit of politics with discussion of the Bull Ring and the new building.

As for the book itself, I kind of enjoyed it but it's a bit scattergun with
Rachel Yule
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dark and fierce, this book pulls no punches. Carmen's mother is obsessed with weight, unhappy with her life, and unhappy with her teenage daughter. Carmen herself is both oppressed and depressed, slowly internalizing her mother's way of life: bitter, judgmental, and self-hating. It's hard not to dislike everyone in this book a little bit, but there are bright spots, too... and ultimately, the characters are very believable, all with their own issues and prejudices and ignorance. They may not be ...more
'Massive' explores the way parents can have a massive impact on their children. It follows the story of Carmen, and how her mother's eating disorder and obsession with beauty standards slowly begins to affect Carmen.

What I liked about this book is how it didn't sugarcoat the reality of eating disorders, puberty, bullying and the idealisation of beauty. Carmen is fourteen in the book, an age where she is very impressionable, even if she likes to think she isn't. She's shown to have a resistance t
With weight and dieting being such a central focus so often in the media at the moment this is a really interesting and powerful book highlighting just how people can become so obsessed with fo0d. Between her Gran and her mother Carmen is experiencing both ends of the scale and she doesn’t know what is best and I think this reflects how a lot of people are feeling with the media coverage of weight we are often faced with.

The attitude of Carmen’s mum is this book really hit me. Having your own mo
I really really disliked this book, it's very dark and disturbing!, now don't get me wrong I like dark and disturbing books because I myself can get dark at times, just like everyone can!.. It's just there was something off, about the caractors, that just really put me off....

This book is about carmen, she's fourteen and lives with her septdad and her serverly anorexic mother who tries to control carmem and what she eats..she eventually moves to burmingham and gordon a down ward spiral; bulliein
Amani Smith
The theme of Massive by Julia Bellis to be happy with your self no matter how you look on the outside because its only hiow you look on the inside. Also if you can accept your self then many others will be able to accept you as well. The main character Carmen mother is obsessed with her and carmens looks.

Her mom has just came back from the hospital for an effect of bulimia and goes right back on her diet. She convinces her daughter Carmen that she is fat and needs to lose weight because in order
God, this book was like watching a particularly awful train wreck -- just couldn't pull myself away, but also repulsed and wanting to look away the whole time. It's actually quite similar in style to a crappy short story I tried to write in an intro to Creative writing class in college.

From paragraph to paragraph, there's some sort of time-skipping element that is abrupt, nonsensical, and arbitrary. The pages are full of hateful words from mother to daughter about weight and food, and they are
Incredibly pissed. Surprised that I even got myself to finish this. Can't decide if I'm mad at the characters themselves, or at the author for creating shallow and contrived personalities. I just don't get why the story will end up like it did. It seemed absurd to me, and so stupid on so many levels that people in this story will act and think like that.

Then again, I may be wrong. After all, I've never been in this situation, and have never known anyone repulsed by food. I do realize that for s
XXL, un titre qui en dit long sur le thème principal du roman. Mise en scène dans notre société actuelle où l’apparence est de plus en plus importante, l’histoire est racontée par Carmen, une adolescente qui se cherche. Perdue dans un tourbillon de situations difficiles, entre la séparation de ses « parents », son déménagement dans une ville qu’elle ne connaît pas et les problèmes de poids de sa mère, obsédée par les régimes, elle va décider de changer son apparence, espérant que cette transfor ...more
well -- there's some hamfisting to the writing. this took me unusually long to read, i think because there's little joy or humor to the story, and the narrator is unobservant, has a feeble voice. carmen's situation is maddening - her anorexic mother is basically forcing her to starve herself. not to mention silence herself: carmen is never listened to or really seen. it takes a long time for carmen to assert herself, but when finally she begins to, the book gains more momentum and becomes more a ...more
Maisie Manuel
Carmen is a ----- year old girl forced to live with her controlling weight obsessed mother. All the while, Carmen is struggling with her own weight issues. Her mother, being the diet crazed woman she is, believes Carmen will never be thin and has no problem sharing her thoughts about it with Carmen. When Carmen's mother decides to move to Burmingham, England, Carmen's weight anxiety takes a turn for the worst. At first, Carmen does not fit in with the girls at her new school, but once she become ...more

No character development. The characters are weak charictures of stereotypes.

Basic plot is that a mother is anorexic, keeps calling her teen daughter fat, daughter develops an eating disorder.

The daughter, by the way, is legitimately described as fat. The first half of the book talks about how she gobbles down Big Macs and piles of candy bars. The fat daughter is 114 pounds. (It would be fine to have someone think of themselves as fat and not be, which is what I assume the author was
Jun 09, 2009 Meryl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like reading about troubled teens.
Shelves: read-and-loved
I like reading about kids with problems and this one really fit. There's just something so cruel yet compelling about the story behind a kid who's worse off than you... and I like! Ha, it's about an eating disorder! Yay, tragedy!

Really, I liked this book very much. I didn't realize it at first, but it takes place somewhere in the UK. I liked the characters, and the binging-and-purging was something I'd never read about before. Carmen is greatly pressured into being some skinny hoe, just like her
Massive read much like a UK version of an afterschool special.

This story covers a year or so in the life of the main character, a young, teen-aged girl torn up and messed up by her parents recent divorce and an upbringing of being taught how to eat (and what not to eat) by someone tormented by their own food issues and body dysmorphia.

And while I appreciated the UK location and the accented dialogue the most with this book ... honestly, content wise it was about as useless as ... oh, I don't k
I thought Massive was going to deal with weight issues - eating disorders and body image. However, it's really a book about family and how some families can be destructive for those in them. I found Massive to be really dark and disturbing. I'd like to say it was unrealistic in that I can't believe that none of the family members saw what was happening and stepped in. However, I do know that in life those closest to a bad situation often turn a blind eye. I had trouble connecting to the characte ...more
After moving to Birmingham, England with her severely anorexic mother (Maria), 14-year-old Carmen becomes trapped in a self-destructive cycle of dieting, exercising, and purging.

Bell's novel doesn't offer any easy answers, and I appreciate that---because anorexia is, in itself, a complicated question mark. What I found to be noteworthy here is that this novel captures the long-term effects of the illness. Massive is Maria's story as much as it is Carmen's. It is not merely a novel about a teen g
Janine Darragh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Perhaps I am simply very lucky in that I have never actually had eating disorders touch me or anyone I know, but this book was disturbing and eye-opening. Told from the perspective of a young woman whose mother is an extremely controlling anorexic, Carmen soon develops her own eating disorder as her body image is influenced by her mother's perspective. Many of the scenes, from Carmen eating a lot of junk food as a response or the induced vomiting scenes, literally caused me to feel sick to my st ...more
WARNGING: This book WILL make you mad. I am not sure if I am mad at the charcters in this book for being so shallow and unsophicated or at the author, Juila Bell, for creating such characters.

Carmen's life is spinning out of control, her mother (whose idea of being beautiful equals being thin) moves Carmen and her into a small apartment away from Carmen's father. As the story unfolds, Carmen's mother is unhappy even after the move and becomes obsessed with both her and Carmen's weight and looks
Massive is an outstanding book that makes people realize that weight is much too important in our society. The protagonist, Carmen is repeatedly bullied by her mother who complains that she's too fat. Carmen is an over-weight teenager living in a world where weight is crucial to how people look at you. Her mother, who is dealing with a problem with anorexia still isn't satisfied with the way she looks.

The result is that she ends up at the hospital. That showed Carmen that she wouldn't want to en
Ashlyn Rae (TeenageReader)
Massive was a really good book. It was sad to read, but it shows that you should be who you are without anyone telling you who or what to be. Cameron is a strong character, even though her mom is a little bit on the crazy side, she can cope with all the bad things in her life. After reading Massive, I thought about the people who have problems like Cameron’s. If everyone accepted who they are, I think the world would be happier. Over all, Massive was a great book. Like I said, it was sad, but yo ...more
Katherine Montanez
Okay. So I'll go with the shorter list. The reasons I liked this book: I think it dealt with the issue in a very real way, which I liked, but I can read an amazing book but if I don't get the ending it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Call me a conformist, but I like my books to end, not to just drop off. It was good, but that ending was just ugh. I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be symbolic or something, but come on. Explain it. I don't know. Other than that, it was pretty good. I wouldn ...more
This book was disturbing on so many levels... I really disliked the mother, who obviously knew nothing about how to raise a child.
Mei Mei
This book is about a teenager named Carmen who is forced to move with her weight-obsessed mother to Birmingham,England. This move, however does not improve the sad situation of her depressed mother, and she soon becomes obsessed with her and Carmen's looks. This pressures Carmen to diet, along side her mother. Pretty soon the diet is taken too far and becomes a case of bulimia, and then anorexia.
I found this book to be somewhat hard to read because it shows how easy a teenage can be put under p
as i was reading it i didn't like it at all, i don't know whether it was the style of writing or the plot that just didn't interest me, although books to do with eating disorders and food and whatever are normally something that really take my fancy. i'd really wanted to read this for a while and i have to say i was extremely disappointed with it, the end shocked me and it was just horrible. when i had finished reading it i was literally left speechless, i didn't understand what had gone on at a ...more
Emily Trochelman
I've read many books about this disorder and to be honest, I found myself more annoyed with the mother than anything else. It's a bit like watching the movie Tangled only instead of keeping her child in a tower for her own use, the mother starves her child and calls her terrible names. I just found this to be a hard read as everyone I know with this disorder is kind to others and horrid to themselves. I don't feel like this book has shown the typical attitude of an Anorexic, it's just made a ste ...more
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  • Hunger Point
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  • Second Star to the Right
  • Biting Anorexia: A Firsthand Account of an Internal War
  • Perfect: Anorexia & Me
  • Empty: A Story of Anorexia
  • Slim to None: A Journey Through the Wasteland of Anorexia Treatment
  • Purge: Rehab Diaries
Librarian note: there are multiple authors with this name on Goodreads.

I was born in Bristol but raised in Wales (I can speak Welsh!) and have published two novels for young adults - Massive and Dirty Work, both published by Macmillan in the UK. In the US Massive is published by Simon and Schuster and Dirty Work by Walker Books. Massive has also been translated into ten languages, including Thai!
More about Julia Bell...
Dirty Work The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry England Calling: 24 Stories for the 21st Century Pretext: Fiction, Poetry, Criticism: Experience. Volume 2 Pretext: Salvage V. 1

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