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Fat Chance

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  674 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Judi Liebowitz thinks she's fat. And she's convinced, as she confides in her diary, that she'd be happier if she were skinnier. So when Judi becomes friendly with pencil-thin, glamorous Nancy Pratt, she learns Nancy's secret and joins her in the secret binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia. Before long, Judi's life spins out of control and her obsession with food, calories, an ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 8th 1996 by Puffin (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  674 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I rarely give books five stars. Not only does it have to be flawless, but it generally has to accomplish something absolutely marvelous. But this book got the rare five stars. Though it is an ordinary, enjoyable read, I gave it the rating it did because of how well the author captures the confusion of middle school. Some of Judi's thoughts were exactly my own when I read it. I was in eighth grade, just like Judi. Though the writing is excellent, this book is no Steinbeck. It will win no Pulitzer ...more
Nov 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
You guys, I always understood that Judi was not actually overweight (she hovers around 127 lbs for the entirety of the book, at 5'4"), but at the time of rereading this, we weigh exactly the same and I am four inches shorter than Judi. Yeah, I still have some baby weight and whatnot, but I still think I'm looking aight. That just kind of blew my mind a little bit and made me realize how hard Judi was on herself.

Original review, November 2007:
So maybe other people wouldn't give this five stars,
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
What a waste of time. Boring and preachy.
Sally Kruger
Although published in 1994, FAT CHANCE by Leslea Newman still rings true today, in fact, with the increased prevalence of eating disorders, its message may be even more important today.

As an eighth grader, Judi dreams of having a boyfriend and going on exciting dates, but she is convinced that can only happen if she loses weight. Her mother insists she is a "growing girl" who needs to eat three nutritious meals a day. Judi is sure that isn't the path to happiness. It doesn't help that Judi's cla
Lauren Anastasi
Jan 21, 2016 rated it did not like it
I read this in middle school. At this point in my life, I had been dealing with an eating disorder on-and-off for a number of years, although I had yet to recognize that I was struggling with an eating disorder, seeing my activities more as "dieting" and less as a disease. Instead of this book helping me to realize my disordered way of thinking and eating, I found that it gave me more ideas on how to hide my symptoms from friends and family. I understand that this review doesn't necessarily have ...more
Oct 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This really delves into what every girl thinks about at least once in her life. Am I fat? Judi is in highschool and is trying to start the year off well. She knows she's not the smallest girl in the bunch but she also knows she can't change it overnight. Or can she? Judi walks into the bathroom at school one day, to here someone throwing up in the stalls, but when she asks if she's okay the girl acts as if Judi should never had been there at all. What exactly WAS the girl doing in there, and fur ...more
Ms. B
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in the 8th grade. The book really open my eyes and how I learn what was a eating disorder. I re-read the book again. As an educator, I would definitely show this to my students and tell them they are beautiful they way look and never change for anybody. Eating Disorders is an important discussion to talk about to students. I would know because I was feeling terrible the way looked in the mirror but I realized I am perfect the way I am. I highly recommended to read this book and ...more
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember exactly when I read this book, but I remember absolutely loving it. I read it as I was struggling to admit I had an eating disorder and completely related with the main character. I remember crying for the character and crying for me.

I'm not going to lie, I don't remember the quality of the writing or character develop, but over ten years after I read it I remember it's impact on me, so I think that says something.
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well right now i think the book is about 4 stars i really like it so far i hope it turns out amazing. Well im nearing the end and it is amazing! It is a realistic fiction book and it is good. It actually is not boring. If you need a realistic fiction i would say to read this one. You might think it would be a little wierd, but it isn't. If you start reading you want to read it to the very end. If you need a short book this is your book.
Brianon Sheffield
Apr 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fiction, kid-lit, best
deftly handles scary and important topics like eating disorders, fitting in, family dynamics, and growing up. this book helped me realize that starvation and/or binges are not glamorous, and definitely not the answer to loving myself. this fictional diary makes the mistakes for us, so that we will know not to.
Stephanie A.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Olive Skies
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Olive by: School librarian
This is one of the first eating disorder themed books I read. I remember asking the librarian in my middle school - I was in 7th grade at the time - if she had any books on the subject and she was stunned that I had asked. This was the only one they had and I read it in about three days. At twelve, this had been a very good read for me. It got the point across and I connected with the character.
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I personally really liked Fat Chance.
The book is really easy to read and the story makes you want to continue reading!
When I read that book, I told everyone about it and the school librarian told a lot of kids came asking for it.
I recommend this book to everyone because I think it explains you pretty well how certain kids feel at this point of their life.
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I remember this book really well, eventhough I read it a long time ago. It's about a girl who thinks she could be skinnier and she tries to throw up her food after she eats it because the popular girl does this, but it brought consequences.
Andrea Holladay-Bachman
Jun 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-young-adult
Since starting to read YA books, I never realized how many stories there are about bulimic girls. It's almost like a porn movie, you've seen one, you've seen them all. BUT, I like the dairy format and first person perspective of the book.
this was published in 1994; heavy-handed problem novel written in diary style; too much Adult creeping in to control the morality/lesson -- and the refrain of "fat chance!" is cringe-inducing. still the mother-daughter lovefest at the end brought tears - blargh.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it liked it
A fairly average young adult novel written in the style of an 8th grader's diary. Judi is worried about her weight and wants to do anything to be skinny. It was a quick read, but I didn't find it as amazing as my friend did who leant it to me.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book when I was young and sans eating disorder. Then I was older(but still young) and with an eating disorder. I can't remember how much I liked it after developing an eating disorder, but when I read it over and over again when I was younger.
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bin Userkaf
Nov 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
Nice book to read if you don't have much time. Definitely one of my favorites, despite the old publication date.
Jennifer Mills
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I can relate to the story and I enjoyed it.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit
Judy struggles with her body image in this story as she tries to maintain her ideal weight (somewhere around 127 lbs). Judy's struggles include skipping meals, binge eating on lots of food afterwards, and only having a Diet Coke for lunch. Nancy Pratt, the pretty and perfect thin girl in Judy's class, teaches Judy that throwing up is an easy way to lose weight. Judy realizes that this is what makes Nancy's perfect figure, but learns that this method is not worth the risk of her life.

This story w
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I read this book around the 3rd or 4th grade (I’m 26 now) and I never forgotten about it. Its one of those novels that will have an everlasting impression on you. All these years I have searched for the book so that I can reread it. Forgetting the title and definitely not knowing the author didn’t help. Only thing I remembered was “Fat”. Luckily and literally, it randomly came to me out the blue. After googling and reading the summary, I finally found the book I’ve been searching for all these y ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just wish the world was a gentler place.

Well I enjoyed reading your diary Judi. 😉
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this in the 90s and recall that it really captured how I and other girls felt about our bodies. In junior high we already had the itch to be skinny and it sometimes became an obsession.
alexis ♡
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this for a girls book club in middle school. Not gonna lie, it probably wasn't the best choice of book for a bunch of preteen girls.* I did like it though.

*I changed my mind; I think this book is probably really important for younger girls (even boys). I spoke too soon before finishing it. Honestly, I would’ve cried when reading Judi’s mom’s letter to her if I wasn’t in class.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great book about a teenager that her teacher want them to keep a diary and she rights about her eating disorder
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books
The book I’m reading is called “Fat Chance”by Leslea Newman. It is about a girl named Judith or as she like to goes by “Judi” instead who is the main character and her goal of the year is to be the thinnest and most popular girl in the entire junior high. But what holds her back is her mom always preparing fattening and high calorie foods every single day for dinner. And let's not forget her best friend , Monica . As the story continues , drama stirs up as Monica does something unforgettable to ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This book was decent in many respects. I know that it is meant for children or teenagers, but there were many aspects I feel were left out in order to scare girls away from eating disorders. I know that many in the throws of an eating disorder can be selfish, and seen as very immature, and that was very clear with antagonist of miss Pratt. I wish they would have had an afterward, showing that her actions were a manifestation of the disorder, and not just a personality of a girl that just also ha ...more
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Lesléa Newman (born 1955, Brooklyn, NY) is the author of over 50 books including Heather Has Two Mommies, A Letter To Harvey Milk, Writing From The Heart, In Every Laugh a Tear, The Femme Mystique, Still Life with Buddy, Fat Chance and Out of the Closet and Nothing to Wear.
She has received many literary awards including Poetry Fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Foundation and th

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