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To Be Honest

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 ratings  ·  374 reviews
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she'll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn't count on is that her mother's obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy's mom is pressuring her ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 21st 2018 by Swoon Reads
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The Carrion Librarian The main character's sister is a lesbian. It's honestly not a huge part of the book.

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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I don’t read “fluffy” contemporary titles very often; if I do, it’s probably either because it’s a random, rare exception, a nostalgic favorite, or diverse in some way that I can’t pass up the opportunity to promote the story and author. To Be Honest falls into that last category, and as soon as I heard about this book, I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on it.

“News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom. It’s the twenty-first century. I have blue eyes. I have blond hair. I’m fat. Literally
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fat-girl-gang
So much about this book hit me SO close to home, but not in the ways that I was expecting! The main plot of this one and the romance are honestly pretty average, but I ended up LOVING it because of the realness of the relationship between Sav and her mom. Their relationship in this mirrored my relationship with my own mother to a T and it was honestly a little jarring. Such an odd reading experience for me, but I definitely recommend checking this one out when it releases later this year!

Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars!!

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I’ve been in a huge YA mood lately, and To Be Honest really hit the spot. I listened to the audio book and the narrator was great. She voiced Savannah perfectly. Savannah is a normal teen. She’s a little overweight, but it’s never bothered her. That is, until her mother went on a reality show for weight loss and everything changed in her house. Now, she’s being pressured constantly to eat a certain way. What I loved most about Savvy is that she could see beyond that and was able to
Trina (Between Chapters)
The story was a bit simple for my taste BUT I read this for the fat rep, which I thought was great. The rep is necessary, but it could be triggering because the main character faces a lot of abusive fat-shaming from her mom, who has an eating disorder. Her weight had no role in the rest of the story or in any of the other relationships. Though there is a romance, there wasn't the 'getting a boyfriend made me finally like my body' trope.

In addition to the fat rep, the main character has anxiety.
To Be Honest, this is one of the top three best YA contemporaries I've ever read.

See what I did there?

I have never read a book about a plus-size protagonist who didn't want to lose weight, nor has the story line ever involved anything other than the protagonist being fat. It was so freaking refreshing to read about Savannah, who is totally happy with her body the way it is. And what's even better is that this book isn't about Savannah being fat. Instead, it's about a toxic mother-daughter
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
“I’ve never seen so much chevron in my life.” What an awesome way to start! I LOVED Savannah, her determination, her positive body image, her bond with her sister and arguments with her mom over *her* negative body image. This book confronted so many issues, from sexism in the school system, to bribery and recruiting, eating disorders, family dysfunction, and had cute scenes as well, as a newspaper nerd falls for a band geek (the clarinet scene was super cute.) Loved every minute of this one.

Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
“It was one of those disappointments that confirmed your every fear that you'd somehow kept at bay with the tiniest sliver of hope.”

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Fat Shaming (challenged), Neglect, Verbally Abusive Parents, Mental Illness, Panic Attacks and Eating Disorders.

OMG do we have actual good fat rep?!?! Even a model on the cover who is a beautiful fat model! I'm in heaven! Thank you to the book gods for making this happen! I wish I had this type of novel when I was younger.

I'm always saying I
Fizah(Books tales by me)
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2018-read
Actual Rating 4.5
I would like to thank Xpresso Book Tours, NetGalley and Maggie Ann Martin for the digital arc in exchange for an honest Review!

I didn’t expect that I thought this book will revolve around body shaming, It was but equally with other elements.

What wasn’t there? Close bonding of sisters? Body-shaming? Best friends? Anxiety? Romance? Complex relationship with parents? Everything was there.

I like the cover, It was vibrant.

The friendship between Savannah and Grace is so precious.

andrea caro
Firstly, let me thank Goodreads and Fierce Reads for sending me this ARC! This cover is gorgeous.

"News flash: fat isn’t a bad word, Mom."

Savannah is fed up. You know those diet shows where people spend several weeks locked away from their families getting yelled at by trainers and mocked because they like doughnuts? Yeah, her mom was on that show and is exacting everything she’s learned on Savannah.

This, coupled with Savvy’s big sister Ashley headed off to college, she has had enough.

This book,
this was powerful.
i may write a full review but i honestly don’t think i could do this justice tbh
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
ARC provided by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review


Thank you Swoon Reads for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review


We meet Savvy as she and her mom are taking her sister Ashley to her dorm in college & there are a lot of feelings from the start. Savvy does struggle with anxiety & having such a tight bond with her older sister made separating all the harder. Besides not having her very best friend around anymore, she
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Thinking it over, overall I did enjoy the book but I wish some things had been elaborated on more (view spoiler). There were some great moments in this and the banter between the characters was lots of fun and I loved Savvy/Grace but sometimes it felt too... light.

When the book ended I had to blink a few times because I wasn't expecting it. I turned the page before the acknowledgements to be sure I hadn't missed
Karlita | Tale Out Loud
“News flash: fat isn't a bad word, Mom.”
When Savannah’s sister went off to college, she experienced a life-changing moment of her own. Having only Fiyero the monster poodle and her mom around, Savannah had to deal with her emotions and anxiety that was filled by her mom’s one-track mind to count calories and food restriction.

From her parents’ divorce to her mom joining a weight-loss reality TV show, Savannah felt her insecurities skyrocketed but I love how well she handled everything that has
Madalyn (Novel Ink)
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bea-2018, 2018
This review originally appeared on Novel Ink.

*4.5 stars*

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Content warnings: fatphobia (addressed); eating disorders

Wow, I enjoyed To Be Honest so much more than expected. This book had #ownvoices fat representation, excellent family dynamics, and a swoonworthy romance. It gave me everything I enjoy in a YA contemporary. Plus, it was thoughtfully done and
Kate (GirlReading)
It’s usually a good sign when you fly through a book in one sitting and that was definitely the case with To Be Honest. I devoured this book and enjoyed every moment.

The writing itself was a little on the simpler side for my personal reading tastes but that didn’t take away from how much I appreciated the fat representation in this book. It made me so incredibly happy to be able to follow a fat character who was not only body positive and not constantly putting herself down but had a story of
Jane (It'sJaneLindsey)
4.5 stars. This book ended up hitting so close to home for me, and I really loved this. Will probably do a dedicated video review very soon.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review.
Vicky Who Reads
Jul 26, 2018 rated it liked it
3 stars

I honestly have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.

I loved Martin's debut--it was such a light, fun, and comical contemporary! It was sweet, funny, and a total blast to read.

And in a lot of ways, To Be Honest shares a lot of similarities with The Big F. But in a way, I feel like the similarities took away some of the good things about To Be Honest.

To Be Honest tackles a lot of more serious topics than just failing class--eating disorders and weight loss and divorce and a whole bunch
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a book I needed to read.
It's so scary how much I could relate to the characters, even the mother. The trauma of changing habits and how that affects those around you is real. I could really relate to the factors of growing up plus sized and going through an extreme weight-loss journey and I'm so appreciative this book dealt with both. I definitely understand how this book is polarised, but I absolutely needed this book.
Norah Una Sumner
Nov 10, 2017 marked it as to-read

This was a lot of fun! Great fat rep, great discussions about diet culture and fatphobia and the expectations of family. I wish it was a little longer because there were a lot of subplots I wanted to see more from, but otherwise it was wonderful. Great friendships, sweet romance, STEM + liberal arts mixing, discussion about jock stereotypes. Lots of things I adore.

TW for fatphobia, eating disorders (anorexia/starvation), a few mentions of homophobia, emotional abuse
Laura (bbliophile)
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I managed to read this book in just one day, which says a lot. I loved it.
Ad Rocks Socks (semi hiatus)

Finally a YA book which promises a curvy girl AND has a gorgeous curvy girl on the cover!

Can’t wait to read this one! *so excited*
Jen Ryland
Aug 17, 2018 added it
Shelves: bea-2018
Positives: the sister relationship, the open discussion about weight, body image, and disordered eating.

I wish that the subplots (one about Savvy's journalism investigation and the other about Savvy's mother) had been better developed, but I think YA readers will enjoy this!

Read more of my reviews on! Check out my Bookstagram! Or check out my Jen In Ten reviews on Youtube - get the lowdown on current books in 10-30 seconds!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for
Samantha (WLABB)
I will alway support a book that promotes body positivity, and this one also happened to feature a main character I totally fell in love with.

• Pro: Savannah was too fabulous, and charmed the pants off me. She was smart and full of life. She was driven, confident, and lots of fun. I absolutely loved her, and I loved her, because she loved herself. No approval needed.

• Pro: The sisterhood Savannah shared with Ashley was really wonderful. These two were pretty adorable together, and supported
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I might have listened to audiobook until deep into the night which was a bad idea for my sleep but I really enjoyed it.



UPDATE! I received a DRC of the book through NetGalley, Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours. Thank YOU!

Spoiler-free thoughts:

(1) There was a strong display of family dynamics: among Savvy’s mom, dad, and sister. Her mom had gone distant after she joined the television show and gone divorce from her dad. Her dad whom now lives away from them. And Savy’s sister Ashley who just left too because of college. Savy’s relationship with them was rocky and unsteady.
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
3 stars.

While I gushed about the book as I progressed through it, I ended with mixed feelings. I'll do a full review but here is the short list:

- The ending felt rushed
- The big event of the story felt even more rushed and wrapped up with a neat bow
- Too many serious topics in a short book
- Story lines needed to be explored more than they were

I liked this story, loved the MC, but walked away more confused than feeling good about what I read.



Full review can be found here:
Dani (Dani Reviews Things & Love in a time of Feminism)
CW: fat shaming, disordered eating, panic attacks

Hello. This here is a book about a beautiful, intelligent high school senior who must deal with the opposing forces that are the Body Positivity movement and Diet Culture that has possessed her mother's body. Oh, and she does this while also kinda sorta falling in love with an adorable saxophone prodigy who is supportive and perfect and did I say adorable? Despite my little content warning up there, this book was emotional at times but ultimately
kav (xreadingsolacex)
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a review. This is no way impacted my opinions.

note: I am aware this review is late - I had some issues with getting reviews of a few August ARCs I received last August that I am currently catching up on.

trigger warnings: eating disorders, fat-shaming (challenged), toxic mother-daughter relationship (resolved)

To Be Honest is a young-adult contemporary novel about high school senior Savannah Alverson, who struggles with her
Beth Summer
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a massive fan of Maggie Martin's debut, THE BIG F, so I knew going into this I was in for a treat. Her light and funny voice is the perfect contrast to the deeper subject. Savannah is an amazing protag. She's hysterical, brilliant, and STRONG. She can get through absolutely anything. Maggie has an ability to create such real, layered characters with humor and heart. The romance is beautifully executed and extremely swoonworthy. I'm already impatiently waiting Maggie's next book!!
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Weighty Issues 1 5 Nov 02, 2018 08:28AM  

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Maggie Ann Martin hails from Des Moines, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She earned a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. Her two young adult novels, The Big F and To Be Honest are ...more
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“You're the queen of pushing people away before they can say they like you. The queen of rejecting first so you can't be rejected.” 5 likes
“This wasn't my first rodeo in Unrequited Land. In fact, I had a season pass. Each new crush, I'd find myself standing there, fast pass in hand, wishing that someone who had zero interest in me would finally open their eyes and see me standing in front of them.” 1 likes
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