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Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,494 ratings  ·  285 reviews
What’s worse than being fat your freshman year?
Being fat your sophomore year.

Life used to be so simple for Andrew Zansky–hang with the Model UN guys, avoid gym class, and eat and eat and eat. He’s used to not fitting in: into his family, his sports-crazed school, or his size 48 pants.

But not anymore. Andrew just met April, the new girl at school and the instant love of h
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 8th 2009 by EgmontUSA (first published September 1st 2009)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,494 ratings  ·  285 reviews

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Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Three words; touching, heartfelt, humorous!

This novel was so refreshing! I can't remember the last time I actually enjoyed a novel about an obese person trying to fit in, in High School. Usually with this type of story, I'm frustrated and cringing. But with FG&OTIVH (yeah I'm not going to type that out again!) I couldn't stop turning the pages about this likable, realistic and charming character.

Andrew is classic. He is a very believable high school guy. He's not the fattest kid in his schoo
Aug 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sometimes when I read "fat kid" stories, they kind of bug me. They tend to follow a pattern - fat kid hates him/herself, decides to make a change, then either ends up changing and feels great or accepts him/herself for who he/she is. And although there is definitely some of the "acceptance" theme here, it's done in a very cool way. Andy, the main character, doesn't really hate himself. Maybe he hates himself a little, but no more than the average teenager. He doesn't like the way he looks, but h ...more
3.5 stars.

I very much enjoyed Allen Zadoff's first young adult Novel. Having been overweight himself, the author has created a protagonist who felt very real, you believed what he said and you wanted to learn things about him.

I think the thing that really frustrated me about Andy was that he didn't like the way he looks, but he doesn't really have the want to change his lifestyle. He knows that he eats far too much, but like many overweight people, he eats to cope with the emotions and stress of
Sherrie Petersen
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I almost stopped after the first two lines in this story. I'm not a fan of books that open with, "My name is Andrew Zansky. I'm 15 years old and blah, blah, blah." I mean, isn't that the ultimate sin of telling?!

But I'm glad I kept reading because aside from the opening misstep, this book is really good. Written from the perspective of a 300 pound boy in high school, the story is full of laughs, pathos and unusually sympathetic characters. There are so many great one-liners that I just wanted to
Josie M.
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for an enjoyable read I definitely reccomend you pick this book up. This book is about so much more than an overweight high school junior who joins the football team to get the attention of a girl, to fix his problems at home and being viewed as more than just the fat kid. This book is about so much more. It's about expecting one result but geting something totally different. Its about friendships and relationships and breaking out of your shell. It's about finding yourself.
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read the book "Food, Girls and Other Things I Can’t Have" by Allen Zadoff. The book is about a boy in high school named Andrew Zansky who has some issues with his weight. He is the second fattest kid in the entire high school. The book starts off with Andrew meeting this new and pretty girl named April. He likes her right away. Once he starts school after summer he finds out April is going to his school. He wants to impress her, so he tries to join the football team. He ends up playing and ge ...more
Sep 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came with multiple promises--first, a good book about a fat main character, which is pretty hard to find, I guess. Not that I've been looking for it or anything. Second, it promised a humerous book. Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have is about a fat kid who decides he's tired of conforming and not doing what he should be able to just because he's fat. I won't say it fell flat in every way. It kept me entertained. Was it funny? Meh. It made me grin once or twice. Did it provide a ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When my daughter brought this book home on school assignment, there was no way I wasn't going to read it. In a nutshell: high school fat nerd goes from bully bait to football star as team center. Unlikely? Read between the politics. Spoilerette: the protagonist's voice, setting and background reads disturbingly like that of my former husband. I promise you this is not an insult but a tribute. If you knew him and loved him, read the book.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I wrote it, so of course I have to love it. You can't abandon your babies. But instead of taking my word for it, check out the the very cool Books By Their Cover Blog that posted an early review of Food, Girls. Thanks, Yan!
John Silva
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Food, girls and other things I can’t have is a very interesting young adult novel by Allen Zadoff which tells a very fiction-like, yet believable story, including a lot of comedy elements, which makes the story have a more authentic feel to it, being told from the perspective of a high schooler.
In high school, everything seems like a challenge. Becoming “popular”, getting good grades, taking care of your appearance and especially balancing all those things out so none of them fall apart. The b
Eram Hussain
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
"Everything fells better when I'm eating."

This is the first book I have read about a guy with body shape issues, usually it is only shown in girls. It is a fast paced and funny book. The characters are realistic and original. Obviously there is a main hero, his best friend, a girl he likes and a bad guy like every other book.
This book follows the same pattern like every book with obesity. The fat guy hates himself for his weight, the society makes fun of him, he tries to change himself, towards
Tabitha Olson
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It’s not easy to make me laugh. I’m not sure why, really. It’s not that I don’t find things funny. I do. But something has to be truly hysterical for me to laugh out loud—and even that doesn’t last longer than a few seconds. *shrug* I have no clue why.

Anyway, this book made me laugh out loud. Many times. And there were a few scenes that had me positively howling with laughter, clutching the ache in my side and tears streaming down my face. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard for so
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Andy is not the fattest kid in his high school - he's the second fattest. In a weird way, that's worse. It's like he isn't the best at anything - not even his weight. Andy gets picked on and doesn't really fit in any where until he is tapped to try out for the football team and ends up on the varsity squad. Now his sophmore year is about to take a major turn, but he can't figure out which direction to go.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Andy is such a great character. He doesn't like the way
Sunny Stone
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-reading
Andrew disgusts me a lot at first. I can't stand a guy who thinks he loves a girl only because she's hot... For me, Andrew is superficial enough to like April---a bitch who steals her friend's boyfriend while manipulating Andrew to get what she wants. Ok, other than bad taste for girls, Andrew also has some moral issues going on such as despising classmates who are being real friendly to him for their unpopularity.
However, all of these start to change toward the end, when Andrew gradully reali
Dec 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Not a bad little book. I actually had much the same experience as the character in this book. The difference being that I was press ganged into football in Junior High, and I stayed with it. I even ran a trick play where I carried the ball from the offensive guard spot. That, and I loved the game going in. And I stayed with it through the end of High School. I did, like the main character, decide to leave the game behind eventually, though.

Good: pretty accurate depiction of being a fat kid tryi
Brandi Rae Fong
I'm not really sure this comparison will make sense, but this book felt like the teen guy equivalent of chick lit. In a good way. It had the incredibly likable main character (Andy) who you can't help but root for as he navigates through his personal obstacles, girls and sports. That being said, I'm not entirely sure who will pick this book isn't enough about sports to attract the readers who only like sports books and for readers who like just realistic guys in school kinds of books it ...more
Diane Ferbrache
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Andrew Zansky is fat, geeky, and definitely NOT one of the in crowd. As he begins his sophomore year, he meets a girl and when the football coach asks him to play football, he agrees hoping to change his life. At first things seem to be going well -- the very popular quarterback befriends him, April is paying attention, and even the school bully is avoiding him. But he finds that his former friends want nothing to do with him and things are not really going as well as they seem.

This is a heartwa
Linda Dexheimer
Linda Dexheimer

I really loved, loved, loved this book. The main character, Andrew Zansky, is in high school which is bad enough but it's even worse when you're overweight. Andrew finds that he can't fix his life by being skinny and starts to accept himself for who and what he is. Andrew is a well-written character and the book overall is just funny with tons of one-liners keep readers laughing.
Rebecca McNutt
This book was a little different from the typical high school romance novels. It tells the story of an overweight teenager who wants to reinvent himself in his sophomore year in order to get the girl he likes to notice him as more than just "the fat kid". With comedy and wit, this book still has important messages about self-esteem, friendship and school life.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, if there was a specific genre for high school drama popularity issues and body image finding yourself along with true friendship books (too long?), this would be at the top.

It is the perfect mix of unique and feel-good, it's like snuggling with a blankie and having a giggle.

I really loved it and there were some great messages.
Brenna McGaughy
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! The way the book is written really made me feel like I was watching a movie or t.v. show. This book will make you laugh with every new situation that happens. I recommend this book to readers looking for a easy read and a good story.
Kim Baccellia
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is hilarious! Andy is sure to be the new hero of YA! Check out my review at
Jaden J
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
With high school, comes many memories and special moments in a teenagers life. Andrew however, has different story. This book featuring a 300 pound teenager, talks about his experience in high school. Andrew was born with obesity due to his family lineage. Although it is very selective in his family. Andrew comes to his mom with to her catering service, and finds himself falling in love with this Korean girl. Thinking he would never see her again, after he left and went home to prepare for the f ...more
Thia Lee
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.8 stars...

I was online browsing and I came across this book. I decided to give it a chance because you don't really find too many books with male MCs. Plus I liked that fact that it was about a MC struggling with his weight. Honestly, in the beginning I didn't like the book because all Andy kept talking about was himself being fat over and over and over again. It was really annoying to me, but I pushed on and after about the first 50 to 70 pages it started to get better. It was a funny read. I
Izabel Wetzel
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the book “Food, Girls, and other things I can’t have” written by Allen Zadoff, a lot was going on but very little at the same time. As I read through this book I realized I really didn’t want to put it down. It was a brilliant and interesting book and it’s things like this that really open your eyes especially reading this in highschool. You start to understand how people like him feel or maybe you relate to him in more than one way.
I would definitely recommend this book. It’s not very long
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so good and not like other people say "i never liked to read but after this book i love it" like come on we know its not really true but anyways this book is awesome i did like to read after this book but the author is so good ! I have finished this is book yesturday and im looking for more books from the author he has so much deas and good stuff i dont know its cool plus people also go through the same things .the things i love about this book and i know this might sound weird but ...more
I read this book for the ATY 2019 Reading Challenge Week 49: A book related to food.

A coming of age book what do I expect reading young adult books, right!? Andy is really, really fat and in high school. A brainiac is also somewhat of a loser because he stereotypes himself. The school bully intimidates all 306 pounds of him. However, as the story progresses Andy, and the rest of us, discovers that all he needs is confidence. He learns who he is and that he can use his brains to create success fo
George Crowder
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
With the success of YA writers like John Green, it's a wonder that this book is not better-known. The characters are witty, articulate, and completely lack the artificial, smarmy character that sometimes infects young people when adults try to write about them. The football players reminded me of the bad boys in Holes-- loved them so much. Terrific read and I will seek out more from this gifted author!
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There aren't many YA books from the male perspective, and I thought this was a pretty good one. To me, it felt like an honest reflection of high school and trying to fit in. Thinking back to when I was a sophomore in high school, I feel like it would have been a good book to relate to.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good book. Surprisingly, I loved the book even though it was written by a man. I don't tend to love books by men generally and it was kind of like a breakthrough for me. I highly recommend this book!
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Around the Year i...: Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, by Allen Zadoff 3 9 Apr 13, 2019 09:33PM  
Character Education 2 7 Oct 28, 2011 12:59PM  

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Allen Zadoff is the author of the new thriller series, The Unknown Assassin which earned starred reviews and is being developed as a feature film by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment. His YA novel, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and was a YALSA selection for Most Popular Paperbacks of 2012. His second novel was My Life, the Theater, and Other Trage ...more