Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Fat Cat

Rate this book
An experiment so bold, anyone might think it was a little crazy...
Catherine Locke is smart, ambitious, and--okay, not the slimmest girl around. But she's always cared more about her brain than her body. So far that's gotten her where she wanted: into the most advanced, competitive science class at her high school, where she'll once again face her fiercest rival, Matt McKinney.

The guy who once broke her heart.

If Cat's plan works, she'll win it all: a huge improvement in her body and her lifestyle, first prize at the science fair, admission to the college of her choice, and best of all, revenge on Matt McKinney.

But as every scientist knows, even the best experiments can go wildly out of control...

318 pages, Paperback

First published October 13, 2009

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Robin Brande

80 books267 followers
Robin Brande is an award-winning author who writes in multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, young adult, romance, and nonfiction. Her young adult novels have been named Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

She is also a lawyer, martial artist, and wilderness medic.

Connect with Robin at:

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,715 (31%)
4 stars
1,924 (35%)
3 stars
1,268 (23%)
2 stars
380 (7%)
1 star
135 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 737 reviews
Profile Image for Cara.
279 reviews704 followers
August 26, 2016
This book reminded why I love reading so much. I learned so many new things without being banged over the head with textbook mumbo jumbo. I almost fell out of chair when she talked about the Tarahumara indians (it's a joke in my family).

Cat is well fat and is carrying around a lot of resentment. She is smart and she has good friends but again she's fat. Every year she enters the science fair and this year she plans to beat Matt no matter what happens. The experiment that she takes on is pretty extreme. She is going to eat like the caveman did and limit her access to modern technology. With her diet of diet coke and chips and her habits of a modern day person this will be no easy task.

Slowly we see her start to lose weight and all the changes that comes with that. We come later to find out exactly what is the huge grudge she has against Matt, and get to see her attempts to test the waters with guys. I laughed so much when I read this story, and zipped through it like there was no tomorrow. Along her journey you can tell she feels (dare she say it) pretty and not only that but more happy than she can remember. I actually felt compelled to take a look at what kind of junk I'd been putting in my own body and how dependent we all are on technology. Sometimes you have to turn everything off. No interent, TV, phones and just really think. Though I could never become a vegertarian (they had some good points but...) I love eating juicy burgers way too much. Good books make you analyze your own life and it did just that.

I got kind of annoyed at Cat sometimes though. The grudge she is holding is justified (in a way) I think she was a little too hung up on it. She kept saying traitor and you betrayed me and well I just can't see a teenager doing that. They'd be like there are such scum (insert more colorful language here). There was a bit of that, but I think Cat made it out to be worst as the years went by. I'm not saying what Matt did wasn't hurtful but I'm surprised how long she kept hating him. I think it's because it happened in her middle school years (very difficult time growing up) and she liked him so it hurt that much more.

That aside though this book is worthy of anyone's time to see sometimes that we are the only ones in they way of our own lives.
Profile Image for Jessica.
721 reviews611 followers
March 31, 2011
*Happy sigh* This was absolutely fabulous!

If I try to come up with anything I didn’t like about this book I’m drawing a total blank. Our narrator Cat is awesome, she’s smart and witty and she made me laugh out loud at regular intervals throughout the entire book. I also loved that even when her pounds melted away and she regained some self-confidence she stayed true to herself. I kind of expected the story to go like they all do and was prepared for Cat to turn into a total bitch but luckily this never happened. Sure, she experimented a little with her sexuality and how she could influence the male population but she always stayed the same loveable science geek who doesn’t really care about make-up and clothes and wants guys to like her for her personality and not for her looks. She stayed the sweet girl who’s loyal to her friends and cares about her family.

This was one of those books I simply couldn’t put down, the plot captivated my attention from cover to cover and when I realized that the story drew to a close I got really sad because I didn’t want to say goodbye to all these great characters just yet. As I already said, Cat herself is awesome but so are her friends Amanda and Jordan and also Matt. I know, what he did back then was awful but he was only thirteen and at this young age you sometimes just do stupid things like that and I actually found myself feeling bad for him because it was just so obvious that he had absolutely no clue what he had done. I also thought the whole situation with him and Cat was a realistic scenario. I remember being that young and not having the guts yet to stand by my opinion, no matter what the others thought or said and I also know how I didn’t confront friends about stuff like this. The fact that Cat and Amanda were almost running a restaurant by themselves, on the other hand, struck me as a tad bit unrealistic but didn’t really bother me. The additional information on how to eat healthy was interesting as well, though I must say that the author was not exactly subtle about her "pro vegetarian" message. :) Luckily it was still within tolerable limits.

What I probably liked best about this one was the love story. It was the kind of romance that makes you grin like a fool and feel warm all over. This is definitely a book I’m going to re-read someday. Loved it!
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,400 reviews11.7k followers
February 2, 2010
"Fat Cat" is what I call a light YA story done right. It's not overly depressing (being an "issue" book and all that), or immature, or oversexed.

It is story of an overweight girl who turns to healthy lifestyle as a part of her science project and in the process of getting her body in shape, gets her inner self in shape too. Cat is an extremely likable character. In spite of her hang-ups that she tries to "eat," she is a smart and fun girl, a great friend and daughter.

You will not find drugs, alcohol or promiscuity in this book; and it is a great relief. It seems to be some kind of standard these days to portray teenage kids as jaded and vile creatures and it's a pleasure to finally read a book about normal young adults, young adults I used to hang around not that long ago. What you will find instead is this: great messages about eating and leaving healthy, responsible sexuality, value of friends and a lesson about not getting stuck on what people say or do behind your back and being a guide of your own destiny and happiness.

The push for vegetarian life style gets at times a little too heavy, but overall the book manages to stay away from being preachy and is simply a quick, fun read about health, friendship, with a little bit of teenage angsty romance thrown in.
Profile Image for L.E. Fidler.
705 reviews75 followers
October 10, 2011
there will always be a soft spot in my life for young adult fiction, but not crap like this.

Fat Cat is a fat girl's cinderella story - the incredibly fictional account of how one science-oriented young woman lost a ton of weight, became incredibly hot, and dated half the swim team in her personal quest to get her one true love to admit he's a tool and fall in love with her.

or something.

i wanted to like cat. i think any female who's ever struggled with weight issues or felt uber-nerdy and unappreciated wants to like cat. but the reality is: cat just isn't that likeable. she's holding on to a grudge several years in the making. she's in complete denial about her feelings for most of the book, and she seems highly impressionable for someone the author wants us to look at as strong. and, since the premise is about cat wanting to be like the female homo erectus, feral.

my biggest gripe about the book is the heavy-handed treatment of cat's "diet"...this feels shameful to me. in the same way Twilight pimps vegetarianism to its audience, Fat Cat shoves the concept down our throats. instead of letting the reader, as cat does, come to their own conclusions about her diet, we hear about the dangers of pumping our bodies with chemicals and hormones. that coupled with cat's physical transformation and her ability to capture the attention of oh-so-cute boys, well, i'd expect a fair number of girls to adopt a similar paleo-veggie diet in their quests to lose weight and become hot.

totally the right reason.

Profile Image for Arlene.
1,156 reviews641 followers
December 26, 2010
Definitely an inspiring and motivating story as the main character embarks on an ambitious experiment to see what would happen if she cut out processed food, artificial sweeteners, technology and motorized transportation. It was amazing to see Cat morph into a new person both in body and attitude and refreshing to hear her tell her story in such an inspiring and snarky voice. I had a great time following her through her journey.

About the book: Catherine Locke and Matt McKinney have been arch enemies for over four years. It all happened the day she displaced her best friend in a science fair competition by taking first place and hearing him say something horrible about her to another student. It’s now their junior year in high school, and she vows to take revenge and teach Matt a lesson. As part of her science project, she aims to take the prize once again and as part of her experiment she goes on a strict eating regimen to lose the weight that earned her the title Fat Cat.

I loved Cat’s voice because she sassy, smart and completing honest. The journaling that included her progress was interesting to read and it was amazing to see how the food we eat and the habits we practice affect our body and mind. Definitely recommend this book as I enjoyed it much.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
57 reviews
April 11, 2016
Honestly? This was garbage.

It spins a message of self acceptance that comes only after the main character has literally transformed her physical appearance and as a direct result gained the affections of her true love.

The fact that Matt once called Cat (UGH, I KNOW) fat when they were 13 and that she held an active grudge against him and refused to speak to him for over three years, had NOTHING to do with the fact that she wanted to lose weight. Riiiiight.

The author tries to make the reader believe that science whiz Cat wants to lose weight as part of a NATIONAL science fair project (because...science?) to show how much people have changed since they were Neanderthals? Yeah, it doesn't make sense. You're telling me that the teacher of this science class - that the reader is made to believe is the BEST and intimidating and pushes his students - readily accepts the premise of, 'lol I want to diet for school,' as a science fair project? Again, for the NATIONAL LEVEL.

Ok, suspending my disbelief for that absolutely insane premise, Cat is TERRIBLE at going through with this actual project. That she made the rules for. Sigh. The project literally, immediately, on day 1 starts to unravel, but that's ok because Cat just continues to change the rules. She's not supposed to use technology (phones/cars, etc), yet she constantly is using phones/cars, etc. but justifying it because she needs to talk to a boy or go to the mall. Also, she was only supposed to eat what Neanderthals ate, meaning whole grains, nuts, berries, vegetables, etc. Instead, again, after DAY ONE, this is too impossible (granted, it would be hard but crumbling on day one?) and so Cat once again bends the rules to an absurd level. She eats oatmeal with milk every day, she makes bread, she has pizza, she has muffins, she has SO MANY CARBS. You know what they didn't have in Neanderthal times? Bread. Eggs. Milk. Sugar. A blender. A stove.

So Cat is actually just going on a diet where she eliminates processed sugar, soda and chocolate and well, that's pretty much it. The book takes an incredibly sanctimonious turn preaching constantly about a healthy lifestyle and how everyone should eat this way so that people don't die (yes, it actually says we will all die if we do not change how we eat). Now, I am not opposed to a healthy eating lifestyle - it's fantastic & will more than likely prolong your life expectancy! But I'm not going to write a novel trying to guilt it's readers into living that way under the guise and promise of getting your crush and a super hot bod at the end of it all.

The author tries to convince the reader that Cat is only doing this for herself and to better her life, which she is most certainly not as she herself will repeatedly tell the reader. Sure, she has moments where she tries to convince herself that it has nothing to do with boys (but, good Lord, does it) but it all comes down to Matt in the end.

Change everything about your physical appearance and people will like you!

What a horrible message for young girls, or people in general.

Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
December 21, 2018
This book was adorable. And sexy. Adorably sexy. I'm so pleased with having picked this up. I found it a little slow at times, which is why I gave it a four instead of a five, but overall I adored this read. Definitely recommend to anyone searching for a witty contemporary.
Profile Image for Valerie.
249 reviews74 followers
August 26, 2016
I finished this book in one day so that must say something about it. It was a more fast pace book even though there wasn’t suspense or action in it. The chapters are fairly short and the writing style is modern and easy.

In the first half of the book I was sure I was going to give it 5 stars because Cat was so funny, smart and just a really great girl with so much drive –she is definitely into science. The whole eating and being like cavemen thing was informative; I learned a good amount and few of the things she said I already knew so that was reassuring. I liked her friends and how they really seemed to care about Cat. I really loved the fact that Cat tries to develop a good relationship with her little brother and doesn’t hate her parents. Cat makes some good points about eating better and all that but low and behold I still ate chicken soup that same day that I finished it; I still eat meat too.

The second half I didn’t like as much as the first because of her guy problems. I really shouldn’t go any further about it but I’ll say that she wasn’t too smart about it; she may be smart about science but boys are not her forte. She makes things more complicated when they come into the picture, but she does what’s right in the end. She harbors this huge grudge on one boy who did something that terribly hurts Cat’s feeling when she was in the seventh grade I think. You find out what he did and I’ll say that it was pretty hurtful. However, Cat is like what 17? She still hasn’t got over it even a little? I probably wouldn’t like the guy either but I wouldn't loathe him for years to come. You’d think with how much she hated him he killed her dog or something (he didn’t by the way).

Given the fact that I didn’t completely like Cat’s love life in the second half of the book I still really liked it and would absolutely read it again.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
December 28, 2010
Ahh yes, words. How they can kill you and destroy your world when uttered by someone you care about. Especially if those words are said when your thirteen years old and the guy your crushing on, your very best friend, calls you Fat, behind your back.
Yeah, boys totally suck.

Fat Cat is such a great book. It's really smart, entertaining and completely captivating. I devoured this in one sitting.

I really enjoyed Cat. She has issues, but she's smart and feisty and so very brave. That project was crazy and ingenious and very amusing. I enjoyed her character instantly, she has a such a great cynical sense of humor that just makes you laugh and shake your head at.
I also loved Amanda and Jordon, great secondary characters who are loyal and supportive, not to mention adorable. I think everyone should have friends like them.
Matt, yeah, he was a jerk once upon a time, but when your young you say and do stupid things. I found myself hoping for him the entire time. The Valentine was very, very cute!

Fresh, enlightening and inspiring. Definitely worth a read!
Profile Image for ⭐Anny⭐ (Book Princess) .
435 reviews262 followers
January 28, 2020
Not the genre I usually read, but I found this book buried somewhere on my shelves and decided to read it again! I once got it as a gift when I was a teenager and remembered to like it back then :)

Fat Cat deals with many topics: health, food, love, being lovesick, friendship and even a bit mobbing. And it does so in a nice way: the messages are clear, but the book doesn't force its opinions on the reader.

I enjoyed that I could actually learn something about eating healthy and how it affects the body. It was all very understandable, despite having a scientific background. The writing style is also fluent and easy to follow, the chapters are very short and it was a quick read.

I liked how straightforward Cat, the main character, was - at least for most of the time. She was very determined about her project. I also liked her best friend Amanda, they really read like best friends - they can tell each other everything and complete each other in many ways cause their personalities are quite different. The male characters though could've been more fleshed out.

There's also a lot of romance in here - actually, the farther we get into the book, the more romance-heavy it gets. Towards the end, it was a bit much. Cat suddenly was all about her feelings and it also affected her project. I get love and all that comes with it is an important topic for the indented target group for this book though, and just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't either.

Now, one last note: this book is about Cat's journey. She thinks she's too fat at the beginning, she's unhappy with her body and she wants to change something about it. This is also an important topic. But the book in no way tells you that you should act in the same way! It depends on you! If you're unhappy with your body image, this book might be a great inspiration. But if you're happy with how you look - even if some people may consider you fat - that's totally fine too!

In conclusion, Fat Cat was a quick and enjoyable read. It was funny at times but had also depth. I think it's a great book for teenagers who struggle with things like body image and feelings and I would recommend it for 12 years and up.
Profile Image for laaaaames.
524 reviews98 followers
April 2, 2010
Don't you just love books that simultaneously say you should like fat people for who they are while spending so much time on how much better you'll look and feel once you're not fat anymore? Also: totally sex-negative. This reminds me of all the books I read when I was in like middle school where the worst thing a boy could do would be touch your boob. Yeah, getting to second is definite cause for alarm.

I'm frustrated too because outside of these problematic issues, Brande is a really skilled writer who makes you zip through a book. I just could have done without some of the preachier stuff.

Points back for Matt's admission though. I totally expected a misunderstood moment.

(read: 37)
102 reviews7 followers
April 26, 2016
Ach war das schön ❤
Eine wirklich außergewöhnliche Geschichte ✨
Ganz klare Leseempfehlung ! ☺
Profile Image for Tamara.
684 reviews200 followers
June 22, 2015
4,5 stars


I dont know how to write a review for this one. CAUSE IT ROCKED!!!

Am I the only one who struggles with writing a review for a book she really really liked? Rants are so easy to write. Awesome books? Umm, not so much.

Let’s start with what I didnt like.


Cant remember.


Ok, Now let’s talk about what I liked: EVERYTHING!

To be honest, after reading the synopsis I thought this book would be really medicore. But boy, was I wrong. First of all; I loved I mean LOVED the characters. Cat is smart and sassy. The side characters were interesting and charming. Cat’s family was supportive, and were realistic portrayed family members. No “OMG, my parents don’t understand me and I hate them! I also hate my life. I wanna die’’ or ‘’My parents are too damn selfish to be there for me so I can do whatever I feel like without any consequences’’ shit.

I really liked that this book had a super supportive friend for Cat; I feel like a ton of YA books have the main character with zero friends or crappy friends who she has to discard but Amanda was awesome! Let’s throw some confettis for real friendship ok?

"Not to worry," she said. "Matt McKinney will never get within twenty paces of you if I have anything to do with it. I'll defend you to the death, even against my boyfriend, no matter how irresistible he is."
"Thank you."
"My pleasure."
If that’s not the real friendship I dont know what it is.

Side note/request; can we get a sequel about Amanda and her boyfriend Jordan cause OMG I LOVED HOW AWESOME THEY WERE!!! Is it just me, or is that Jordan is the coolest boyfriend ever invented? It’s not just me,right? ^_^

I also loved and cared about the love interest. I loved how the whole conflict between the characters were dealt with.

But most of all; I loved the realism. The book deals with weight really well and makes an interesting commentary on how appearances do make a difference. Cat’s development from bitter girl with a low body image to a happier, healthier, more energetic, and more creative young woman was done so awesome. Plus, the book was really great at hinting at the harmful effects of our modern-day materialistic, processed consumerist culture.

The Story:

This is Cat in the beginning of the book:
“It's not that I'm hideous, but I'm also not stupid. I know how people see me. I might spend an hour every day straightening my hair and getting my makeup just right and picking out clothes that camouflage at least some of my rolls, but the truth is I'm still fat and everyone knows it. When I wake up in the morning it's like I'm wearing this giant fat suit, and if only I could find the zipper I could step out of it and finally go start living my real life.”

HA. First of all; -another side note- this reminds me the movie called Handsome Suit. It has that dream come true premise for Cat and involves a magical suit that makes its wearer more attractive. Amazing movie. I highly recommend it!!

Second of all; I loved that Cat’s insecure because she’s fat but she doesnt act too depressed because of that. She’s like ‘I wish my situation was better but this is who I am now’. She is insecure but she’s also in peace with herself. So yeah, I loved that she wanst overreacting to things. Which made things so much more interesting and realistic when she decided to become ‘prehistoric’ for a class project. To do an actual science experiment. On herself. For seven months. To see whether modern humans benefit from returning to the eating and lifestyle habits of the early hominins.

…which means giving up on all of this;

No more candy. No modern food any kind -only natural foods they could have found back then. No modern technology. No car. A bunch of no’s that make our lives easier and happier.

My first reaction to this? BITCH YOU ARE CRAZY. Then; I can never do this shit cause I’m obssed with my phone the way Daenerys is obssed with her dragons. But when we find out why:
"And this is supposed to prove what?" Amanda broke in. "Other than that you're crazy?"
"That we've screwed ourselves up," I said. "That somewhere along the way all of our modern advances have gone too far and we've let ourselves get lazy and soft…I think if we just went back to living a simpler life, we'd all be a lot better off.”
OH. OK. That makes sense. I still cant do it though. Cause that’s me everytime I cant find my phone;

Anyway, when the first phase ends up with some great results there comes second phase: Effects on male population of changes in female appearance.

As you can see; while the first half of the story focuses on Cat’s science project, the second half discusses more her relationships with other people. I mean, her experiments. Hahaha this phase was so much fun.
"Amanda can't stop analyzing my love life--now that I've finally given her something to analyze. It must have been hard for her before, with nothing to go on.."
These two. Ahhh real friendship <3

The Romance: was done very well! Cat has a few love interests but the main guy is Matt.
"Matt is a tortured soul," Amanda insisted. "He's Heathcliff and you're Cathy. He's Rochester and you're Jane Eyre. He's--"
"Darcy and I'm Elizabeth. I get it. And you're wrong."
"We'll see-ee," Amanda sang. "As far as I'm concerned, the experiment lives on."
Hehehe. Enough said?

I loved how realistically portrayed Cat and Matt’s relationships was. I loved how it developed from friendship to enemies and finally (well no suprise there, right?) to lovers. I loved how the conflict between them was resolved and how both parties took a part of the blame instead of just blaming each other. My only resentment about the whole relationship is


This book makes me want to give up on junk food but the temptation guys, the temptation is too high :D
15 reviews6 followers
August 28, 2010
After seeing the five gleaming golden stars that Fat Cat has on Amazon, I knew this book was a must read. Yet upon finishing Fat Cat, mixed feelings for this novel raced through my mind. This book is like a chunk of granite, embedded with both pretty and ugly flakes of other rock. Overall, its good qualities marginally dominate the poor ones, making this novel a sweet, light read that managed to alter my own lifestyle.

I was not sure what to make of Cat's personality; There were times when I wanted to scream at her in frustration and times when her decisions confused me. Cat is overweight, siphoning immense quantities of soda and other junk food into her body. When a school project inspires her to change her lifestyle and become healthy, I was surprised by her sudden enthusiasm to undertake it. Before, Cat seemed content with her weight, and her abrupt desire to change seemed strange, especially since this project would be very hard on her body. Though her underlying re asons do appear later in the novel, the author could have let them flash a little bit in the beginning to let the reader know Cat's motivations.

Later, when Cat refuses to talk to boys, frustration welled up inside of me, because the author presents no reason for her stubborn rudeness towards males. During the majority of the novel, Cat is a complete meanie toward Matt, and the fact how she seems to have no vindication irritates me. When she does reveal the reason much later in the book, it's too late for me to forgive her, even if it justifies her cruel actions. The author tries to make the reason for Cat's hatred a mystery, but she ultimately fails by unnecessarily dragging out the feud until the very end, which achieves nothing other than irking me. Cat fostering such a strong grudge makes me dislike her, especially since the incident that triggered the enmity happened many, many years ago. Matt, on the other hand, is consistently sweet and caring, and Cat's aggressiveness causes me to pity him.

Besides for Cat, The other characters are three dimensional, well drawn, and brimming with personality. From talented Amanda to jerky Greg, sweet and confused Matt to slimy Nick, the author magically writes an ensemble of characters to life. I found myself either liking or vehemently disliking each character, and feeling immensely protective over Cat's little brother, who is bullied at school.

This book has wholesome morals of intelligence over appearance and being healthy. In fact, Fat Cat inspired me to eat healthy foods, and soon, I found myself avoiding sugary sodas and processed munchies. I read this book a few hours after consuming about ten of my friend's Twixes (at least they were mini), and guiltily thought back to these unhealthy packages of caramel and chocolate while I watched Cat successfully avoid such items. Now, I'm able to always order water at restaurants opposed to sodas, politely decline desert when I'm merely greedy opposed to actually hungry, and limit the amount of candy I consume. Despite Cat's other flaws, she is a good role model, who helped me realize that eating healthy is vital to living a happy and energetic life. She also brought to light my relationship with junky foods.

"The fact is that candy bars taste great. As do chips and pizza and ice cream and everything else that makes up a modern diet.

It wasn't just the caffeine and artificial sweeteners that were hard to come off. I swear I had just as bad withdrawals from giving up everything else. Sugar feels very, very good. Some days it seems like it's the only thing that can make you happy.

It's just that sometimes having a few carrots doesn't quite do it for me the way the bag of Doritos or a dozen Oreos used to. I think part of it is psychological - eating real food seems so serious, whereas junk food felt fun.

But it's not fun how it looks on your afterward. I guess that's the point I need to focus on. And the fact that I definitely do have a lot more energy now than I ever used to.

But no wonder all does other scientists have had a hard time convincing us to stop eating all the goodies. Nothing says love like a cookie." - page 89

I really enjoyed reading the addicting, cheery novel of Fat Cat, and will probably reread it sometime in the future. This is the type of book I wish I could read again for the first time, since I found much joy while voyaging amidst its pages. While an overweight's person's revelations and emotional journey may sound dull, Cat is an interesting narrator who managed to keep my attention for the whole book. Fat Cat reminded me of the reason I love reading: I learned so many interesting tidbits without trudging through non fiction text. The author integrates scientific facts and theories throughout the story. Whenever the author inserted an Einestein quote, thrills surged through me, and I appreciated Cat's love of science.

Toward the end of this book, the focus completely shifts to Cat's personal life, and I wished to see more of a conclusion on her project. While I see that the author wants to make a point of how the book is about the effects the project opposed the project itself, I became annoyed, since Cat never says what grade she earns, and if her teacher, who plays a critical roll in the shaping of her project, is satisfied by her efforts, or if she snags the much desired college recommendation letter. I would have rated this book much higher on the hoot scale if the project had more closure.

Cover: 3.5/5 – The bulging book is cute, and I love the rich, velvety purple of the cover. Not many books are purple these days. Other than that, this mediocre cover captures nothing special.
9 reviews
February 14, 2017
This book had so much promise. I was expecting a true adventure into science but the book falls short of its premise. The science project takes a backseat half way through the book and Cat just becomes too preoccupied with her looks and boys.

And the grudge that she holds on Matt?? In FOUR years he didn't once ask her why she suddenly stopped talking to him? Seriously?

I understand what Matt did was hurtful but I feel it was blown way out of proportion and certainly wasn't interesting/juicy enough to drag on and reveal to the reader right at the very end.

The characters were pretty flat overall. Everyone was over-achieving and at the top of their field: swimming, science, poetry etc. Amanda in particular was too much like the stereotypical best friend type that is overdone in YA books; the one where the best friend simply exists to get the MC out of her shell.

There was no suspense (except over who wins the science project) but one of the things I did like was Matt's project. I thought that his experiment was really interesting, although Matt himself is really not.
We know absolutely nothing of Matt except that he and Cat were supposedly the greatest of friends and now she hates him and that's basically it.

All in all I just felt disappointed and to be honest quite bored by the middle of the book.
Profile Image for jesse.
988 reviews100 followers
May 18, 2016
3.5 stars

cat wants to win with her project in fizer's special topics research science class badly, because it would mean green light for getting a recommendation for college applications and eventually even winning scholarships. basically a freet-ticket to reaching her dreams. problem: cat's topic for her 7-month project is about something she's totally NOT interested in.

stone age. neanderthals. hominids. homo erectus.

cat hates herself. cat hates her body. but cat finds an interesting topic for her project to work on. she uses it, to experiment on herself.

and that when i realized: i wanted to be her.
not her in the sense that i wish i had to fight saber-toothed hyenas just to get a decent meal, but her in looks. i want --and i know this sounds incredibly shallow, but science requires the truth-- i wouldn't mind for once in my life to actually look ... good.

or at least better than i do right now. maybe even pretty, if that's possible. when i wake up in the morning, it's like i'm wearing this giant fat suit, and if only i could find the zipper, i could step out of it and finally go start living my real life.

turning < fat cat > into < cat >.


proposal: over the course of seven months (207 days), researcher will act as own test subject & attempt to duplicate as closely as possible the living conditions of early hominids.

she loses pound after pound, even guys begin noticing & asking her out. it works! cat feels better than ever.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

i thought the book would be fun. so, yes i was a little bit more than surprised at its deepness.

how do we see ourselves?
how do others see ourselves?
what does beauty truly mean?

these and more questions are explored in this book.

once upon a time, i saw this episode in mtv made about a filled-out girl wanting to win a model contest. and there was this mentor (?) of hers who told her: "don't love yourself fat? then you won't love yourself thin either!" which i thought was a good statement.

skin confidence leads to self confidence when you believe in yourself and science, miracles can happen.

no wonder people feel demotivated, when seeing all those ads! letting models pose for those (ads)? - that's just the media trying to manipulate you into thinking: skinny equals beautiful, giving teens & co. a distorted image, about how people should look like, deciding what's to be considered beautiful and what's not. never mind those pictures have been altered to perfection to hide potential flaws anyway.
Profile Image for Hélène Louise.
Author 18 books81 followers
February 6, 2017
This read could have been a favorite: the writing is good, with an easy flow, the characters are mostly clever and nice (well, except Amanda who'is boringly perfect and Matt who doesn't have a chance to have a personality), the main theme is brilliant and fun. But I couldn't help having a permanent sense of botched writing during my reading.

This book has such bright qualities that its flaws are sadly emphasised. Nothing catastrophic, this read was quite enjoyable, but I didn't appreciate the basic manipulations: the terse endings of each chapter, the mysterious dramatic episode who ended Matt and Cat friendship three years ago, which is waved in front of our nose nearly all book long, as a carrot would be to keep moving the donkey - reading the reader.
There is also a sorry tendency to mix some really good, strong and clever ideas with some cheesy chicklitties. On the other hand the author acts as a know-it-all about what is "good eating"; her arguments are too numerous and too insistant (even for me, who actually eat the king of food she advocates!). The message is clearly that everybody should give up junk food for healthy food - as it was so easy to change lifetime habits and tastes!
And also, to be finish with the bad, some inconsistencies / oversight: Cat is supposed to eat non-processed food, natural, healthy, but organic food is never brought up. Cat lose a lot of weight, but seems to easily forget that she used to be very fat; I don't believe it. I'm sure that a real girl would think of it all the time, spending long minutes inspecting her body and face, tightening her belt, feeling her clothes around her new body. She's very busy, and worried, I understand that, but nevertheless I'm sure that she should have be obsessed with the wonderful changes of her body. It's a shame because her condition of a very fat girl, addicted to bad food, is very clearly stated in the beginning of the book. Cat accepts much to easily the volcanic transformation of what she becomes.

In the end a talented author who took the easy way out with some aspects of the book, leaving me me a lasted impression of uncompletedness. The last part in particular, when Cat discovers clothes and seduction is painfully cliché.

To conclude a rather good book which could have been a very good one. A shame...
Profile Image for Laura.
1,842 reviews27 followers
December 22, 2019
I bought this book at the Scholastic Book Fair because it was cheap: $2. I often buy the cheap books because I learn about new authors and branch out in my reading.

Then I read the cover and got excited about it. Sure, it's young adult but I have some 6th graders who are reading young adult (although I don't particularly approve). Plus it's about a girl nerd and I'm trying to encourage my girls. Finally, I learned about our topic for unit 3 and thought it might blend in well. That was definitely a plus.

I wasn't looking forward to the reading up I have to do for Unit 3 while on winter break because it's not a topic I'm comfortable teaching. I do feel, though, that I need to know what I'm teaching so I brought the books home. I thought this would be a nice introduction. I was wrong.

I had to quit the book. In general, I don't approve of books that tell young people to lose weight to be happy. I think there are entirely too many young people with eating disorders as it is. I have 6th graders already who think it's okay to skip breakfast and lunch in order to be thin. I have 6th graders whose #1 fear is being fat. This book reinforces those eating misbehaviors in the guise of health.

In addition, the protagonist, Cat, has the issue that has always bugged me: poor communication skills. So she overhears part of a conversation with her best friend and decides to never talk to that person again instead of dealing with it in a healthy manner: by talking to her friend about what she (mis)heard. She cuts the person from her life and cuts anything that might possibly lead her in the direction where that person may be. This is unhealthy, self-defeating, and cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Instead of dealing with the real issue (poor communication skills) the author and the protagonist decide the key to happiness is to lose weight. No. Just no. I am not putting this book in my classroom library and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews710 followers
October 10, 2011
oh, book! you've made me happy today :)

there are times when mindless fluff just does it for me. at first glance, one might assume fat cat to be those thing. and it did get pretty fluffy a couple of moments there; i'm not kidding when i say it brought back some of what i felt when reading hayes's so over you, but this has got so much more going for it. 

foremost of which are the people in it: they are each others equal. i've complained time and again of friendships that seemed unlikely, as in the pretty but deeply troubled one being bestfriends with the not so popular one which is totally not the case here.

instead, cat and amanda are equals. neither of them could be stuck under one category. yes, cat's a brain but there's more to her. just like there was more to amanda. basically, they're smart well-rounded people not prone to much moping, not prone to moony eyed "oh, i love him so's."  more importantly they weren't sex crazed and hormone driven all the time because they always had something on their plates. simply put, they're smart kids. come to think of it every single one of main players are smart... they just didn't act like it all the time! 

of course there were moments that I just found Adorable (a capital A). And it was such moments that balanced all that smart out. 


Profile Image for Anna.
936 reviews105 followers
July 20, 2010
There's so much that I liked about this book. It wasn't perfect and there is stuff that I take issue with but overall I had a hard time putting this down and I really enjoyed the time I spent reading it.

I love that science has such a prevalent and interesting role in this book. Science goes beyond just being a school subject and the book isn't about winning some high school science fair. Well, it is, but it really isn't. Science in this book actually has meaning and I love that Cat explores food, specifically the impact that processed food has on a person. I am so glad that this topic was touched in a YA book AND that it was done so well. Often we hear so much propaganda about food that it really surprised me just how candid Robin Brande was about processed food. I was a little surprised that she never talked about pesticides and that Cat ate fruits and veggies without much regard for where they came from but for that I can forgive her. :) I thought the overall concept of writing about food and the chemicals that go into it was brilliant and I loved the way she showed that our bodies really do become dependent on all this fake stuff. So, yeah, totally brilliant.

Now about Cat... I liked Cat. She was flawed. At times I couldn't really understand why she hated Matt that much. I got annoyed with her a bit for being way too in love with him early on but I felt that Brande did a nice job of helping me get into Cat's head and understand why she felt he way she did. I really thought the whole 7th grade science fair conversation that she overheard was overblown until the scene where Cat and Matt actually talked about it. It was then that I got just how totally devastating this whole event was for her.

Growing up I constantly felt like weight was an issue. I had insecurities because of it although I don't think I ever felt as bad as Cat. But I can understand that feeling of doubt and lower self-confidence that you really can't avoid when you think other people think you're “fat.” For this reason, it was interesting to read about someone else's experiences with this issue. Also, I felt like I “got” Cat and the premise of the food stuff a lot more than I would have if I'd read the book a year ago because it's been just over the past year that I've cut out a fair amount of processed food and sugar from my diet. Almost right away I started to feel differently (in a good way) and I definitely don't crave sugar and fatty food the way I used. But, the point being, the story totally resonated with my own experiences in middle school, high school, and even as an adult just trying to make sense of looks, weight, and healthier eating. So for that, I think I loved the book.

I liked that Cat was independent and creative and she explored her own identity a lot in this book without being too negative or whiny or basing her own self-worth on her looks. Sure, she felt good when she lost weight, but who wouldn't? I still didn't think that the weight was the number one issue in this book. It was a lot about figuring out her science project, making sense of her identity, discovering her new love and appreciation of food and cooking, and the book was also about friendship. Amanda (and Jordan, too, I suppose) was really well fleshed out and she was a true character (not just a token best friend). I liked the contrast that she provided and she was good about pushing Cat out of her comfort zone.

I wanted the family to be a bit more involved in the book but, as it goes for most YA, the moms are pretty absentee. I was glad, though, that there were various adults walking Cat through her “project.” Both the science teacher and the nutritionist added a bit of realism into the plot.

I do see some of the flaws of the book but I don't really want to focus on them although I have to share two of my biggest gripes. 1) I got tired of hearing “Matt McKinney” over and over (I hate when authors use characters' full names every time they talk about them – it sounds like an episode of One Tree Hill!) but in the end even he redeemed himself. 2) I thought Jordan was the nicest, most understanding guy in the world (perhaps a bit too much?) – where can I find me one of those? :) Other than that, the book was fab. I hope to read more stuff like this.
Profile Image for willaful.
1,155 reviews370 followers
December 15, 2011
I started this in a somewhat dubious mood, since I hate books in which the fat girl loses weight and then gets the guy -- especially when she just gets really busy and then suddenly discovers she’s become thin. Blech. This did not turn out to be that kind of book: Cat does lose a considerable amount of weight, but she works damn hard to achieve it. And though she does get a guy, that’s not really the reason why.

High school senior Cat has hated her former best friend Matt McKinney for almost four years, and the dream of her life is to utterly crush him in the science fair. Her project needs to be based on a random picture and the one she draws is a group of early hominids; looking at it, Cat ponders how good it would feel to be like a hominid woman : “… for some reason, it occurred to me in that moment that she was actually kind of cool in her prehistoric way -- strong, determined-looking, ready to haul off and hurl that rock while the guys just shouted and looked concerned.

And she was thin. Not emaciated, fashion-model thin, but that good muscular thin like you see on women athletes. She looked like she could run and hunt and fight as well as the men -- maybe even better,

And that when I realized: I wanted to be her.”

And so Cat begins an ambitious project: to eat and live like an early hominid. It’s one that will not only affect her relationship with Matt, but will also change her entire life.

While I never failed to be interested in this book, which has some very engaging characters and relationships, there were times when I thought I didn’t like it that much. Cat sometimes came off as a hypocrite, noticing a boy’s weight and constantly being rude to him when he tries to connect with her, despite having been traumatized for years by some nasty remarks, herself. And I was really put off by a lot of heavy-handed vegetarian (really vegan) propaganda, with some rather dubious sources. I doubt that anyone would actually use this as a inspiration to work towards better health -- it's just too extreme.

But what bothered me most was Cat’s continual self-hatred and self-deprivation, her tragic refusal to participate in life because she’s too fat to be seen, to be liked, to exist. Which made it all the more moving when Cat finally realized herself what she’d been doing. The happy ending for Cat is not just becoming thin, resolving her feud with Matt, and finding love, but letting go of a lot of thoughts and feelings that had been what was truly weighing her down.
Profile Image for Katie.
182 reviews
July 23, 2018
There's a definite slut-shaming vibe in this book. As if girls who don't want their first time to be with a guy of 6,7 years are somehow less respectful of themselves. Not everybody wants that. Yet the book aggrandizes the idea of the perfect prince-and-princess first time. Maybe it takes down fat-shaming a notch, but I'd say she's more than a little into slut-shaming as a superior platform. She's using her platform as an author to tell girls that there's one way to be. Wrong.

And seeing photos of this author, I doubt she follows the paleo-vegetarian diet she worships in the book. I also doubt, seeing photos of her, that she achieved the level of "hotness" she gave Cat in high school. So I really think she sees no problem in slut-shaming the girls who looked like that as teenagers, mostly because she saw them from the outside and had her own thoughts about them, which she is pretending are internal on Cat's end.

I doubt any girl she saw making out with hot guys, being given lines like "I know how to appreciate a beautiful woman and tonight I'm appreciating you," were unhappy about it. The way she portrays it sounds like it was written from an outside perspective. Like she never really experienced it herself. She just wanted poor Cat to think 'I look so slutty making out with a hot guy, I was a total slut last night,' etc. because that's what this spiteful (and jealous?) author hoped those girls felt. I doubt they did. I think anyone would enjoy those experiences, and that Cat would feel bad about enjoying herself sexually just doesn't ring true. Especially the teenage-level stuff they did. It's age appropriate for them.

She wedged in a chance to preach "I hate girls like that" into a young adult novel, aimed at young, impressionable teen women. It's kind of shameful. Your grudge is not with them, grow up a little.
8 reviews
February 10, 2015

This book was not only formulaic and predictable, it also managed to be preachy without having any real substance. This book felt like reading junk food.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 6 books479 followers
Shelved as 'to-read-i-own-it'
November 6, 2012
Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

Catherine Locke has hated Matt McKinney ever since she overheard him say something mean about her at the seventh grade science fair. Before that fateful day, they were best friends. Now, she just wants to win this year's science fair. Science fair participation is a requisite for Mr. Fizer's Special Topics in Research Science class. The only problem is her project will depend on what picture she pulls from his stack. Mr. Fizer creates a folder with various pictures taken from magazines, and the students have to create a project around that picture. It could literally be anything and the students can't look when they pull a picture.

Cat sees Matt actually smile when he looks at his selection. So when she pulls a picture of early hominis (think Neanderthals) surrounding a dead animal, she is devastated. How can she make THAT into a first place science project?

Cat started plumping up in middle school. She used to love swimming, and the exercise kept her metabolism in check. But that one fateful summer, it seemed like her body took on a life of its own. Thankfully her best friend, Amanda, loves her just the way she is. So when Cat gets the idea to see how living like the early hominis would affect her, Amanda embraces the idea with her and supports her endeavor. Her parents, though not as quick to approve, finally agree, with the stipulation that Cat talks to the dietician at the hospital her mom works at, to ensure proper nutrition.

This begins Cat's year-long journey of giving up modern technology, walking everywhere (though there were some safety exceptions included), and eating only what the early ancestors would have been able to produce. What Cat doesn't expect is how her body, and ultimately her own self-perception, changes during her scientific experiment. As the new Cat emerges, she finds the courage to finally confront Matt about the day that changed her life so long ago.

FAT CAT is a fantastic book! I can't say enough about it Told in a sort of journal format, Cat shares her life as her science project progresses. The reader gets to feel her frustration, desperation, despair, uncertainty, and ultimately relief as she learns to accept herself for who she is. She realizes that she has used Matt as her reason for self-loathing, when it may have been far deeper than that. FAT CAT moved quickly, and as the pounds start to fall off Cat, you won't want to put the book down.

One thing that really worked in the story is that not once does Ms. Brande reveal Cat's starting weight, nor what she wound up losing. The reader gets to experience the wonder of discovery with Cat and watch her blossom with her newfound confidence. Follow Cat on her science experiment and enjoy the ride. You won't be disappointed. I know I wasn't!
Profile Image for Shauna.
111 reviews85 followers
January 17, 2012
In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, and with a taste for something light and fluffy, I decided to give Fat Cat a go.

When Cat pulls a photograph of a gathering of our Homo Erectus ancestors I will not snicker, I am a grown up for a science project, she decides to ask the question,
with herself as the guinea pig.
Cat lacks confidence. Cat hates her body. So this piece of insanity marvelous idea comes to her in a flash of brilliance.

It's not that I'm hideous, but I'm also not stupid. I know how people see me. I might spend an hour every day straightening my hair and getting my makeup just right and picking out clothes that camouflage at least some of my rolls, but the truth is I'm still fat and everyone knows it. When I wake up in the morning it's like I'm wearing this giant fat suit, and if only I could find the zipper I could step out of it and finally go start living my real life.
And that was my eureka.
Because seeing the hominin woman, just out there in all her glory, naked boobs and butt and stomach and everything, and noticing how lean and fit and strong she looked made me realize something.
When anthropologists or forensic paleontologists find a skeleton, they bring it back to the lab and build a clay model over it to see what the person might have looked like. They have to decide how much muscle and flesh to give the person to make it look like a real body, but here's the thing: they never ever make the person fat.

This is an enjoyable little book, I desperately wanted to give Cat a cuddle and tell her to ignore the bullies who so knocked her self esteem to begin with ('Fat Cat'? Really?) and I sympathized with Cat as she went through her various withdrawals,

"'Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are most acute within the first twelve to twenty-four hours.' How long has it been?"
"I can't do math right now."
She read on. "'Symptoms may include headache, muscle aches--'"
"Oh, yeah."
"'--and a general feeling of malaise.'"
"Does that mean wanting to die?" I asked.

I was rooting for her. It's nice to see her begin to feel comfortable in her own skin and regain her confidence in herself.

And then there's Matt. Matt being the reason our little Kit Cat so very much wants to win the science fair. He is the former friend/crush she loves to hate. Years after his 'betrayal', poor Matt remains nonplussed as to what he did to earn her disapprobation. *shakes head* Boys.
I found myself quite often wanting to shake one or both of them as they found their way back to each other.

As an added bonus, you soak up all sorts of healthy living tips. Score.
Profile Image for Sarah.
258 reviews10 followers
December 7, 2012
So, Robin Brande, since you're a goodreads author, I'll start by addressing you: I'm an adult, not a "young" adult. I picked up your book out of my classroom library because I liked the cover and I needed something to read on my way home from work (don't worry, I take the train). I feel like part of your purpose in writing this was to reveal to young people how much their eating and exercise habits influence other parts of their lives, and at least for me, it totally worked. Now, I'm already a fairly healthy eater, but I was getting in that holiday slump. I already think of my eating habits as lifelong habits instead of a "diet." But work has been a bit grueling recently, and it's getting dark so early, and it's so cold out, and I thought that I could make myself feel better by having pizza--a lot of pizza--instead of healthier choices. Cat's adventures made me sit up and take notice of how I've been acting recently. I even started listing my meals in my head, the way she lists them in the book. I went back to yoga; I walked my dog more; I even wore a dress to work today even though I felt like wearing jeans.

This was a really fun story, and I appreciated that it made my life better while I was having fun reading it. It really got into my head. The characters felt very real and familiar, and I really cared about their small dramas. I loved the relationship between Cat and her best friend, Amanda, and I felt like their friendship set just as good an example as Cat's diet and homework habits. Too often, I see teenage girls falling into toxic friendships, both in real life and in fiction. It was nice to see girls supporting each other and rooting for each other.

When teaching teenagers to write fiction, I often tell them that the story can be resolved by the character getting what she needs rather than what she wants. I felt that this idea was illustrated in a really clear way in Fat Cat. I won't say any more about that, because I don't want to give away any spoilers, but if you're going to read it, think about that idea.

It seemed like this would be the usual fluffy girly chick-lit YA book, but I was pleasantly surprised at how deep it was. It looks into how we believe our own mythologies, how we carry baggage for way too long, and how we need to be brave enough to become the best versions of ourselves. Cat really shows self-respect when she decides to take care of her body, her family, her friendships, and her education. The book never feels preachy, but it certainly has a lot to teach us.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 737 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.