15 Stories with Fat, Fierce Protagonists
If you’ve been wanting to read a good book that features a character who looks like you, look no further. As Spring Break approaches, we’ve rounded up 15 fiction books featuring plus-size characters. From young adult novels to the first installment of your next detective series obsession to sci-fi vampire slaying, we’ve tried to cover all the bases. Make a cup of tea, curl up by the fire (or space heater!), and get ready to dive into your next good read!
13 Ways of Looking At a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl?
2016 | View on Amazon
Big Bones by Laura Dockrill
Meet Bluebelle, aka BB aka Big Bones. She's bold, beautiful and beginning her summer holiday. But instead of relaxing she's forced to write a food diary - and she has a lot to say. Then an accident upturns her family, and BB finds it's not just the diary bringing unexpected change into her life. And then there's Max - will they ever move beyond latte art and camomile tea?
2018 | View on Amazon
Violet Crown by K.C. Littleton
Dr. Hedwig (Hedy) Villarreal is a 40-something criminal psychologist and sexually liberal fatass with the vocabulary and nerd tattoos of a well-educated sailor. Two years after the death of her beloved wife, we find her living on the Texas coast in her father's condo, occasionally consulting as a profiler for the DEA. This work puts her at odds with a powerful drug trafficker, landing her in protective custody at a black ops site, deep in the Central Texas Hill Country. Hedy quickly finds out that her world is not as she thought it was, and sets out to use her unique set of skills to support those who would protect her. In this peculiar, often dangerous environment, dormant passions find a place to flourish, though not everyone is a fan of her renewed lust for life. Violent encounters will change lives, painful truths will be unearthed, and Hedy will discover that her various entanglements have roots that reach further back than anyone realizes.
Diary of a Mad Fat Girl (Mad Fat Girl #1) by Stephanie McAfee
Graciela “Ace” Jones is mad -mad at her best friend Lilly who cancels their annual trip to Panama City for mysterious reasons; at her boss Catherine for “riding her ass like a fat lady on a Rascal scooter;” at her friend Chloe’s abusive husband; and especially at Mason McKenzie, the love of her life, who has shown up with a marriage proposal one year too late. Ace is never mad, though, at her near-constant companion, an adorable chiweenie dog named Buster Loo. With a sharp and distinctive voice, Stephanie McAfee delivers a hilarious and fast-paced tale about Ace Jones and her two best friends-thick as thieves and tough as nails-navigating Southern small-town politics and prejudices, finding love, and standing up for each other all the way.
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Puddin' by Julie Murphy
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
Larger Than Death (Josephine Fuller Mysteries #1) by Lynne Murray
Josephine Fuller is a sleuth of size who doesn't apologize. In Larger Than Death Jo arrives to visit her best friend and plus size designer, Nina West, and finds her brutally slain. Clues at the scene point to a serial killer who targets voluptuous women. Or is the murder personal? As Jo copes with her friend's murder, an unexpected romance and a bizarre host of neighbors, she races to find the killer before becoming the next victim.
Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Everyone seems to be getting on with their lives except Maggie. At 27, she's still serving coffee at Joe's while her friends are getting married, having babies, and thriving in their careers. And now Olivia, Maggie's best friend since grade school, is getting married too. The man in Maggie's life? Well there isn't one, except the guy she has a crush on, Domenic, who works with her at the coffee shop. Oh, and her dog, Solo (the name says it all). When Olivia comes to town and asks Maggie to be her maid of honor, Maggie is thrilled... but she can't help comparing herself to the new and "improved" Olivia. Way back then, they befriended each other because they both struggled with their weight. Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the "women's section" while Olivia went and had gastric-bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 2. But as the wedding nears, Olivia's seemingly perfect life starts to unravel, and Maggie realizes that happiness might not be tied to a number on the scale.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Grace wants nothing more than to be invisible at her new school, but when she learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town after accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape, she convinces Rosina and Erin to join her mission to get justice for Lucy. They form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students. As the Nowhere Girls grow in numbers, their movement becomes about more than sex and transforms the lives of its members, their school, and the entire community.
Drawing Dead (Dana McIntyre Must Die #1) by S.M. Reine
Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She's infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she'd rather die than turn. There might be a cure. But the only way to get it is through Nissa Royal, a vampire with close ties to the masters of Las Vegas. Nissa is dangerous -- too dangerous to be allowed to live, much less work alongside. But if Dana dies, vampires win Vegas. If she doesn't die, she becomes one of the bloodless. The cure's her only chance. In this deadly game of hold 'em, Dana's drawing dead, and whatever happens next, there's no changing her losing hand. Dana only knows one thing: If she's going down, she's taking as many vampires as possible on her way out…
The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn't expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it's a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes. Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer.
Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
Jamie is a senior in high school and, like so many kids in that year, doing too much―including trying to change the world―and fighting for her rights as a very fat girl. And not quietly: she's writing a column every week in the paper with her thoughts and fears and gripes. As her column raises all kinds of questions, so too, must she find her own private way in her world, with love popping up in an unexpected place, and satisfaction in her size losing ground to real frustration. Tapping into her own experience losing weight, her training as a psychotherapist, and the current fascination in the media for teens who are trying drastic weight-loss measures including surgery, Susan Vaught's searing and hilarious prose will grip readers of all sizes, leaving them eager to hear more.
Dietland by Sarai Walker
Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. Or mocked. Or worse. With her job answering fan mail for a popular teen girls’ magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. Only then can her true life as a thin person finally begin. Then, when a mysterious woman starts following her, Plum finds herself falling down a rabbit hole and into an underground community of women who live life on their own terms. There Plum agrees to a series of challenges that force her to deal with her past, her doubts, and the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a dangerous guerrilla group called “Jennifer” begins to terrorize a world that mistreats women, and as Plum grapples with her personal struggles, she becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive.
About the Author
Meaghan O'Riordan is the Accessioning & Collections Manager for the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives & Rare Book Library at Emory University. She holds bachelor's degrees in creative writing and religious studies, as well as a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Theological Studies from Candler School of Theology at Emory and is writing her thesis on how the body positive movement functions as religion. Meaghan writes for AllGo because she believes it will have a big impact on people’s lived experience.