|Okay, we begin the story with Everett, Evs, being tortured by his trainer Gabi at the gym. She is not only his trainer but she ends up being a good friend. Then he has a date that was so uncomfortable for me that I almost didn't continue reading. Almost. Doug Everett Smith spent almost his entire life being overweight and bullied. All the kids in school called him 'fat slug Doug' and as you can imagine, it affected him. He finally decided that enough was enough and began losing weight, going from three hundred sixty something pounds to two hundred eight. YAY! He also dropped the name Doug and uses his middle name. Keep in mind that since everyone in school always bullied him and called him that name, he doesn't really have any social skills. He was always semi in love with an athlete growing up, Jesse, whose older brother was always the worst of the bullies.
Now, Everett moved to a new town and works in the IT department of his company. They get a new sales person who ends up being his childhood crush, Jesse Billson. Jesse doesn't recognize Everett at all, but really likes him. He doesn't understand why Everett is always avoiding him, and Evs is so uncomfortable with the possibility Jesse will remember him as Doug that the cat and mouse game between them is actually cute. In the meantime, his only friend in the sales department, Matt, is interested in Gabi and finally goes to meet her. I really like Gabi, she was a good friend to Evs and always had his back so to speak. Matt, it turns out, also had his back when he finally let Matt in. Jesse did finally corner Evs and got him to go out with him.
One thing is for certain, Ms. Champa knows how to nail down awkwardness and shame. I have read four of her books, some were better than others, and this one is very good. Actually, this is my second favorite after All Expenses Paid. She handles some of the truth of being obese with honesty and care, and some with humor and cringing embarrassment. The two main characters, Jesse and Everett, are really great together. I liked them even more together after the big denouement towards the end. And for the record, I couldn't stand Jesse's older brother at all. This novel was more than worth the read, and yes, it does have a happy ending.
Reviewer: Teresa T.
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