The fat girl left alone in the world becomes the ultimate outsider, and outsiders know the insiders’ secrets, because insiders don’t care what’s happening on the outside- they never check to see what the outsiders know. They usually don’t even know who the aoutsiders are. The person on the bottom sees what’s happening on the top, the person at the back sees what’s happening in front, the person on the ousside sees what’s happening at the center, and the fat girl who loses her only friend is under, behind, and outside all at once; if she cares to look, she can see everything in every direction. God must be a friendless fat girl, because only friendless fat girls are as omniscient as God.
Looks is the story of Meghan Ball, a “fat girl” who spends her life on the outside, being unnoticed by everyone around her. The book begins by giving the reader an aerial shot of the town and then it zooms in from the whole town, to the school and finally to Meghan Ball, the “most visible and invisible person in school.” On the first day of her sophomore year, Meghan meets Aimee Zorn who is as skinny as she is fat. Megan is instantly drawn to Aimee, sensing that the two share the same feelings of being overlooked by everyone in their lives. Eventually, the two girls come together to get revenge on those who have wronged them and an unlikely friendship begins to form. The book ends with the author returning to that first aerial view and zooms back out, since we no longer need to look at these two girls, as they have finally been noticed by one another and don’t need us to notice them anymore.
This book came highly recommended to me and I must say, it did not disappoint. We meet Meghan on the second page of the book, but we do not hear her speak until page 129. Instead we get inside the mind of a girl who is completely isolated and alone in high school, a girl who is more comfortable hiding in a darkened music room or the nurse’s office than in a classroom, a girl who is overlooked by everyone around her, a girl who essentially has no voice. There are some absolutely beautiful and powerful passages in this book, such as the one above. The book did switch viewpoints alternating between Aimee and Meghan, which is a technique I don’t normally enjoy, but this one didn’t seem to bother me as much, although I did prefer Meghan’s chapters to Aimee’s. I think one of things that really bothered me about Aimee was that her eating disorder never really was acknowledged by anyone around her and I wanted to slap her mother into reality. However, I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good young adult read. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.