Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders - Geoff Herbach Release Date: May 6, 2014
ARC received from Source Books

Gabe is an overweight, class clown who is in the marching band. His mom left him and his dad and now Gabe lives with his dad and his once bodybuilder grandpa. He eats badly and drinks too much soda. His closest friends, employer, and even teachers all call him “Chunk.” While doing a report on soda, Gabe makes the decision to cut back and start changing his lifestyle, but then he finds out the summer marching band program has been cut and all the profits from the soda machines that were going to the band have now been given to the cheerleaders new dance squad. Gabe is on a personal mission as summer begins to get the marching band program back and to lose weight. During his campaign he makes new friends, learns a lot about himself, and becomes a stronger more independent individual.

This is a well-written and refreshingly realistic fiction story from the perspective of a young man truly coming into his own. The story is told in a recollection from Gabe to a police officer, who is interviewing Gabe after an altercation and theft of a soda machine. This is a humorous and quick read that portrays the hardships of friendships and growing-up. Gabe realizes his old friends call him Chunk and his new friends call him Gabe and with that realization he sees he can be just as judgmental calling cheerleader’s bitches and jocks, jocks. Gabe also finds romance with a girl named Chandra that he initially didn’t like because of her goth exterior, but soon he sees the person under the façade. This is a well-developed collection of characters from quarterback R.C. III who isn’t as close with the jocks as he is with the geekers, to the big-boobed dance coach, to the weird speedo wearing grandpa who is whipping Gabe into shape and cooking him healthy meals.

If you have ever felt different, had some hard family times, or just wanted to stand up for something you believed in, this story has a little bit of everything. You root for the underdog and realize just how far someone can come when they truly want to make a change. Fun, insightful, and highly recommended.