My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Published March 26th 2013
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.
When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes.
When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.
But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.
(This book contains sex and adult language.)
I liked this book, I didn't love it. The tale of Cat is a unique one. Primarily because she's overweight and depressed about her size -- by accident. Her horse threw her the year before and now she has a rod in her leg with bolts attached and any form of exercise causes her pain. Hence the weight issue.
What I did like was the ending where she realises that beauty is only skin deep and if you aren't beautiful on the inside then you don't project it on the outside.
What I didn't like was the constant references to her 'thin' days where she was a stick-insect type model and she constantly craves that life again.
While the story has a positive moral story behind it, I did begin to get bored of Cat and her constant "I hate myself" and "I wish I was size zero" moments. Plus, anyone could see that as her time was being absorbed by Nate, and his good nature, it wasn't exactly a healthy relationship. Cat had a habit of living in a surreal world, not the real world.
Nate was a likeable bloke with good intentions, until the Thanksgiving incident. But I don't think the calamity was enough time to rearrange his thinking of fit is good and fat is lazy. I know the scenario at the fashion competition had a great impact but I wouldn't be so convinced so quickly if it was me.
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